Who’s Irish

The first thing I noticed when I started reading this short story is that the narrator is dictating the short story in broken up English. It is literally written as someone who just learned English would speak. At times it would make it difficult to understand so I would have to re-read sentences.

Through out the story the mother clearly expresses her views on Americans. She tends to use racist comments and prejudice when she does so. She states that Sophie’s “nice Chinese side swallowed up by her wild Shea (irish) side.” (616) She also uses the color of people’s skin to describe them. She calls sophie “brown,” (616) the african-americans “black,”(614) and anybody whose light skinned even if they aren’t american “white.”(614) She says “Even the black people doing better these days,”(614) as if it was beyond the african american people to be in a better economic situation than anyone else. Im not sure whether she does this because she doesn’t know any better or if she’s just simply not afraid to speak her mind. Here we see the difference between the daughter and mother. When arguing it says the daughter would look the other way when she made a point valid as to not embarass the other person (614), and here we have the mother whose so bold and straight forward. This is maybe because the difference in culture. The mother embraces her Chinese culture, as for the daughter has embraced the american culture.

She also speaks about China as a place that is better than america, even though she fled China to come to America and have a better life. Through out the story you see many comparisons between the two countries. She says in america we use the word creative, in china there is difficult or not difficult. In america there is the word supportive associated with a mother to daughter, in china the daughter takes care of the mother. Through these statements we see, her strong views of both. I believe that in the mother’s mind china is a well structured place full with dedicated hard working people and america is this land where everyone lets loose. Yet also I feel like this shows the conflict between the mother and daughter that will separate them unless they meet common ground.

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