And discussion

1. Compare the two grandmothers in ” Whos Irish?” The two grandmothers in the story are the narrator, a Chinese immigrant living in U. S. and Bess, the narrator’s co-mother-in-law, who is an Irish. With the grandmothers coming from different ethnic backgrounds, it reflects in their viewpoints about various issues. For instance, narrator expresses her traditional Chinese perspective of how family members particularly men have to work hard for the entire family. However, Bess does not force his four sons to take up jobs. On the other hand, both the grandmothers express their apprehension and even contempt for each other’s culture. However, in the end, Bess accepts the narrator as part of her family.
2. Explain how the use of symbolism contributes to the theme of ” The Shawl.”
The key symbolism that is visible within the story is regarding the use of shawl, and it contributes to the theme of survival. With the conditions at the Nazi concentration camp being very inhumane and life threatening, the three characters of Rosa, Stella, and Magda use shawl as a kind of ‘ protective shield’. For example, the child Magda wants to grab the shawl for comfort, whenever she feels threatened but at the same time has to be quiet. Stella also uses shawl for survival, when she suffers from cold in the climax, and so uses the shawl for comfort.
3. How does allegory underly the plot and theme of ” ” A Very Old Man”?
The allegory that is visible in the story is regarding how people could be cruel to others particularly older people, and this allegory underlies the plot and theme of how the town’s people are cruel to the old man with wings. The old man represents the older generation, while the spider woman stand for the younger generation, which the town’s young people could relate more. This is visible in the fact that although the old man was caged up in a chicken coop for public viewing, the whole town did not offer any help to him.