Natalie

Outer characterization

Natalie is an important character in the short story “Who’s Irish?” by Gish Jen. She is Chinese-American and married to John Shea, an Irish man. Together, they have a three-year-old daughter named Sophie. Natalie works as a vice president in a bank (p. 3, l. 17), but her husband is unemployed. Natalie was born in China, but fled the country together with her parents, most likely when she was very young.

Inner characterization

Natalie is supportive of her husband, who cannot find a job. She accepts and understands John’s need to go to the gym “to be a man” (l. 5, l. 22): “No one wants to hire someone who is depressed, she say. It is important for him to keep his spirits up” (p. 5, l. 24-25). When John eventually gets a job, Natalie continues to support hi...

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