Theme in a Pair of Tickets

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Amy Tan’s “A Pair of Tickets” is the account of Jing-mei, an American woman on a pilgrimage to China to meet her half-sisters, abandoned by her mother in China during World War II. Jing-mei’s mother always hoped of reuniting with her daughters she left behind long ago, but she died of an aneurysm before the opportunity arose. Through chance, a friend of Jing-mei’s mother, still in China, spied the twins while shopping. The mother was already deceased, so with encouragement from her aunts, Jing-mei made the journey to China with her father to meet her long lost family. Ms. Tan’s story conveys the importance of finding one’s roots, Jing-mei’s Chinese heritage and family fifty years separated. In the beginning of the story, Jing-mei relates that she “vigorously denied that I had any Chinese whatsoever below my skin.” Her mother responds, “It is in your blood, waiting to be let go.” Additionally, Jing-mei dreads the reception she will receive from her half-sisters, thinking they will blame her for her mother’s death, reasoning that Jing-mei did not appreciate her mother while alive. By the conclusion of the story, Jing-mei exhibits Chinese traits she once loathed in her mother and is overcome with joy when a picture taken with her and her new found half-twin sisters shows that “Together we look like our mother…to see, at last, her long cherished wish.” Jing-mei successfully carried out her mother’s wishes, finding her Chinese heritage along the way.
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