Who’s Irish by Gish Jen

In the short story who’s Irish i believe there was a lot conflict between the grandmother and Sophie, its hard to be someone you’re not especially for Sophie. She s still a child yet her grandmother punishes for anything that is not common in a Chinese girl. i believe her grandmother takes to much pride into making Sophie be like every other Chinese women out there. having said that one of the ways her grandmother got to make her listen was through physical punishment. its that same reason why it had led to Sophie rebelling against her. “I hate you! she yell. I hate you, meanie!”.  her grandmother needs to understand not everything solves by physically hurting someone. i don’t want to sound stereotypical but i feel that Asians are known to spank their kids. for them it is a way to teach them not to do something they don’t want. it’s good in a short time,but in the long run they tend to be rebellious. i say that with confidence because I too have gone through those days as Sophie had, but in a different perspective.

Response to Who’s Irish?

To be honest, I really think the title of this short story to be very accurate. “Who’s Irish?” Even though the main character’s son-in-law and his family is Irish, the story mostly talks about the elderly main character (who is a chinese immigrant) and her grand-daughter’s mischievous ways. This is excusable, as the granddaughter is a 3-year-old child, but I think that the story shouldn’t have mostly been about her.

At first glance of the title, I thought the story would have been about an Irish person or something, but I was very surprised to know that the narrator/main character is a Chinese immigrant. Afterwards, the story goes on to talk about how she had to deal with her mischievous granddaughter named Sophie. What puzzles me is why the author decided to write a paragraph, on page 616, explaining that Sophie is brown-skinned and it constantly talks about her being brown. That information was kind of misleading and pointless because I thought that meant that the main character’s daughter cheated on her husband, but nothing of that sort came up later in the story.

Afterwards, the story then goes into Sophie’s rambunctious behavior. For example, on page 617, the narrator talks about how Sophie would take off her diaper and run around naked. Also in page 619, she learns to “hit the mommies of her friends.” At this point, I was actually satisfied when the grandmother spanked Sophie for her misbehavior, even with the whole “foxhole” incident from pages 619 to 620.

The rest of the story didn’t interest me, and overall I forgot that the title of the story is called “Who’s Irish”. However, I did find the story humorous when it came to Sophie, but that’s it. The story had little to do with the Irish and mostly to do with a mixed 3-year-old’s life with her Chinese grandma.

Who’s Irish

Honestly I found this reading very boring and it took awhile for me to actually understand the text clearly. The style of writing was really different because of the numerous ethnic backgrounds and with that came the conflict that arose in the story. The narrator of the story, fails to accept her son-in-laws Irish roots whilst still trying to instill the Chinese culture into Sophie.

She attempts to do so by spanking Sophie and disciplining her in the way the grandmother was taught. As a result of her actions against Sophie, the grandmother was forced to move out based on her reluctance to accept another’s culture solely for the betterment of Sophie’s life. It is always good when you have family members from different ethnic backgrounds coming together and assimilating, that is helpful for Sophie’s development and to be able to learn different things based on a certain culture is great has it can allow to be a well rounded person.

The grandmother’s fierce character cost her a relationship with her granddaughter. She learned the hard way that its never a good thing to be blinded by only one thing has there are options out there. Whether you accept them or not is up to you.

Who Irish

This story is told from a grandmothers point of view, which is first person. Her opinion in many ways is on different views of genders and races and how some are doing better than others and etc. Her main views are on her daughter Natalie and her techniques of raising her daughter Sophie. the grandmother is a very strong women who was respected ( feared) by all because she has no hair on her tongue. Natalie daughter Sophie  is mixed with Irish and Chinese. Sophie is the main topic of discussion between Natalie and her mom claiming Sophie is a ” wild child”. The grandmother claims that Sophie does not act Chinese enough, she admits her features are Chinese besides her brown skin  ” she looks mostly Chinese. Beautiful black hair, beautiful black eyes. Nose perfect size, not so flat looks like something fell down, not so large looks like some big deal got stuck in wrong face.” (616) The grandmother thinks Sophie display of actions is out of control and thinks a little slap will control her wild side. This is where Natalie disagrees her view on this situation is talking to Sophie is the best way to control her child.

Gish Jen. Who’s Irish?

Who is Irish?  This question got me thinking before and after I read the story. I am trying to figure out what is the author purpose of asking that question, and to whom is she directing it.

This is very realistic story that include regular everyday activities, personal dilemmas, and duties inside a household where cultures clashes at each other due to its differences.  The opening sentences of the story tells how critical and judgmental the grandmother is towards the behavior of her granddaughter named Sophia. Being from another country in this case from China “Meanie” that’s how Sophie calls her grandmother, describes Sophie as a smart kid, but also that she is different from her and her daughter Natalie, she says Sophie is wild outside and the Chinese heritage hidden inside.

Meanie describes herself as having a strong personality that even gang members were afraid of her. I think her youth was not easy growing up in China where in those years people struggle to survive and step ahead in life. I believe that id what drove her to be a very hard working woman together with her husband who die probably before Sophie was born.

Natalie is “fierce” like me says Meanie she has an important job in the bank now. She goes on and on about how her daughter is successful, but there is someone that makes her offset.  John is her son in law, he is lazy and a male chauvinist. Even dough the grandmother shows a strong character she suffers to see her daughter work so hard while her husband is at home or at the gym. Natalie supports her husband behavior I guess because she loves him very much and love blind her of reality or maybe she is afraid of a divorce. The last one made her decide between her marriage and her mother.

“Who’s Irish?”

This story shows the little differences between cultures. The main focus is on how a woman’s granddaughter is growing up differently than how she raised her daughter. I completely agree with is. The woman raised her daughter in China and now they live in America. This difference in environment causes children to grow up differently. There are things the woman can’t do because it is viewed as wrong in the new environment. For example, the woman wanted to spank the granddaughter in order to teach her not to take off her clothes everywhere, but the woman’s daughter doesn’t want to do that because people in America don’t do that.

Another difference that is told is that the woman’s daughter is living a new way of live. She goes to work and has a babysitter watch her daughter. Now, the woman watches her granddaughter. The difference told is that in China, a woman’s daughter would help take care of her when she gets old, but in America “Mother help daughter, mother ask, Anything else I can do?”

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.

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.

Who’s Irish by Gish Jen

The author show the clash between the Chinese, the irsh and the american cultures. It’s talk about narrator grandmother marry to a different culture and having mixed race children. In the begin the narrator held the reader interest talking about the grandmother having power in a man’s world.

The grandmother part of the story was more interesting that the rest of the story. Grandmother try to live Chinese live life style in the united state. She live as if she was living in china. The grandmother is the head of the family. She is someone who is will do anything to protect her family. On the other hand her granddaughter lives a completely different life from the grandmother. The story show that some family are a scheme of their relative whom have to to live the American life style.

I am from a different country and the life style from where i am from is different from the American life style. My parents still follow the tradition life style, but I done follow the tradition. I do sometime follow. When two or more culture clash, the most popular most likely to win. Like most teenage today people are likely to follow what most of the other people are doing. This story is very confusing, it goes from one generation to another generation of people for the same family.

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.