Who’s Irish by Gish Jen

In this story the narrator seems to be Sophie’s grandmother telling the story. Is very different from Amy Tan’s story Two Kinds, yet very similar. It speaks about how Sophie’s Grandmother came from China with no money and didn’t speak not one word of ¬†English yet they managed to open their own restaurant and produce money for her household.

It is very interesting the difference between Jing-mei’s mother and Sophie’s Grandmother. You see her show the difference between China and America , how in China the word ‘supportive’ does not exist basically that everyone is on their own and has to fend for themselves. Is as if shes an outsider looking in from the outside into the daily life of her daughter Nattie and her husband John and see what they do everyday and doesn’t understand why and how its so different than what shes used too.

Is an inner struggle for Sophie’s grandmother to fully understand why people do what they do, why is everything so different, why in china is between bitter and not bitter and in America is about being creative. It’s a clash between something that is strict and in American to be Passive. ¬†This reminds me of a documentary i saw in high school on Tiger Mom’s, they interviewed the mother and the child and compared how the children were treated compare to how American Children are treated and the different discipline the mothers have on their child. Chinese tiger moms are very strict they don’t allow their children to get anything below an A in each class in school and they have them practice musical instrument and learn many different languages. The children spoke and said how they were punished if they did not do what they were supposes to and this is what Sophie’s grandmother was trying to say in page 617 when she told her daughter Nattie that Sophie needed to be spanked but Nattie immediately said no because in America parents do not spank their kids.

Besides the way this story is written, it kind of made me read the story slower just to catch what the grandmother was trying to say, it just made me see more details and the way she was trying to show her experience. The whole story she is comparing how America and China are two totally different countries and how if Sophie were in China she would be behaving totally different than how she is being raised.

She showed the inner “struggle” Sophie must be going through being half Chinese, that when she behaves good that’s her Chinese side and when shes doing something wild that’s her other side, which shows how America is portrayed as a lay back, do what ever i want country.

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