In the American Society Essay
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Gish Jen’s In the American Society is, on the surface, an entertaining look into the workings of a Chinese American family making their way in America. The reader is introduced to the life of a Chinese American restaurant owner and his family through the eyes of his American-born daughter. When we examine the work in depth, however, we discover that Jen is addressing how traditional Chinese values work in American culture. She touches on the difference in gender roles, generation gaps between immigrants and their American-born children, and the hesitance of these immigrants to conform to the American way of life.
To truly understand multicultural literature, one must first try to understand the cultural background of the author. In the…show more content…
Many of these values are expressed in In the American Society.
Loyalty is a cornerstone of Chinese culture. In her story, Jen uses several examples of how Mr. Cheng exhibits the loyalty to his pancake house employees and expects that loyalty in return. Much like his family in China would give bags of rice to the poor at New Year’s, he would sometimes give an employee “two green envelopes instead of one” because their family was facing a financial hardship and “who else is going to take care of (them)?” He also hired illegal workers like Booker, remembering “when (he) first come to the United States, (he) also had to hide-and seek with those deportation guys. If people did not helping (him), (he’s) not here today.” In return for his loyalty to his workers, he expected to get the same in return. He expected his cooks and busboys to fix radiators at the restaurant as well as his home. He had the waitresses run errands and chauffer him around. In return, most of his employees quit. They didn’t understand this idea of loyalty. This isn’t how it is in America. In America there are specific job duties outlined and stepping out of those expectations to help out an employer just doesn’t happen. Booker, however, returned that loyalty to Mr. Chang. Being Chinese himself, he understood and worked very hard, even sending replacements when he wasn’t able to make it in to work. Mr. Chang’s loyalty to his employees even compelled him to not fire
Show MoreAt the opening of the American Revolution, in 1775, the American society was tainted with high taxes and a tyrannical king. Politically, the creation of a new constitution, led to the establishment of a new centralized democratic government. Socially, more individuals and groups fought to secure rights for themselves, especially women, slaves, and religious groups. Economically, a method for fixing the national debt, along with a strong agrarian base, would help a slow, but steady improvement to American society. Political, social, and economic aspects of the overall American society were affected so dramatically as to create a new country that is so unlike any nation created before it.
Politics had a lot to do with American society, but…show more content…
Women had roles in society that were far more inferior to that of the male population. The Woodcut of a Patriot Woman (Document A) shows that women had an increasingly larger role in the society. Before the Revolution, women were the “behind the scenes” member of the family, but with the dawn of the revolution at hand, women stepped up to more prominent and political roles in their family. In particular, women like Abigail Adams and Lucy Knox were the driving force for women’s rights progression, to project her ideals to the general public. According to Molly Wallace, in her valedictory speech (Document J), women should not be denied the most general rights that people have just because they are women, and that woman can contribute to society just as much as a man can. It is because of the Revolution’s “punch” on society, that women could become constructive members of society educating their children in order to become the next great leaders of America. Although women’s rights were dramatically changing, slavery was also in the spotlight for social change. The 1787 Ordinance (Document H) explains it very clearly, by explaining that there would be no slavery in the Northwest Territory. The ordinance is very similar to the ideals of the Quakers, in 1681, when they organized Pennsylvania as an antislavery state, but its later opponent, the three-fifths compromise, in 1787, was a complete contrast to it. The rights that were stated in the