Mother Daughter Relationships in Edwidge Danticat's New York Day Woman and Gich Jen's Who's Irish?

Good Essays
Chris Britz

Prof. Nunez

ENC1102

6 February 2003

Mother Daughter Relationships

What is the "mother-daughter" relationship? I have no direct information on this because I am not a daughter. I do, however, have two sisters, and their relationship with my mother is very different when compared to the characters in the short stories "Who's Irish?" and "New York Day Women." Relationships between mothers and daughters take different forms for different people. The mother/daughter relationship amongst different people can be the same, but also very different.

There are many similarities in the relationships between the mothers and daughters in the short stories, "Who's Irish?" and "New York Day Women." One similarity is that there is a foundation of love between the generations. For example, in "Who's Irish?" the mother seems to explain how she feels about her when she was a baby. "A daughter I have, a beautiful daughter. I took care of her when she could not hold her head up." The narrator seems to have much love for her daughter, and she tries to make her life better by taking care of her child. In "New York Day Women" the daughter, Suzette, follows her mother around New York City on her lunch break and comments on what she is doing. In this short story it isn't hard to see that this daughter loves her mother very much. Suzette also appears to know what her mother does in her everyday life, and with this information she embraces her mother with kindness and love. For instance, she knows that her mother shouldn't eat anything with sodium because, "she has to be careful with her heart, this day woman." Another similarity would be that the cultures of both mothers are held strongly with them, but not as strongly with their daughters. For example, in "Who's Irish?" the mother says, "You spank her, she'll stop..." which in Chinese culture it is acceptable to spank your child. However, Natalie replies, "...Oh no. In America, parents not supposed to spank the child. It

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