The Joy Luck Club – a Pair of Tickets Analysis Essay Sample

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Use of Language – Metaphor Theme – Identity
This story explores the insights of Jing-Mei’s literal and figurative journey back to her cultural origin, China.

In the text, Jing-mei had initially ‘vigorously denied that [she] had any Chinese whatsoever below [her] skin.’ and through this she has shown her inability to understand her true identity.

Use of Language – Metaphor Theme – Identity [cont.]
When she had finally comprehended her true identity, the use of visual imagery serves as a metaphor to represent this understanding. When Suyuan had mentioned that Jing-Mei’s true identity as a Chinese ‘is in [her] blood’ The visual ‘saw [herself] transforming like a werewolf, a mutant tag of DNA suddenly triggered, replicating itself insidiously into a syndrome, a cluster of telltale Chinese behaviours’.

Use of Language – Metaphor Theme – Identity [cont.]
Suggests that Jing-Mei has finally understood the true meaning of discovering one’s true identity Identity is sometimes naturally a part of oneself; beyond one’s control.

The ‘pair of tickets’ she had bought for the trip to China has also been figuratively a journey through her own thoughts and hopes Her search for the true meaning of her existence

Use of Language – Imagery
Page 274: When she first came to meet Jing-mei and her

“Little Wild Goose” and his aunt was described as a “tiny sparrow of a woman”. father, Jing-mei’s father was described as a Other words used in association with her are para 5) and

“crooning” (275 para 3)

“coos” (274,

What’s that mean
The bird imagery shows how by the time June’s father and his aunt finally had the opportunity to meet up, they are fragile like birds because they are already old.

‘They clasp each other’s hands, but do not hug’
However, while they are small and weak in appearance, they are chatty, saying “Look at how old you’ve become!”, just as birds can be noisy and loud as well.

Relationships: Some things never change…
Even though it had been years since they last met, they are already old and they are only 5 years apart, Jing-mei’s father and his aunt still maintain and acknowledge the ranking that they have. “Aiyi! Aiyi!” “Syau Yen!”

‘smiles like a pleased little boy’.
‘baby name’ When it comes to family, no matter what happens, relationships will never change.

June is ignorant about China

“This is communist China?” (page 277 and 278)
June’s impression of China is very different from the reality. When she sees the fancy hotel, she says “This is communist China?”

with disbelief, as if she had never imagined China to be luxurious.

June is ignorant about China
She does not really understand what it means to be a “Chinese”; she bases her ideas of being a Chinese on stereotypes. Web definitions duck sauce: a thick sweet and pungent Chinese condiment.

Page 279:

“The hotel has provided little packets of shampoo which, upon opening, I discover is the consistency and colour of hoisin sauce. This is more like it, I think. This is China.”

Theme – Stereotyping

June’s views on China are based on assumptions and stereotypes, which are very different from China in reality. From this we can see her ignorance and lack of knowledge about her homeland and culture, since what little she knows about China is mainly based on what other people generalize about China.

Use of Language – Irony

When Jing-Mei and her father had arrived in China, they had decided to ‘dine [that night] in [their] rooms, with [their] family, sharing hamburgers, French fries, and apple pie à la mode’. The family is in China and yet they are having a western type of meal instead of Chinese food. The stereotypical American food can be seen here, which emphasises on how it does not parallel the social norms of typical Chinese families. This also suggests that both American and Chinese cultures can influence each other to co-exist in harmony.

Use of Language – Irony

There had been an ironic statement by Jing-Mei when she had stated ‘It seemed as if I wanted to sustain my grief, to assure myself that I had cared deeply enough.’ Suggests that she had only truly appreciated her mother Suyuan only after the latter’s death.

Use of Language – Parallelism

Parallelism is seen in Suyuan’s past Suyuan had only come to China to learn that ‘her husband had died two weeks before’. Jing-Mei described this as ‘To come so far, to lose so much and to find nothing.’

This is similar to how the members of the Joy Luck Club had come to America hoping to expect a better life, yet encounter problems bringing their daughters up due to the influence and cultural collision of both the American and Chinese.

Use of Language
‘Do you see my foolish hope?’ ‘I thought I had lost everything except these two things… And I wondered which I would lose next. Clothes or hope? Hope or clothes’ She is nothing now. Everything she used to value has no significance.

Theme – Motherly Love
Pg 285 Mei Ching had ‘loved these baby girls like her own’ Pg 286

‘She loved these girls so much, she only wanted them to have what they were entitled to – a better life, fine house, educated ways’ ‘Maybe the family would let her stay on as the girls’ amah’

Mei Ching could have been selfish and could have wanted to keep the girls whom she loved so much to herself. However she wanted what was better for them and was willing to sacrifice. Moreover, Mei Ching loved her adopted daughters so much to the extent that she was willing to leave her own life for them and become their amah if they returned to their birth parents. This shows that even though Mei Ching was the adopted mother, she had shown the girls the same love as what a biological mother would.

Theme – Motherly Love
Pg 286 ‘When letters could be openly exchanged between China and the United States, she wrote immediately to old friends in Shanghai and Kweilin.’ Pg 287 ‘But every year, your mother wrote to different people’ ‘… go to China to find them herself’ This shows the extent to which Suyuan would go to in order to find her daughter and the amount of love she still has for them after all those years. ‘… this possibly grew bigger and bigger in her head that it killed her’ However, like in reality, eventually Suyuan has accepted the fact that finding her long lost babies is near impossible and hence, she gives up.

Use of Language – Parallelism
Pg 287 ‘There was something about their facial expressions that reminded… of your mother’ ‘And then these double-image women’

Amy Tan has purposefully not given much characteristics to the sisters and they are only representatives of Suyuan. She is trying to draw parallels with the sisters and her Suyuan to allow Jing-Mei to understand her roots and accept it.

Use of Language – Irony
Pg 288 ‘… I have never known about her, grieving that my sisters and I had both lost her.’ This shows the irony whereby Jing-Mei’s sisters had lost their mother even before they got to know her whereas Jing-Mei had been living with her mother for about thirty years or so and yet she had not known her. ‘Cheerily waving good-bye to some at the airports, knowing we’ll never see each other again. Leaving others on the side of the road, hoping that we will. Finding my mother in my father’s story and saying goodbye before I have a chance to know her better.’ This also shows the irony in many ways people separate.

Use of Language – Metaphor

Pg 288 ‘As we wave good-bye one more time… I get the sense I am going from one funeral to another.’ Jing-Mei feels as though she is being abandoned by everyone, left behind.

Theme – Love
Pg 289 ‘And I know it’s not my mother, yet it is the same look she had when I was five and had disappeared all afternoon, for such a long time, that she was convinced that I was dead.’ Relief, love. Shows how one common factor – the mother, has united and brought them all together. This also shows how Suyuan was misunderstood by Jing-Mei most of the time but now she sees how powerful she had been to have impacted on her sisters’ whom she had not met. Love conquers all. This also shows that one only truly appreciates something when it is gone.

Theme – Identity Use of Language – Irony
‘I see no trace of my mother in them. Yet they still look familiar. And now I also see what part of me is Chinese. It is so obvious. It is my family. It is in our blood.’

‘After all these years, it can finally be let go.’
Both the sisters’ and Jing-Mei had found their mother in each other. Moreover, there is irony shown when Jing-Mei is trying to get away from her Chinese self and yet trying to find herself when the truth was staring right at her face – her Chinese blood. She had been in denial but now she can finally let go. She has realized and accepted herself for who she was. She has been on a emotional and physical journey, a pursuit to come to terms with herself, for who she was.

Use of Language – Visual Imagery and Metaphor

‘The gray-green surface changes to the bright colors of our three images, sharpening and deepening all at once.’ This also shows how finally everything becomes bright again and clearer. Jing-Mei can at last have a clear mind and positive attitude as she has found her identity.

Use of Language
‘Together we look like our mother. Her same eyes, her same mouth, open in surprise to see, at last, her longcherished wish.’ Shows that they all make up their mother. Finally fulfilled the wish of being reunited as a family. This also shows that Suyuan’s years of hope and hard work had not been in vain for in the end, her long lost daughter were found

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