When Jing-mei (June May), of Amy Tan's story "A Pair of Tickets," arrives in Guangzhou, what are some details that seem familiar to her, and what are some that seem exotic?

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Amy Tan strengthens her stories with sensory details of characters and their environments, painting each scene with sharp brushstrokes and rich color. Tan uses these details to paint the theme of emerging identity as June May travels to Guangzhou. As she arrives in the city with her heart full, the chaotic scene upon her arrival reflects her own turmoil. While the landscape is filled with reminders of her home in San Francisco (people in Western-style clothes and the universally similar trains, factories, and suitcases found in every city), she is looking for reminders of the one thing most familiar to her: her mother’s face. Ironically, her own face in the train mirror, for once free of makeup and adornment, looks both unfamiliar and un-Chinese. Her extended family greets her with familiar Polaroid photos sent from home. Even a seemingly entirely American hotel filled with the ubiquitous food and trappings of the States, down to the Coke and apple pie, awaits June May and her family...

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