The Third Dumpster

1332 Words Jan 31st, 2016 6 Pages
The Third Dumpster

In "The Third Dumpster", we meet the two Chinese brothers Morehouse and Goodwin, who are trying to get along in American society. The author Gish Jen is a second generation Chinese-American, whose parents emigrated from China to America. Many of her works focus on the multicultural America, in which many different ethnic groups live, and how these get along with each other. "The Third Dumpster" was written in 2013 .
The story is told through the eyes of Goodwin, as the third-person narrator is bound to him. His stream of thoughts is shown to the reader, which makes the reader sympathize with him. The story starts in medias res, where we are told about the two brothers' situation. We are told about the house, which
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You are finally learn how to talk! You are finally learn how to think! They had said in their kinder moods.” (l. 27). This can be seen as a sign of the assimilation of the American society, which the parents have been through. This can be compared to the language of the two brothers: “Did you really expect me to demo this place all by my friggin’ self.” (l. 70). This shows us that the two brothers are second-generation American civilians from China, and that they have adapted to the everyday way of speech, as spoken by average American citizens. The difference between the parents and the two brothers also plays a crucial role in the understanding of the short story, with emphasis on the theme ethnic background.
Throughout the story, we hear about the family and how it has adapted to western culture. “And their parents were Chinese, end of story, as Morehouse liked to say. Meaning that thought they had been Americans for fifty years…” (l. 8). The parents still think of themselves as Chinese, despite living in America for 50 years. This shows the reader that they "hang onto their roots" of their old nationality. They won't even eat western food (l. 12). As mentioned earlier, they haven't mastered English, which can be seen as a contrast to the two brothers, which could mean that they don't speak it much, despite the fact that they live in a country, in which English is the “common ground" of communication between different ethnic groups. As