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Pollock 1 Lillian Pollock Professor Christina Bisirri ENC 1102: English II 16 October 2019 The Transformation of June May Our foundations are pathways to getting to know ourselves, our genuine selves, the individual underneath the shallow every day personas. Our underlying foundations interface us to the past to carry us to our futures. For June May in Amy Tan’s ‘A Pair of Tickets’ she is yet to discover her roots that make her authentically her. June May is not aware of her real identity initially and she could not decide if she was American or Chinese. She remains in this identity crisis until she takes a trip to China with her father where she learns more about her real identity. June May discovers the significance of her heritage for the first time. Through her journey through China, June May transforms from someone who is lost and unsure about themselves to someone who is proud to be a Chinese-American. At thirty-six, June May is a Chinese-American who has yet to really feel what it is like to be Chinese. To her, everything she knows about what it means to be Chinese is rooted in stereotypes and ignorance. That’s all she knows of her cultural origin, all the quirks that made her embarrassed of her mother as a teenager and that continue to haunt her even in her adult life. Young June May appears to feel deeply disgruntled with her Chinese appearance. When she was 15, she “vigorously denied” (Tan 293) that she had any Chinese in her. She tried her best to belong to a group and her appearance made her feel frustrated and isolated. She goes as far as to explain how her Caucasian friends agreed with her that she was strictly American. By allowing other people to identify her only further contributes to her loss of identity. June May is young
Pollock 2 and foolish and mocks Chinese culture. She describes the transition into being Chinese as nightmarish. She uses words like “insidious” and “werewolf” to highlight how her younger self felt about embracing her Chinese culture. June May says, “I saw myself transforming like a werewolf haggling with store owners, pecking her mouth with a toothpick in public, being color- blind to the fact that lemon yellow and pale pink are not good combinations for winter clothes. “ (Tan 293). June May thought the most trivial things are what it meant to be Chinese. She just assumed that her mother’s habits were that of all Chinese women. Young June May is filled with angst about being caught between these two cultures and would much rather deny one than try and understand them both. This narrow and biased viewpoint of young June May only contributes to the notion of questioning her sense of belonging. Even at thirty-six, she is again

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