Amy Tan is the author of “A Pair of Tickets”. It shows the journey of June May to China, where she meets her half sisters. This essay analyses the narration and the point of view of the story. It also analyses the characters in this story by showing a character defying a stereotype. Furthermore, it analyses the setting of this story and shows how particular settings have the specific symbolic significance. Lastly, it analyses the symbols that the author used in this story, and shows how they are central to the understanding of the story’s conflict. Amy Tan used many aspects of literature in writing “A Pair of Tickets”.
June is the narrator in this story and the author uses the first person’s point of view. She is a participant narrator, since she is involved in major actions throughout the story. The author made a good choice when she chose June as the narrator of the story. She was only fifteen, and the fact that she had lost her mother helped her in showing the suffering that she had previously gone through. Furthermore, the narrator initially did not know the Chinese culture. She despised this culture, and at some point in the story, she claimed that Chinese were communists. She even thought that Chinese food was different from the food of other countries. The author made a good choice in choosing this narrator, since it helps the reader see how she came to appreciate the Chinese culture, thus convincing readers that Chinese culture is not bad. The narrator’s actions also help in developing the theme of moving from pain to joy, since she had experienced the pain of losing her mother, and after going through the long journey, she finally came to meet her sisters. She was very happy when they took pictures together. June’s action of accepting her culture helps in developing the theme of self-awareness and identity. Her mother kept on telling her that her roots were in China, but she did not like being associated with China. After re-uniting with her family and after she learnt the Chinese culture, she came to accept it. June also learnt that her mother had not abandoned their family, but she moved from China, so that she could escape the attacks from the Japanese. Since this experience affected her, it helps in showing the pain that her parents had gone through in the past. This further develops the theme of moving from pain to joy. The author used the first person’s point of view in this story. She revealed the plot of the story by referring to the viewpoints of June. This helped in conveying the deeply unspoken thoughts of the author. It also helped in defining the Character of June. By using the first person’s point of view, the author developed the theme of identity and self-awareness, since June accepted her culture after uniting with her parents. It also develops the theme of Joy, since she said that she could also see her mother smiling from heaven.
Changing the values of June over the course of the narrative
At first, it seemed that June hated and despised China, since she thought it was different from America. She claimed that she saw herself transforming like a werewolf, and she haggled with storeowners. Furthermore, she pecked her mouth with a toothpick in public. While at China, she wore lemon yellow and pale pink clothes ignoring that they were not a good combination clothes for winter. While she was in her hotel, she kept on reminding herself that she was in communist China, proving her hatred for China. June thought that their meal of the night would be a big banquet with steaming soup and carved watermelon, chicken wrapped in clay and perking ducks. Surprisingly, she came to like the food in this place, since it contained hamburgers, fries and apple pie. Although the character of June seemed as a person filled with hatred and despise for China, she came to love it. She also came to accept China, and she was actually happy when she reunited with her family. She even took a picture with her whole family holding them tight, showing that she had love in her. Her transformation helped her accept her identity. At first, June’s mother seems like a traitor, since she abandoned her home and went to America. However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that she only left China due to the invasion from the Japanese. She tried to carry all her children, but she could not manage, since she was sick and she felt tired. This shows that, although her mother seemed as a traitor, she actually loved her family and her country.
Symbolic significance of particular parts of the settings in the story
The story starts when Jane is entering Shezhen that is in the boarder of China. This is symbolically relevant to the theme, since it points out where the identity of June. Although, she grew up in San Francisco and she thought that her identity was American, she realized that she was happy when she rejoined her family in China. When she reached Shenzen, she felt different. She could feel the skin on her forehead tingling, her body aching and blood flowing through a new course. This is probably because she realized that she had not accepted her true heritage before, since she thought that China was not a good place to live in. When she was fifteen, she claimed that she was American. The setting plays a role in the development the character of Jane. This is because it shows that she is starting to accept her identity as a Chinese. She felt different, since she did not embrace her true culture while growing up. Her father started crying when he watched scenery passing by, while they were in a train to Cuangzhou. He probably cried, since he realized that he had finally arrived home. His tears symbolized the happiness he felt, since he knew that he would be reuniting with his family. This setting plays a significance role to the theme, since it shows how her father had experienced pain due to the separation of his family. The attitude of her father changes in this setting. It reveals that her father was emotional, since he cried. When Jane stayed in a hotel with her father, he told her of an instance that he together with her mother tried to escape the Japanese invasion. Her mother had to make a decision of living the twins behind. This setting shows the theme of the pain that the family of Jane had gone through. In addition to this, it reveals the character of her mother as caring, since she tried to save the family from the Japanese invasion. This setting plays a big role in changing the character of Jane. This is because she came to know that her mother loved all of them, and she left China for a good reason. It plays a big role in the character development of Jane, since she now started accepting her roots by being convinced that her real family loved her.
Using symbols to show the conflict in the story
The colors used in the story show the changing of seasons. The yellow color during the first part of the train ride shows the apprehension that June has, since she is venturing into an unknown life. She does not know what waits for her in China. Earthly – brown color suggests the act of a person being drawn to the soil from where he/she originated. She wants to find her roots, so that she knows where she was born. She also wants to know the town that her ancestral family lived in. The green color shows the budding of the new life and the new identity that she will acquire after reaching to China and discovering her roots. Her lifestyle and beliefs changed after she arrived in China. Just as flowers have to go through the cold winters, so that they blossom in summer, June had to undergo trouble before she finally found her identity. When she reached near Guangzhou, her happiness turned into disappointment when she saw the gray and cement buildings. This shows that she anticipated the trouble that may face her when she meets her new family.
There is a symbolism when Jing Mei reunites with her family, and they suggest taking a picture. Initially, before Jane takes the pictures, June’s father and her aunt envision each other as they were years before their separation. After she takes the picture with the Kodak camera, they all stand still reflecting on the developing images. This represents their efforts of trying to reflect the years that they were separated from each other. The Kodak picture develops from grey of winter to three bright colored images. This shows the happiness that this family has, due to their re-uniting. June moving from America to China symbolically represents her cultural journey to self-enlightenment. She had first to go through the hard experiences of her past before she discovered who she really was. She experienced the tragedy of losing her mother, and this caused her a lot of pain and suffering. When she returns to her homeland, she finds joy and peace, since she gets to re-unite with her homeland. She came to learn about the culture of their people. She also learnt what they eat and what they value the most. These symbols work together, since they help in advancing the theme of self- discovery in this story, where Jing Mei moves from a life filled with pain to joy. They try to explain the transformation of her life from sorry to joy after re-uniting with her family in China. Furthermore, they show the pain that her mother went through when she was separated from her family. June is so pleased when she sees how her sisters resemble with her mother, thus, showing the theme of pain to joy.
Amy Tan used many aspects of literature in writing “A Pair of Tickets”. She used June as the narrator of the story. The author used first person point of view in her narration, and this helped in developing the theme identity. This story also shows that a character defies stereotype. At first, it seemed that June hated China and its culture, but later, it becomes clear that she loved it. The setting of this story is in China. This setting is symbolic, since it shows where the identity of June lies. The story uses several symbols to show the conflict in the story. It uses colors to show the transformation of the life of June.