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Who Is Irish Essay

1104 words - 5 pages

An Analysis of Who is Irish? by Carol Belanger

In the United States, there are many immigrants from different countries and nationalities. It is probably the most ethnically diverse country in the world. Some people view it as a “melting pot” where a variety of cultures mix together and influence the overall culture. Others use the analogy of a quilt, woven by cloths from different colors and fabrics that comes out a whole piece. Despite this, gaps between different cultures still exist, especially for older immigrants, no matter how well they have assimilated. The cultural and life perspective of first generation Chinese immigrants are deeply rooted in China, even though some ...view middle of the document...

In China, a man’s role is to work hard to make money for the family, but in the US this is not something that is set in stone. The grandmother thinks that John should be able to find a job since he is white and a native English speaker and that he should be happy about what he has instead of feeling depressed. On the other hand, in Chinese culture, a daughter is responsible for taking care of her old mother. However, things are sometimes opposite in the United States. Here, mothers often ask their daughters if they can do anything for them. To not do so might be considered as not being supportive. The grandmother works six hours a day as a baby-sitter for the granddaughter. When John is not happy about the grandmother’s talking, and thinks about sending her back to China, Natalie tries to make him stop by telling him that her mother “means to be supportive.” However, the grandmother thinks that she is the one who should be taken care of instead of the one who is supportive.
Besides the cultural gap in the Chinese-American family, there is also a culture gap between the Chinese?American and Irish?American families. John’s family and Natalie’s family hold different points of view on life and family. When John’s family repeated remarks that the granddaughter Sophie “never goes in the sun, still she is that color brown." The grandmother feels offended and says “maybe John is not her father.” John’s family does not mean to offend her with the way they talk, but to the grandmother it is impolite. The grandmother also despises the fact that no one in John’s family works. All of John’s brothers live on welfare. She thinks they could find a job if they tried, but they are just not as hard working as the Chinese. The views within each of the families are also different. John’s mother, Bess, admires the grandmother because she has a daughter and Bess thinks it is fortunate to have a daughter. The grandmother does not feel the same way because “Chinese people don’t think a daughter is so great.” In Chinese culture, there is more pride in having a son.
The way that the child is brought up is another important issue that shows a big culture gap. The...

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