A vexed figure inhabits U.S. literature and culture: the visibly racialized immigrant who disavows minority identity and embraces the American dream. Such figures are potent and controversial for they promise to atone for racial violence and perpetuate an exceptionalist ideal of America. In this book, Swati Rana builds on studies of character and racial form and offers a new way to view characterization through racialization that creates, through literary analysis, a fuller social reading of race. Rana focuses on immigrant writers who do not fit an oppositional framing of ethnic literature. Situated in a nascent period of ethnic identification from 1900 to 1960, writings by Paule Marshall, Ameen Rihani, Dalip Singh Saund, Jose Garcia Villa, and Jose Antonio Villarreal explore different aspects of the American dream, from individualism to imperialism, assimilation to upward mobility. The dynamics of characterization are also those of contestation, Rana argues. Analyzing literary characterization as well as the interrelation of persona and personhood, Race Characters reveals how the protagonist of the American dream is socially constrained and structurally driven.