The Pure Essence of the Individual
Many stereotypes exist within the social context of today’s world that stem from old and new preconceived notions of the unfamiliar. For example, some stereotypes stress generalizations that pertain to the aspects of different cultures such as religion, behavior, and even down to the type of cuisine. These misconceptions generalize an entire group of people based off of one characteristic, not taking into account the individuality of each person. Stereotypes produced by the social world at times can lead to ignorance as well as bring light to how wrong the misconceptions are compared to the truth. Surrounded in the confusion, people than develop tainted perspectives about other cultures and even their own, often leading to struggles in self as well as cultural identity. In Amy Tan’s short story, A Pair of Tickets, the main character Jing-Mei struggles with her cultural and self-identity but ultimately learns to rethink her misconceptions leading to her understanding of what it truly means to be Chinese. In the first section of the story Tan introduces the main character Jing-Mei, accompanied by her elderly father Canning Woo on a train to Guangzhou in China where they will visit with some family that Canning has not seen since childhood. Throughout the train ride and even after the two arrived to Guangzhou and met the family, Jing-Mei possessed many stereotypical viewpoints about China and the Chinese culture. En route to Guangzhou, Jing-Mei reminisced about her mother, Suyuan who passed away three months ago, and how she would always remind her Chinese roots saying that someday the Chinese in her will finally be let out because when Jing-Mei was fifteen she would always deny that she had any Chinese in her. During these conversations, she said she felt herself transforming like a werewolf. In a way Jing-Mei felt that she would finally come to terms with her Chinese roots only by force. Tan informs the reader that aside from...
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