The narrator

Outer characterization

The narrator is the main character in the short story “Who’s Irish?” by Gish Jen. She is 68-year-old (p. 5, l. 15) and a Chinese immigrant, who currently lives in the US. There are hints that she escaped with China with her family (either fleeing political persecution or trying to find a better economic situation). Before her husband’s death, the two of them used to own a restaurant (p. 3, l. 5). The narrator has a daughter named Natalie and a granddaughter named Sophie. 

Inner characterization

The narrator describes herself as “fierce” (p. 3, l. 4) and imposing. When she recalls the past, she remembers that her husband used to be afraid of her (p. 3, ll. 4-5), just like the restaurant staff. Moreover, the narrator’s fierce attitude intimidates gang members, who do not dare to ask for protection money when she is present. The narrator’s personality is influenced by her Chinese education.

The narrator is faithful to he...

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