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A Pair of Tickets - a Story by Amy Tan

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Brylee Coleman

Ms. Wedemeier


February 11, 2016

A Pair of Tickets

In the story A Pair of Tickets, Amy Tan provides detailed descriptions of the tips to Guangzhou and shanghai, while June May’s father says little about the landscape or setting while telling about June May’s mother. Setting does not have to be important in all stories, but in this one, setting plays both a role vividly and vaguely. Amy Tan uses vivid setting when telling this story, “which gives the story purpose and meaning – so much so that there would be little, if any, story left if all the details about setting were removed or the characters and plot somehow transported to a different time, place, and social milieu.” Tan uses vague setting, which “implicitly urge us to see the conflicts and aspects of human experience they depict as timeless and universal,” when June May’s father is describing the story of June May’s mother.

June May is an American-Chinese citizen whose mother said, “So there was no doubt in her mind, whether I agreed or not: Once you are born Chinese, you cannot help but feel and think Chinese” (paragraph two). June May was taking a trip with her father to Guangzhou, China, carrying with her, her mother’s dreams of coming home to China. June May is very descriptive in describing the setting around her on her way to Guangzhou. “The landscape has become gray, filled with low flat cement buildings, old factories, and then tracks and more tracks filled with low flat cement buildings, old factories, and then tracks and more tracks filled with trains like ours passing by in the opposite direction. I see platforms crowded with people wearing drab Western clothes, with spots of bright colors: little children wearing pink and yellow, red and peach” (paragraph 31). She is very descriptive when describing the setting of China because she was born in America, but from Chinese decent. Her mother and father are from China and June May feels as if does not know what it really feels like to be Chinese. “I am wearing false eyelashes, eye shadow, and lip liner. My cheeks are hollowed out by bronze blusher. I wear no makeup; in Hong Kong my mascara had melted into dark circles and everything else had felt like layers of grease” (paragraph 34). In the United States, Americans hide their identity with make-up, but in China, they hardly wear any make-up. So why does June May describe the setting in great detail? June May has never been to China before. Her parents are from China and she feels like she needs to learn how to be true Chinese. Her mother always wanted her to know what it was like to feel Chinese and now since she is dead, June May really wants to achieve this for her mother.

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