Language

Style of language

The language used in the short story “Who’s Irish?” by Gish Jen is mainly informal. The narrator speaks in broken English, which reflects her background: “In China, daughter take care of mother. Here it is the other way around. Mother help daughter, mother ask, Anything else I can do? Otherwise daughter complain mother is not supportive” (p. 5, ll. 16-19). The narrator’s style of speaking illustrates the fact that she is a Chinese immigrant, who has not fully adapted to the US. Moreover, this stylistic choice makes the story more realistic. 

When it comes to the choice of words, the author introduces words and expressions with negative meanings. For example, the expression “plain boiled” (p. 5, l. 9) refers to the Irish food, but also to the Irish attitude, which the narrator criticizes. The words “supportive” (p. 5, l. 20) and “creative” (p. 8, l. 10) are given negativ...

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