Monday, 10 December 2012


Change and acceptance can only occur over time, as shown in the story "Who’s Irish" by Gish Jen. I think that in the beginning the main protagonist, an old grandma, was very close-minded and she didn’t want to change her ideas and accept the Western culture. However, towards the end, you can see that she is willing to try and change to allow herself to be more open towards other cultures and ideas.

I think that one of the biggest points in the story is when she abused her granddaughter Sophie in the foxhole. One can tell that she didn’t mean to do it by the way she says “I poke some more, even harder, so that I am poking and poking when my daughter and John suddenly appear.” (Who’s Irish by Gish Jen) She didn’t mean to do it, but at the same time she still thinks she did nothing wrong. But towards the end, the reader can see that she understands that she might have hurt Sophie because she says: “When [my daughter] say no one to turn to, she mean me.” (Who’s Irish by Gish Jen)
This quote shows that she understands that her daughter is upset about what happened with Sophie, because she knows that her daughter can no longer turn to her for help. She now accepts that she has done wrong, and she will try not to repeat her actions.  

Another example of accepting change is in two quotes from the beginning and the end of the story. In the beginning, she says: “Now I know why the Chinese beat the Irish.” (Who’s Irish by Gish Jen). At the end she says: “Of course, I shouldn’t say Irish this, Irish that, especially now I am becoming honorary Irish myself, according to Bess.” (Who’s Irish by Gish Jen). You can see the clear change in her attitude towards the Irish culture. In the beginning, she wanted to beat all the Irish because they were lazy and boring, but now she likes the idea of being partially Irish in culture.

The ending of the book is interesting, because the main protagonist seems very happy, perfectly happy with her new life. In the beginning she did nothing but complain, but now she lives happily with her new friend Bess. However, I still remember what she did to Sophie and how racist and sexist she was in the beginning. I think the author aimed to try and make the reader forgive the grandma, but I don’t think she achieved this.

Overall, the theory that change and acceptance can only occur of time is correct, as demonstrated in the way that the grandmother acts towards the American culture and the Irish culture in the beginning and end of the story.

1 comment:

  1. I really like your post about 'Who's Irish' by Gish Jen. It's so organized and simple compared to mine which is like a big blob of ideas. It still seems more like vomit to me. :P
    And also, your thesis statement is something that I never thought of. I guess you could also summarize the theme of the story that way as well :)
    The occasional quotes you put in the paragraphs to back up your explanation really helps to understand what you mean!
    Overall, I think this post is an excellent reflection about 'Who's Irish'. :) x