Who’s Irish by Gish Jen

The narrator in the story portrayed the true meaning of traditional Chinese parental. The narrator is stubborn, hard headed, “fierce”, and daring. In the story, we learn that the narrator and her husband moved from China to live in the Americas for a better and prosperous life for their daughter. Years later, the narrator’s daughter Nattie married a man named John Shea. The Shea family are Irish with a single mother and three sons. To the narrator, the fact that Bess’ children are all unemployed which sent a red alert. In China, the men are the providers while the women are the teachers for their children by showing them ropes of obedience. In their case, Nattie is the provider and as for John, he is the gym jockey with self esteem problems. Another red alert was when Sophie, the new addition to the family was born. For a mixed Chinese and Irish breed, she came out a little darker than both her parents. Ideas speculated that John may not be the father. “Maybe John is not her father”. In this quote the narrator was being sarcastic about the situation but it rubbed people in the wrong way that they never bring up the topic around her. Being the fact that the narrator is born and raised Chinese parent, her cultural background tend to affect Nattie lifestyle at her home. In China, at a certain age, the daughter takes care of their mother. As in China, the word obedience is highly valued through all ages. For Sophie, she doesn’t listen and Chinese elders usually hit the child to demand respect and obedience. To Nattie, she disapprove of that and when she fund out that her mother have been hitting Sophie, she separated them until the narrator is ready to earn their trust back with the well being of Sophie.

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