Amy Tan's "A Pair Of Tickets" is about Jing Mei, a daughter of a Chinese immigrant who is on a journey to find her identity and to understand her mother. This journey is about her relationship with her mother, and also a journey of self-awareness, uncovering the truth of where she comes from when she visits Shanghai, China. Jing Mei changes as a person throughout the story. Her thoughts as a kid growing up in San Francisco and that of when she is an adult are different, especially when she talks about her experiences of visiting her half-sisters in China.
As a child, Jing Mei is in denial of her Chinese heritage. For example, in the beginning of the story, she casually says that her Caucasian friends say that she was "about as Chinese as they were." She is ashamed of her parents, especially of her mom because she speaks English in an accent and does other "Chinese behaviors" that embarrass Jing Mei. She doesn't want to believe what her mother tells her, that "Once you are born Chinese, you cannot help but feel and think Chinese." Jing Mei just wants to be American, and does not want to acknowledge the fact that she is also Chinese.
During Jing Mei's trip to China, she begins to notice things. She describes that once she enters China, she feels different. One of the reasons she feels that way is because some things she experiences in China is different from what she expected. For example, when they got off the train and she meets her great-aunt for the first time and notices that her relatives from China treat her as if they've known her their whole lives, even though they probably only have seen her in pictures. She also didn't expect China to have tall buildings, a multitude of cars, and she never expected "communist China" to have a magnificent hotel as described in the story.
At the end of the story, Jing Mei gains an understanding of her heritage. The things that she expected to be embarrassed about because of being...