Typical American By Gish Gen Essay

887 words - 4 pages

Gish Jen's Typical American - To what extend did Ralph Chang become a typical American? According to the dictionary: If something is typical it shows all the characteristics that you would expect from a stated person, thing or group. Something which is typical might also show all the bad characteristics that you expect from someone or something, often in a way that is annoying. (Dictionary) Ralph, Theresa and Helen, the main characters of Gish Jen's novel Typical American came to America to seek the American Dream. They were convinced that everyone in the US had a chance to become happy, rich and successful if they worked hard. They yearned for being Americanized; however, there was not their desire to become "typical Americans". In their perception a term"typical American" had a pejorative meaning: "Typical American no-good", ..., "typical American don't-know-how-to-get-along"[,] ..., "typical American just-want-to-be-the-center-of-things"[,] ..., "typical American no-morals"[,] ..., "typical American use-brute-force"[.] (Typical American, 67) In my opinion all of them followed the myth of the American Dream and became, to some extend, typical Americans.When Ralph came to the US he certainly was a Chinese. He did not understand the Americans, he did not have an English name. He asked the secretary of the Foreign Student Affairs to give him the name. "'Ralph,' she said finally. She wrote it down. R-A-L-P-H. 'Do you like it?' 'Sure!' He beamed." (Typical American, 11) The American name was the first step to his Americanization. Even though Ralf came to America to study engineering and was supposed to return to China afterwords, things went differently. When, in 1948, China collapsed and the Nationalists were fighting the Communists, Ralph was not allowed to go back there. However, he was not really sure if he would like to go back. He wondered if he "[w]ould ... have gone back if he could have[.] He wished he knew that he would have risked his life for his family and country - that he loved them the right way." (Typical American, 23) For the next few years Ralph was successful. He did what he was supposed to do according to the Chinese culture. He studied hard, he married a Chinese girl, his sister's friend and they lived together. Then the Americanization came. They did what other American families did: they watched TV, they read American newspapers, they bought a car and then a bargain house in the suburbs. They were happy to have their first baby, a girl.Theresa didn't mind, but Helen and Ralph were disappointed...

Find Another Essay On Typical american by gish gen

Artificial organ for transplant and Therapeutic protein

819 words - 4 pages very important to treat diseases either in human or animals. Research by Gish (1998) suggests that the desired human proteins can be obtained from animal by genetic manipulation in animal body through its milk. This method can induce animal such as pigs are able to produce 300 liters of milk more than usual in a year and they had to follow some procedures. As discussed by Gish (1998), the procedure is carried out as follows: 1. Isolate the DNA

Ethnicity on Relationships Essay

1183 words - 5 pages several overlapping ideas. The most prominent concept that can be noticed in both stories is that both of the stories revolve around relationships that have been affected by ethnicity. In the story by Gish Jen, the most obvious relationship that suffers is between the mother and daughter. The Chinese immigrant grandmother, who is depicted as Natalie’s mother in the story and the narrator, has a very strong character due to strong instilled morals

Mythology: Past and Present

1141 words - 5 pages as the male heroes are in theirs, the heroines are expected to be submissive, obedient, and loyal, no matter what” (Harris 339-340). This common element is apparent more-so in Typical American with Helen staying by Ralph side no matter his decision, whether it was to finish school and become a professor or his decision to uproot his family and start a Chicken restaurant with the last of their money. She remains steadfast to him (aside from her

Generational Gaps And Conflicts

1196 words - 5 pages love, and while a daughter may not like decisions that are made by their mother she never loses respect. Both are stories about women going through struggle to integrate and adept into modern American life, two mothers struggle to understand their daughters and the lives they are immersed in. Gish Jen is trying to communicate a sense of loss a mother experiences because she does not understand her daughter and struggles to adapt in Who’s Irish

What were the "Roaring Twenties?"

551 words - 2 pages The Roaring Twenties were a time of wild enjoyment, loud music and booming economy. In 1920, for the first time in American history, more Americans lived in cities than in the country, furthermore, average American working hours dropped, while their salary increased by 11 per cent, which meant that there would be more spare time to spend on entertainment. New industries -car industry - improved the quality of life in America and contributed

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

Chinese and American Cultures

4381 words - 18 pages Chinese and American Cultures Chinese-Americans authors Amy Tan and Gish Jen have both grappled with the idea of mixed identity in America. For them, a generational problem develops over time, and cultural displacement occurs as family lines expand. While this is not the problem in and of itself, indeed, it is natural for current culture to gain foothold over distant culture, it serves as the backdrop for the disorientation that occurs

Tet

633 words - 3 pages wars before then and we'd won every one, including the one against ourselves. "from this statement, clearly we can see the inattention of the US.However, in February 1968, Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, the US troops had received surprise attack from Vietcong and National Liberation Front (NLF). The commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam Gen. William Westmoreland described it, says"The American publics were caught by surprise. We were making military

Civil War, 1863. Written for study by my history class

2261 words - 9 pages stopped cold 100,000 men, inflicted more casualties than he received, and won a major victory. In the West Gen. William Rosecrans started his brilliant Tullahoma campaign, which, after one month resulted, in the capture of Tullahoma with fewer than 1,000 casualties. The climax of Rosecrans' campaign occurred after the capture of Tullahoma, when the Union army of Tennessee was attacked by the Confederate army of Kentucky outside of

The Smashing Pumpkins

1700 words - 7 pages of 1992 can be a viewed as a cause and a delay of the success of Billy Corgan's band, The Smashing Pumpkins. It brought attention to the alternative rock scene, which was fronted by the Butch Vig produced "Nevermind". Another Butch Vig production, The Smashing Pumpkins' "Gish", was released that same year, but its contrast to mainstream music and style was shadowed by the success of the Seattle bands. It wasn't until the band's follow-up album

What Is the American Dream?

1182 words - 5 pages dominant paternal figure, a homemaker mother, two obedient children, and a beautiful house surrounded by white picket fences. The picturesque image became the representation of a stereotypical middle class family and many Americans saw this as the social norm. Because American society called for the typical middle-class household, Americans believed this was the American dream. Since the 1950s, The American dream has endured a substantial

Similar Essays

Gish Jen’s Novel Typical American Essay

1315 words - 5 pages Gish Jen’s novel Typical American A mother drives her three kids to soccer practice in a Ford minivan while her husband stays at the office, rushing to finish a report. Meanwhile, a young woman prays her son makes his way home from the local grocery without getting held up at knife point by the local gang. Nearby, an immigrant finishes another 14-hour shift at the auto parts factory, trying to provide for his wife and child, struggling to

This Essay Explores The Proccess Of Assimilating Into The American Society After A Famiy Moves To The Usa From China In "In The American Society", By Gish Jen. It Also Explores The Irony In The Title...

714 words - 3 pages This essay explores the proccess of assimilating into the American society after a famiy moves to the USA from China in "In The American Society", by Gish Jen. It also explores the irony in the title of the piece."In The American Society", by Gish Jen, is a lurid portrayal of an Asian-American family who immigrated to the United States--addressing both the struggles and fortunes that America's opportunities have offered the family as they leave

Creationism And The Classroom Essay

916 words - 4 pages the things created to the Creator.” Without creationism in the public school system, students are left only to learn about evolution, which can be considered as religion. Gish explains, “…evolution is a non-theistic theory of origins which by definition excludes the intervention of an outside agency of any kind. Evolutionists believe that by employing natural laws and processes plus nothing it is possible to the origin of the universe and of all

In The American Society Essay

675 words - 3 pages ?In the American Society? The story ?In the American Society? deals with the struggles of the Chang family fitting in with American society. The author, Gish Jen, depicts an unequal American society with extremes in affluence and poverty, making it impossible to fit in. She uses specific events in which the characters undergo in order to convey her meaning to the reader of how the ?American Dream? is not for everyone.?In the American Society