The Meaning of Chinese in Amy Tan's "A Pair of Tickets"

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In Amy Tan’s story “A Pair of Tickets,” the meaning of Chinese has been developed throughout the story. June May is the protagonist in this story which portrays a sense of conflict between her true identity based on her natural roots and her personal image. In the story, June has been struggling with whom she really was regarding her identity as a Chinese. According to her, “she could never pass for true Chinese,” (Tan 170). However, the story ends with the identification of her part which is Chinese. From the story, it is clear that June spent her entire life in the US and knew she could never blend in since she was from a region which possessed a culture so different from that of America. Here, it is clear that the meaning of Chinese is linked to June’s possession of traits acquired from Chinese culture. On the other hand, June’s conflicting identity based on cultural heritage and the personal image gets a resolution at the end of the story when she discovered that although she grew up in America, her origin and family traits was about Chinese background.

The resolution of June’s identity conflict is further portrayed when she met her siblings and states, “I get beyond the gate, we run toward each other, all three of us embracing, all hesitations and expectations forgotten” (Tan 180). During the encounter, June’s internal conflict of accepting her identity regarding her cultural heritage comes to an end. Here, the meaning of Chinese is evolved from June’s notion of traits and physical appearance to blood and family heritage. June identifies that what makes her a Chinese is her ethnic background as well as the blood which flows in her veins.

Works Cited

Tan, Amy. "A Pair of Tickets."New Worlds of Literature: Writings from America’s Many Cultures (1991): 166-181.

November 24, 2023



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