The Joy Luck Club is about a group of four Chinese mothers, each with at least one daughter, who are close friends in San Francisco. "A Pair of Tickets" is the culmination of all the stories of Chinese mothers and their Chinese American daughters. Which of the characters do you feel most sympathetic toward or the most connection to and why? Use a quote from the text to support your answer.

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There is no one answer to this question, as different readers will relate to different characters. However, Jing-Mei (June) is the focus of both the first and last stories in The Joy Luck Club, so readers may be partial to her. She is known as June throughout most of the book since she identifies more with her American side. However, by the last story, she embraces her Chinese heritage and the name Jing-Mei. While anticipating meeting her half-sisters for the first time, Jing-Mei asks her father to explain the meaning of her name, finally displaying interest in her heritage.

Jing-Mei has gone through many changes. She learns to deal with her mother’s death by remembering and coming to terms with her own past, as well as by discovering her mother’s past. June has always felt inferior to others, specifically Waverly, and has struggled with what she thought was her mother’s betrayal of her. For instance, Suyuan wanted June to be a child prodigy, like Waverly, and so she forced her daughter to practice piano. June did not practice, however, and as a result was embarrassed at her piano recital. Mother and daughter had many arguments over the piano. As an adult, after her mother has passed, June finally accepts and understands her mother’s side. She has the piano tuned and as she looks at the notes in the book, she notices something for the first time. The song she tried to play at the recital, “Pleading Child,” was paired with another song, “Perfectly Contented.” June tries to play both and realizes she can do it. “And after I played them both a few times, I realized they were two halves of the same song.” June recognizes the bond that was there all along between her mother and her. She is now ready to understand how much like Suyuan she is.

June’s ultimate epiphany comes when she travels with her father to find her sisters, to fulfill her mother’s lifelong dream. She comes to appreciate her heritage and to understand that her battles with her mother were because her mother did not want her to forget her. Suyuan wanted her daughter to know who she really was, and to know where her family came from. Now, she is ready to accept her roots, to truly be Jing-Mei. She says of her sisters:

I look at their faces again and 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.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 2, 2020
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