The Importance of Setting in a Story

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The importance of setting in a story

There are many aspects to building a good story and among these, setting is one of the most important aspect. A setting in the story is defined as the context and environment in which a situation is established, or the background of the story. It is the time, place, and circumstances in which a tale, play, or movie takes place. Amy Tan’s “A Pair of Tickets” from “The Joy Luck Club”, is a story about her trip to China to explore her identity and self-awareness. As the narrator, Amy Tan presents a story about a young Chinese-American student, Jing-Mei Woo, the protagonist. Jing-Mei began her journey with her father to China with the purpose of meeting her half-sisters for the first time. Amy Tan constructs both the physical setting and the symbolic setting of the story to knottily weave the theme that Jing-Mei is “becoming Chinese” [Tan, 181] into each portion of the story.

“A Pair of Tickets” has two physical settings: San Francisco, USA and Guangzhou, China. In this story, the setting plays an important role to highlight the essence of the story, which is about journey. Jing-Mei’s change in setting, from USA to China, assists the readers to feel the lifestyle transition the protagonist experiences through the story. The author portrays Jing’s character as an American-Chinese who holds various stereotypic notions about China. For example, Jing is surprised by the great hotel service, built-in wet bar, affordability, availability of Western snacks in a Chinese hotel. As the story unfolds, changes in Jing’s perception of China helps to establishes both the physical and the symbolic setting of the story. Setting assists to set the mood, influence the way characters behave, affect the dialogue, ...

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...mother. Her same eyes, her same mouth, open in surprise to see, at last, her long-cherished wish.” [Tan, 195]

Amy Tan’s "A Pair of Tickets" is a good illustration of how setting explores place, culture, and cultural identity to provide an in depth understanding of the characters. In this story, Jing-Mei overcomes her misconception and realizes what makes her Chinese. The setting played an important role in helping the readers to understand how she came to this realization. The Setting of a story helps to outline the general themes of this story, journey and self-identity. It may even be an important symbol or help develop symbolism. Setting also makes a reader to relate to adversity or situation. This helps the story to become more powerful.

Works cited

Tan, Amy. "Queen Mother of the Western Skies." The Joy Luck Club. New York: Putnam's, 1989. . Print.
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