The book is a story authored by Amy Tan, in which the June May, (the main character), parents’ migrated to the United States. The character was born and raised in a totally different society, the American culture and hence develops a feeling of denial for her main ethnical root, the Chinese. Suyuan, the mother is Chinese but marries an American whom she moves with to San Francisco. When June May finally meets her relatives having grown in the United States, she is in a state of uneasiness with her half-sisters, she is eager to hear more of the Chinese culture which they echo as good.
A Pair of Tickets analyses the social, identical and ethnical settings of the society whereby the race or ethnicity is considered to be a major factor on the way an individual thinks. The narrator in the story denies that they are Chinese having grown up in the American society in San Francisco and much considered Chinese-American. June May was born and raised in America, under the American way of life, culture, her mother having emigrated from China. She denies being Chinese as she has not interacted with the Chinese beliefs or way of life, and thus claims not to feel Chinese. At one time, she reminds herself that she is in China, “I am in China, I remind myself…” which indicates she is yet to fully embrace the fact that her roots is Chinese(Tan 222).
The story also has strong instances of racist feelings that indicate challenges that come along with it. June May’s father takes time to narrate to her about Suyuan (June’s mother), and how the Japanese invasion to China led to her tragic migration to the United States. Circumstances forced her to leave behind her twin daughters, which indicate the effects of the Japanese invasion, which was propelled by feelings of superiority in race, ethnicity and military power, leading to separation of families. When the plane took off, she is worried of how she will explain with her incompetent Chinese language about her mother’s life. At one time, she instructed her travel agency to look for an inexpensive destination for her eating, and gives a range of thirty-to-forty dollar expense range.
It is also during the orientation into Chinese culture by her father that June May gets to comprehend what the name of her mother, Suyuan in the Chinese culture means, which is long, cherished love (Tan 249). June may introduced herself to the relatives using her Chinese name, Jing Mei which indicates that her mother had tried level best to instil in her the roots of her Chinese identity, even though her passport name is June May. However, she still finds it hard to accept the strange experiences she is meeting. The race aspect is also evident by the fact that each Chinese name has a meaning. Suyuan, June’s mother’s name has a meaning as well as the twin sisters, Chwun Hwa and Chwun Yu, which indicates their sequence of birth and the emotional connection of the family.
The social class in the story also indicate the challenges that race expose one to. June May gets to really understand the battle her mother had to go through to migrate to America, and the importance of her meeting Chwun Yu and Chwun Hwa, who are her half-sisters. The mentality she has on some of the locations she comes across also indicate strong feelings of race. For instance, “is this communist China…” at one time clicks into her mind when she is driven to a hotel place, because she didn’t expect so meet luxurious hotels as a result of American stereotypes (Tan 127). The food they order also amazed her, as her family settled for hamburgers and fries. Seeing her cousin, Lili pose for a photo like a model was totally out of her thoughts.
June May at one time states that she is feeling herself become Chinese, and goes ahead to describe the feeling, the aching of bones with familiar old pain, tingling of her skin on the forehead and blood rush. June’s mother also once said that anybody of Chinese roots and descent has no option except to “think as well as feel a Chinese…” (Tan 120). As early “as at the age of fifteen…”, she had felt “she is no more Chinese…” but when she meets her family in China, she understands how Chinese she is and the feeling of denial slowly starts fading away. She gets to understand how the American society tends to stereotype other cultures and discovers herself and her Chinese roots. She is amazed to find out how Chinese she is.
The racial conflict also manifests with the case of the twin half-sisters of June May, who are a result of Suyuan’s first marriage, while she is from the second marriage and finds it had at first to accept she is Chinese. She considers herself American-Chinese and more so weighs her culture to the American society, until after Suyuan’s demise. June May realises how she took Suyuan for granted and ignored her words until it was too late.
Therefore, the cultural and social status of a character is clear that it plays a major role in dictating what an individual thinks they are, and the perception of the surrounding. Cultural stereotypes are also evident and they reveal how they lead to misjudging other cultures, while in the real sense, acceptance is all one needs. June May realises she is happy and proud of her identity when she finally interacts with her long lost family after the trip to China.