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Summary Of Gish Jen's Who's Irish

540 words - 2 pages

Gish Jen’s “Who’s Irish” tells the story of a sixty-eight-year-old Chinese immigrant and her struggle to accept other cultures different from her own. The protagonist has been living in the United States for a while but she is still critical of other cultures and ethnicities, such as her son-in-law’s Irish family and the American values in which her daughter insists on applying while raising the protagonist’s granddaughter. The main character finds it very hard to accept the American way of disciplining and decides to implement her own measures when babysitting her granddaughter Sophie. When the main character’s daughter finds out that she has been spanking Sophie she asks her mother to move out of the house and breaks any further contact between them by not taking Sophie to visit her grandmother in her new place. The central idea of the story is that being an outsider depends on one’s perspective and that perspective determines how one’s life will be.
The main character is a Chinese grandmother who previously owned a restaurant and now devotes her time to babysitting her 3-year-old granddaughter. She is a strict disciplinarian, stubborn, very critical of other ethnicities and firmly believes that the Chinese discipline is the correct way of living in society. Her stubbornness and strict discipline is evident when she pokes Sophie with a stick, trying to make Sophie come out of a foxhole in which she hid herself in, not giving up on the idea of the punishment. The character is round, as we are introduced to her most inner thoughts and personality traits while she narrates the story. At...

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