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A Comparison Study of Children as Enemies and Who’s Irish

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A Comparison Study of Children as Enemies and Who’s Irish

Written by Chinese American writers, both Children as Enemies and Who’s Irish are wonderful short stories related to cultural conflicts. Aa is known to all, literature is the reflection of reality. Consequently, the authors’ similar background make these two stories have much similarities, which can be seen as follows.

(1) Conflicts between American culture and Chinese culture

These two short stories are both concerned the conflicts between different culture, which can be seen from two aspects-educational method and conflicts between generations.

Above all, the focus of the conflicts is different educational method. In America, the purpose of education is to arouse and improve the children’s creativeness, however, in China, most children are forced to obey the rules and become the kids that their parents want and their teachers like. In Who’s Irish, when Sophie took off her diaper, Amy laugh. When Sophie run around naked, Amy say she wouldn’t want to wear a diaper either. When Sophie take off her shoes, Amy say bear feet is best, even the pediatrician say so. It seemed that in Amy’s eyes, everything Sophie did was right. Because in America, they would like to let the kids grow up as their own ways, freely and comfortably, which they think will protect and promote the kids’ creativeness. Nevertheless, as for Meanie, a traditional Chinese woman, that’s the reason why Sophie is so wild, totally losing Chinese graceful personalities. In China, the children are always restricted by the regulations-they can only do what their parents or teaches required or they will be punished. That’s also the reason why Meanie said Sophie isn't a Chinese girl at all many times. The similar conflict is also mentioned in Children as Enemies. For instance, as for the grandpa, Matt’s abstract painting on which are merely bands and lines of ink is ridiculous. However, the boy’s art teacher praised it a lot, saying the lines suggested a rainfall or waterfall, which definitely proved again that in American, the creativeness is everything. For another example, the grandpa also condemn a lot elementary education in U.S. Teachers don't force their pupils to work as hard as they can, and the students are not ranked in class, which seemingly doesn't instill in students the sense of getting ahead of others and becoming the very first. Maybe in China, students are always valued by marks, however, things are very different in U.S. They attach more importance to creativeness, the children can be valued by different aspects.

Moreover, the conflicts between generations is also another focus in these two stories. In China, undoubtedly, the young should be filial and highly respect the old. However, in America, the old highly respect the children’s nature, personalities and creativeness. Consequently, there must be huge conflicts between the Chinese grandparents and the American grandchildren. Sophie throw sand at Meanie and always said rude words to her, which make her totally annoyed and use the Chinese way to punish her granddaughter, however, she herself became the person punished. She was asked to move out from her daughter’s house and could never take care of Sophie again. Why did it happen? The reason is obvious- in America, a wild kid can’t be more common but a fierce grandma can never be accepted. Similarly, in Children as Enemies, there are also many conflicts between the grandparents and grandkids. As the grandpa said, America is a place where even your grandchildren can act like your enemies. Seemingly, these two generations quarreled a lot for the divergence of changing names. However, it is just an epitome of the conflicts between these two culture.

Additionally, the conflicts between these two cultures also led to much unhappiness between the grandparents and parents. Different concepts of educating children cause many conflicts and quarrels in the family, eventually, make the old move out. They should be close family, however, the conflicts make them have no choice but to separate. “I took care of her when she could not hold her head up. I took care of her before she could argue with me, when she was a little girl with two pigtails, one of them always crooked.” From these sentences, we can see how depressed Mattie is. She took care of her child, but bring up an American woman, who is far different from her. She ever promised she will keep the family together, even though it was just two of them. However, she left her daughter’s family at last. In Children as Enemies, the grandparents sold everything in China, their apartment and candy store, to join in their son’s family, but just became guests, even hatred guests.

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