Who's Irish - Summary and Outline

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“Who’s Irish” written by Jen Gish, tells the story of a sixty-eight-year-old Chinese immigrant and her struggle to accept other cultures different from her own. The main character is the fierce Chinese grandmother who is the former owner of a Restaurant. She has been living in the United States for a while but is still critical of other cultures, such as her son-in-law’s, John, Irish family and the American values. Therefore she is disappointed that her daughter, Natalie, insist of living the American way and is raising her child up with those values and not the Chinese ones. The main character also finds it very hard to accept the American way of disciplining and decides to involve her own methods when babysitting her granddaughter Sophie.

When Natalie finds out that she has been spanking Sophie, she tells her mother to move out and breaks with that any contact between Sophie and her grandmother by not taking her daughter to visit the grandmother in her new place.

John is the narrator’s son-in-law. He is married to her daughter Natalie and the father to her granddaughter Sophie. Even though the narrator wonders if he really is the father because: “Sophie is so brown” she says.

The narrator thinks of John as a good-looking boy but also an unhappy, depressed and not-good-at-working boy, who when he finally gets a job: “Then he feel pressure”. She thinks that John would have been very happy if he had lived in china because he has all these great things “beautiful wife, beautiful daughter and beautiful house”. But he isn’t and the narrator does not show him any respect. John isn’t that crazy about his mother-in-law either. They don’t understand each other; they’re not on the same wavelength. John has even talked about sending the narrator back to china.

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