In "A Pair of Tickets," a chapter in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, what does the final "it" refer to in these sentences:  "It is my family. It is in our blood. After all these years, it can finally...

In "A Pair of Tickets," a chapter in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, what does the final "it" refer to in these sentences:  "It is my family. It is in our blood. After all these years, it can finally let go."

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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At the very end of Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, one of the characters, Jing-Mei Woo, is finally able to meet her two long-lost twin sisters, who had had to be abandoned by their mother in China during a long-ago war. The mother, who had always hoped that her lost daughters would be found and would be able to meet Jing-Mei (who had been born and raised in America), has in the meantime died. Jing-Mei, however, is able to come to China with her father and meet the twins, who very much resemble both their mother and Jing-Mei herself.

When Jing-Mei first sees the twins and realizes how much they resemble her mother, she remarks (as the narrator of the story),

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 let go.

These comments echo the very beginning of the chapter, where Jing-Mei had discussed her reluctance, as a thoroughly Americanized high school student, even to think of herself as Chinese despite her mother’s insistence that being Chinese was part of her fundamental identity. Her mother at that time had told Jing-Mei that once a person is Chinese, the person cannot help but feel Chinese emotions and think Chinese thoughts:

“Someday you will see. . . . It is in your blood, waiting to be let go."

Presumably, then, the statement that “it can finally be let go” suggests that now that Jin-Mei has met her sisters, she can experience (and is experiencing) a sense of being Chinese – of being part of a broader Chinese family. She can “let go” (that is, give free rein to) thoughts and feelings she had once resisted.  But she can also “let go” (that is abandon) any sense of conflict between her Chinese identity and her American identity. By seeing, feeling, and understanding her connection to her sisters, Jing-Mei now feels more fully connected to her mother as well, and she also feels more at peace with herself. She has achieved various kinds of integration on various kinds of levels. If the phrase “let go” suggests a kind of freedom, then, for one of the first times in her life, Jing-Mei feels fully free to be the kind of person her mother had always insisted she was. By echoing her mother’s words, Jing-Mei implies a recognition of her mother’s wisdom and a sense of even greater closeness to her mother than she had already felt.

 

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