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A Pair of Tickets by Amy Tan Essay

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"A Pair of Tickets" by Amy Tan

In the story "A Pair of Tickets," by Amy Tan, a woman by the name of Jing-mei struggles with her identity as a Chinese female. Throughout her childhood, she "vigorously denied" (857) that she had any Chinese under her skin. Then her mother dies when Jing-Mei is in her 30's, and only three months after her father receives a letter from her twin daughters, Jing-Mei's half sisters. It is when Jing-mei hears her sisters are alive, that she and her dad take a trip overseas to meet her relatives and finally unites with her sisters. This story focuses on a woman's philosophical struggle to accept her true identity.

The protagonist of the story is Jing-mei. She is a flat character who turns out to be dynamic. Throughout her life, she has been very stubborn about accepting her identity. An example of this is when she explains, "I was 15 and had a vigorously denied that I had any Chinese whatsoever under my skin" (857). She shows her dynamic characteristic at the end of the story when she finally does accept her heritage.

The main conflict of this story is Jing-mei's struggle between accepting her identity based on her heritage and not on a personal image. There is no real order in which this conflict is clarified, because the climax and resolution come about at the same time. The conflict is internal due to the fact that she cannot accept her true identity. The climax comes when she finally meets her twin sisters and says, "I get beyond the gate, we run toward each other, all three of us embracing, all hesitations and expectations forgotten" (870). It is then that the resolution comes into play and "After all these years, it can finally be let go" (870). It is at that point, when she can finally a...


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...Also an important quote is when she says, "But today I realize I've never really known what it means to be Chinese. I am thirty-six years old" (857). Even though she was in her 30's and still had that identity crisis, it was uplifting knowing that all it took for her to resolve that conflict was one meeting with her sisters.

The story "A Pair of tickets" examines a woman who has grown up with American

influence all her life and struggles to accept her true identity. Through the story you can

see Jing-mei struggles with her identity for over 30 years, but it finally is resolved once

she is able to meet her twin sisters that have been missing from her life for over 30 years.

Works Cited

Tan, Amy. “A Pair of Tickets.” The Longman Anthology of Short Fiction. Compact

Edition. Ed. Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn. New York: Longman, 2001.


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