In the American Society

Topics: Overseas Chinese, Chinese American, United States Pages: 4 (1282 words) Published: May 15, 2005
Gish Jen's In the American Society is, on the surface, an entertaining look into the workings of a Chinese American family making their way in America. The reader is introduced to the life of a Chinese American restaurant owner and his family through the eyes of his American-born daughter. When we examine the work in depth, however, we discover that Jen is addressing how traditional Chinese values work in American culture. She touches on the difference in gender roles, generation gaps between immigrants and their American-born children, and the hesitance of these immigrants to conform to the American way of life. To truly understand multicultural literature, one must first try to understand the cultural background of the author. In the case of this piece, we are examining the Chinese culture and Jen's experiences which shaped her writing. Gish Jen is a second-generation American. Her parents immigrated separately in the 1940's. Her mother came to America to go to graduate school and her father came as part of the war efforts during World War II. With the rise of Communism in China, both were forced to remain here and ended up building a life together and raising their 5 children as Americans. Because they came in the second of three "waves" of Chinese Immigration, their reasons for coming and the process of assimilating into the American way of life was very different than other Chinese immigrants. During the first wave, from 1849-1882, the reasons for immigrating were mainly economic. Thousands of poor young males came from China to labor in America. In 1882, however, the Chinese Exclusion act was passed, making it so the second wave of immigrants contained only diplomats, merchants, and students. Chinese immigrants were segregated from mainstream America and lived in Chinatowns with no diplomatic rights until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Along with this act came the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which allowed more Chinese to come...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Arcade's impact on American society Essay
  • Illegal Immigrants of American Society Essay
  • African American and American Society Essay
  • The Societal Influence of The Dark Knight in American Society Essay
  • American Revolution changed American society Essay
  • Essay about African Americans in American Society 1920s
  • The Role of Hbcus in American Society Essay
  • American Society Then and Now Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free