For foreigners living in America, they are either forced to follow what their American contemporaries are doing or maintain their foreign culture. However, in most cases, foreigners tend to assimilate the American culture as they slowly forget about their own country, traditions, and beliefs just to fit in. Therefore, living in America can change the dynamics within a foreign family as the old generation competes with modern America in disciplining and giving the youths a fair chance at life. In “Who’s Irish?”, by Gish Jen, Jen verbalizes her ideas and thoughts about living in America, and consequently, the American identity.
/> Coming from Chinese background, Jen how different Chinese people are from Americans, including how similar the Irish are with their American counterparts. Jen represents the old, Chinese way of disciplining children, while her daughter and son-in-law characterize the American culture of living and disciplining. She points out how Americanized his son-in-law is in the sense he doesn’t want to take care of his daughter because he is a man, unlike in the Chinese culture where both men and women have responsibilities to their own families. The same thing is true with finding job opportunities, where the son-in-law kept on complaining about the amount of work he has to undergo to earn. According to Jen, his son-in-law is unhappy in the U.S., living life as if without the benefit of satisfaction as can be seen on his demeanor before finding a salesman’s job. In this light, the narrator is able to express the various illnesses of the American society in terms of finding work opportunities and their attitude towards work itself. While America represents the Land of Milk and Honey, the nation is also synonymous with depression, as the number of Americans resort to suicide when they don’t get what they what they want. In all, the narrator has successfully pointed that the story is a representation of the mixing of various nationalities.
Jen, Gish. “Who’s Irish?”. Alfred A. Knopf. (n.d.) Print.