Characterization of "Who's Irish" By Gish Jen

Topics: Family, United States, Western culture Pages: 2 (514 words) Published: February 19, 2014
Summary And Characterization

The story “Who’s Irish” by Gish Jen is a short story about an elderly Chinese grandmother living with her daughters family in America, trying to help raise their child Sophia. She struggles watching Sophie grow up in a culture so distant from the way she raised her daughter, and even further from how she was raised herself. She does not fit into the western culture, and seems to find flaws and lack of moral everywhere, especially in her daughter’s husband John, who is between jobs and seem to suffer from depression, an illness she does not recognize. The mother and grandmother drift further away from each other as a result of the grandmother trying to teach Sophie discipline and respect the way she was taught it. Eventually the daughter decides that they would be better off without the help of her mother. The grandmother moves in at a friend’s house, and seem to be getting along pretty well, even though she still seems to be complaining over American culture Characterization:

The narrator is an elderly Chinese mother, and grandmother. You could somewhat determine her as a round character as she develops throughout the story. The narrator lives with her daughter Natalie, her husband John and their child Sophie. The narrator does not seem to be fond of the way her daughter and husband are raising their child Sophie, and as a cause of that she is wild and uncontrollable. The narrator seems to know that western culture and the way of raising children is far from what she was taught in China, but does not seem to want to accept this, and as a result becomes unpopular in the family. The narrator spends a lot of time advertising herself as a fierce, hardworking and determent woman. She feels a need to make this pretty clear, and seems proud of it, which reflects in her way of raising Sophia, who in her mind is a clever girl who just needs to be taught a little Chinese discipline. She seems as an intellectual individual,...
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