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A Pair of Tickets by Amy Tan
Danielle Eon 15 October 2012
Transcript of A Pair of Tickets by Amy Tan
She is the first born of Suyuan’s twin daughters and her name means ‘spring rain.’ Jing-mei (June May) Woo
She is the narrator of the story, currently at the age of 36, raised as a Chinese-American in San Francisco, California with her Chinese mother and father. When we begin the story we learn that her mother has recently passed and she is struggling with her Chinese identity. The story is about her reunion with her family and her Chinese roots. Chwun Hwa
She is the second born of Suyuan’s twin daughters and her means ‘spring flower.’ Suyuan Woo
She is the mother of the narrator and she dies before the story begins. She originally lived in China where she had two twin daughters named Chwun Yu and Chwun Hwa, but she had to abandon them and escape during an invasion. She spent the last portion of her life in California, raising her other daughter, Jing-mei, however she always wished she could be reunited with her twin daughters. Canning Woo
He is the 72-year-old father of the narrator and the husband of Suyuan. He has also been separated from his Chinese relatives since he was 10-years-old.
She is Suyuan’s old friend and she assists Jing-mei and Canning in getting a hold of their Chinese relatives. Aiyi
She is around 77 years old, but she is extremely energetic and is Canning Woo’s aunt. Lili
She is Aiyi’s great-granddaughter and she grows very fond of Jing-mei and her Polaroid camera. She also represents how somehow from the Chinese culture could shy away from the American culture, but grow to accept it. Mei Ching
She is the woman who finds Suyuan’s abandoned twin daughters during the invasion, and manages to save them. She and her husband, Mei Han, live in a stone cave so they can hide during the war. Suyuan’s Old Schoolmate
She found the twin sisters on the street somewhere in China after Suyuan died. Introduction Identity Jing-mei (June May) transitions into her Chinese identity throughout the story and learns to accept that hidden part of her. The Seasons Themes The transition from winter to spring represents the progress of Jing-mei's transition. Symbols Her mother’s name- Suyuan Polaroid Pictures Train Tickets Climax When her father shares the story of her mother during the time of the invasion and her journey from China to America. This is the most significant moment of Jing-mei’s acceptance of her Chinese culture and it explains all major plot elements. Resolution Jing-mei's sisters give her the ability to accept her Chinese identity, because she realizes that what makes you Chinese is in your blood. Gradually throughout the story, Jing-mei peels back the layers of her American-self, to find the part of her that is Chinese. Jing-mei and her father visit China for the purposes of reconnecting with family, and Jing-mei’s long lost half-sisters. When she first enters China with her father, she begins the process of self-discovery, but her judgement is heavily clouded with American stereotypes.
Even as she leaves the train she imagines herself back in San Francisco at a bus station. However, when the customs officer looks at her passport she is afraid that he won’t see the resemblance between the women in the picture and her current appearance, because the women in the picture is heavily made-up and she isn’t wearing any make-up at all. As Jing-Mei passes a construction site she questions the lack of safety requirements and compares it to the high safety standards of America. This situation has a hidden meaning, as it represents the fact that here in China, Jing-mei has little emotional safety, whereas back in American she had a better sense of security because of the familiar environment. The Chinese hotel that she stays at is also a comforting surprise because it unities both American and Chinese cultures. The décor, facilities and food are all very American, and even her Chinese family are very accepting of all of these facets; Chinese also eat “hamburgers, French fries, and apple pie la mode”… the stereotypical American dinner. Lili, her young cousin, even poses for a picture in “the manner of a fashion model.” This all hints that perhaps the transition from her American-self to her Chinese-self won’t be as hard as she used to believe. Jing-Mei’s father tells Jing-mei the story of her mother’s journey from China to America and she truly learns to appreciate her mother because of her past. She also understands the existence of her half-sisters and feels the need to meet them, as they are a part of her mother. When describing these moments Jing-mei says she is “finding [her] mother in [her] father’s story.” This part represents the growth of Jing-mei’s Chinese roots. Jing-mei’s original opinion of Chinese culture was developed through stereotypes and prejudice, but after hearing her mother’s story and living with her Chinese family, her opinions change. She realizes that being Chinese is not about appearances or any of the stereotypes she used to believe; everything that makes someone Chinese, or any culture for that matter, runs blood deep. She may not look Chinese, but part of her soul is Chinese and so is her family. Now that Jing-mei feels truly connected to her sisters, she admits, “And now I also see what part of me is Chinese. It is so obvious. It is my family. It is in our blood. After all these years, it can finally be let go” (249). She has officially embraced her Chinese-self and her Chinese family. When Jing-mei first enters Guangzhou, the scenery is filled with gray and dull cement buildings and one gets a sense of lifelessness. This part of the story represents winter, as it is the time period she must endure before she is able to blossom.
In Shanghai, the scenery is still the gray of winter; however something dawns upon Jing-mei as she approaches her sisters. Her sisters' and her own names , Jing-mei, Chwun Yu and Chwun Hwa, all link to the spring season. Chwun Yu, who is the first born, means ‘spring rain’, and Chwun Hwa, who is the second born, means ‘spring flower.’ Jing-mei means “the younger sister who was…the essence of the others.” In conclusion, all of their names unify to represent a blossoming spring season.
Winter officially turns to spring when all three girls are looking at a Polaroid picture of them developing and they see the “bright colors of [their] three images.” The Seasons Polaroid Pictures
-When the narrator’s father and his aunt meet, she takes a picture of them and they stand close together “each of them holding a corner of the picture, watching as their images begin to form. They are almost reverentially quiet."
-When June and her half sisters are united at the airport, the sisters are holding onto a Polaroid that she had sent them before arriving, showing us that they loved her before they really even knew her. After they are together they take another Polaroid: "My sisters and I watch quietly together, eager to see what develops. And although we don't speak, I know we all see it. Together we look like our mother." This means that the girls can see that the spirit of their mother lives on through them. They represent familial love and unity, as whenever a Polaroid picture was taken, it displayed the love shared between the members of the family.
Train Tickets Jing-mei undergoes a journey of self-discovery and to start the journey she need train tickets. Thus train tickets symbolize as a catalyst to that journey.
Jing-mei's mother’s name: Suyuan
Her father is sharing the story of her mother during the time of the invasion and her journey from China to America. Jing-mei learns to appreciate her mother because of her past and begins to understands the existence of her half-sisters and feels the need to meet them, as they are a part of her mother. When describing these moments Jing-Mei says she is “finding [her] mother in [her] father’s story.” This is the most significant moment of Jing-mei’s acceptance of her Chinese culture and it explains all major plot elements. Climax
Her sisters give her the ability to accept her Chinese identity, because she realizes that what makes you Chinese is in your blood. She now understands that even in America, some part of her has always been Chinese. Accepting that part of her has allowed her to find beloved Chinese family so she can feel whole again. Resolution
Example : “I saw myself transforming like a werewolf haggling with store owners, pecking her mouth with a toothpick in public, being color-blind to the fact that lemon yellow and pale pink are not good combinations for winter clothes." June assumes that her mother’s habits must be similar to the temperament of all Chinese women. This represents one of the first hints that she is starting to accept Chinese culture, although these thoughts are quickly washed away because she realizes that her height is much taller than most Chinese women. Further on she makes another step when the passport reveals her American name of June May, but she chooses to use her name of Jing-mei instead. All of these are her first steps to finding her identity. Jing-Mei’s mother’s name was Suyuan, meaning “long-cherished wish” and it represents the mother’s wish of wanting to be reunited with her twin daughters. That wish was fulfilled by her youngest daughter when all three of her daughters are united. The End
By Danielle Eagleson