Narrative style of Who's Irish

663 Words3 Pages
In Gish Jen’s “Who’s Irish”, the tone is the buttress for the underlying theme of the story, which contrasts the differences between generations, race, and culture. Through her use of point of view, rhetorical questions, and syntax, the author conveys a tone that is persuasive, confiding, and slightly humorous. The first person point of view is used to bring the reader inside the main character’s mind. Throughout the story, readers are exposed to the protagonist’s thoughts and experiences, tinted with opinions and comments, and reacting to events as she reacts to them. She “cannot understand [her] daughter’s husband John, who has no job but cannot take care of Sophie either.” She “grew up with black bean sauce and hoisin sauce and garlic sauce, [and] always feels something is missing when [her] son-in-law talks”. She asserts her point of view clearly and unwaveringly. When faced with a culture with values and priorities so blatantly contradicting to her own, the grandmother lets the readers know exactly what she thinks of it. Her sharp, caustic, and to-the-point statements create a sense of spontaneity and candor, which intertwines into the overall tone. Each time the protagonist expresses anger, disbelief, or makes an assertion; we are able to absorb it clearly. In this aspect, the narrative colors the tone vividly, letting us know exactly how the protagonist feels about new generations, changing ideas, and contrasting cultures. As manifest in the story, the protagonist is distinctively and proudly Chinese. Aside from her assertions on her Chinese beliefs and customs, her way of speaking and thinking conveys her deep-rooted Chinese ways appositely. Instead of saying I have worked hard my whole life”, she says “I am work hard my whole life, and fierce besides.” The incorrect grammar is used deliberately to create a clipped and abrupt tone. Instead of
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