A Pair of Tickets - Short Essay

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Who am I? Have you ever sat and thought about the contributing elements that make you the person you are? In “A Pair of Tickets,” in hopes of finding her true self, June May struggles to identify who she is. Amy Tan is an author who uses the element of character development to bring out the theme of self-awareness and identity in this story, mainly focusing on the main character having the dual identity of being Chinese American. While June May discovers her ancestral home, she also finds a part of herself.

June May’s mother was an immigrant from China. At the beginning of the story, June tells of how her mother tries to convey their family’s history and legacy to her. June, who is fully americanized and almost completely ignorant of their heritage, tells of how at the age of fifteen she believes she is no more Chinese than her Caucasian friends even though her mother was persistent in convincing her that being Chinese could not be helped.

Her pass port reveals her American name which is June May but she chooses to introduce herself as Jing-Mei, which is her Chinese name. This incident is the start of her accepting her Chinese heritage. She has many misconceptions throughout the story; most about what is to be Chinese and the culture of China and the people that reside there. One example being she did not think that “communist China” would have such luxurious hotels, which is an example of American stereotyping. She compares her height to those of the people she is surrounded by when she gets off the train to head to customs, saying that she was much taller. She was expecting a traditional Chinese meal but her family opted for the hamburgers, fries, and apple pie instead. She was shocked when her younger cousin Lili posed as if she was a supermodel while taking a picture. June started to take in how American culture had shaped her way of thinking and that she was wrong in believing her family would be more different from her....
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