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Who's Irish

By | July 2006
Page 1 of 3
¡§Who¡¦s Irish?¡¨
This story ¡§Who¡¦s Irish?¡¨ was written in 1999 by Gish Jen who is a second generation of Chinese American. As a daughter of Chinese immigrants, she deeply perceived the culture difference. ¡§Who¡¦s Irish?¡¨ is also based on her identity. Told by an immigrant Chinese grandmother, this story is full of thoughts and feelings of being a grandmother. Through the perspective of the grandmother, we can understand the inner thoughts and emotions of the protagonist.

The point of view focuses on the grandmother. The story begins by talking about her background. It is arranged in chronological order. First, the narrator¡¦s granddaughter is introduced and then her family background. The narrator describes herself as ¡§fierce¡¨. Everyone is afraid of her. Her daughter is somewhat like her mom at least she is also ¡§fierce¡¨ because she is a bank vice president, but her granddaughter is wild, not like her daughter or herself. In the grandmother¡¦s opinion, if her granddaughter Sophie does not act like other Chinese girls, she is wild. In other words, the narrator seems to think people coming from a different culture are weird. After that, the narrator talked about her son-in-law. She thought she did not understand him because he could neither find a job nor look after Sophie. Grandmother said,¡¨Plain boiled food, plain boiled thinking. Even his name is plain boiled: John¡¨ (206). At this point, she somewhat despised her son-in-law, John. He is a white person who can speak English. There is no way he can not find a job. Besides, the grandmother always felt the culture gap. ¡§In China, we talk about whether we have difficulty or no difficulty. We talk about whether life is bitter or not bitter. In America, all day long, people talk about creative¡¨ (208). She did not understand why the ex-babysitter let Sophie get naked and run around. Creativity did not mean anything to her. There was no such a word in Chinese. In addition, she told her daughter ¡§We do...

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