In the story “A Pair of Tickets’, author Amy Tan refers to various colors that grasps the reader’s attention and pulls the reader into the importance of color and their meaning in Chinese culture. It is true to bring out the fact that the Chinese relate its culture to various colors. The colors also carry auspicious and inauspicious meanings in their culture. Whether it be the narrator Jing Mei’s mother wearing lemon yellow combined with pale pink or the visual of little girls wearing red and peach, colors and what they symbolize in Chinese culture have a long and continued tradition. In the story Amy Tan uses color to convey to the reader that even though
Jing Mei didn’t feel Chinese, the colors that she was surrounded by kept her very much in
Chinese tradition and culture and ultimately led her transition from not feeling very Chinese to realizing she was Chinese all along.
Jing Mei was petrified of becoming her mother, referring to her mother’s behaviors as embarrassing. She mentions her mother being color blind by combining lemon yellow and pale pink for winter clothing, (263) which was embarrassing to Jing Me. In her
“Caucasian” eyes, those colors didn’t match. In Chinese culture the ancients worshiped the color yellow during the reign of the “Yellow Emperor”. Yellow symbolizes warmth, clarity, and is also reserved as a color to be worn by the higher class. Lemon yellow is a golden color which signifies completeness, wealth and a person who is God conscious. Jing Mei did not realize it at the time but her mother, being a very traditional Chinese woman, who had suffered many heartbreaks, had finally found clarity in her new life and was able to move forward.
A mixture of colors can lead to a combined interpretation in Chinese culture. Pink is the color of love. But when you combine white with pink it becomes pale pink. Combining white into the mixture, the meaning changes. White is the color of purity and righteousness, but also symbolizes the unknown and is used in the time of mourning. These colors represented Jing
Mei’s mother’s yearning to find her twin daughters. She had exhausted all of her resources and no longer knew where to find them. She and her husband were too old and could no longer travel to China so there was also a sense of Jing Mei’s mother mourning for her twins that she knew she would never see again.
Jing Mei and her father travel to China together. For Jing Mei it is her first time. For her father he is returning to his homeland after many years. She describes him as childlike, innocent and happy. Her father tears up as he looks out the window of his train seat, as all he is seeing is yellow, green, and brown fields and people in blue jackets. (264)
Yellow is such an important color in the Chinese culture and symbolizes many things. The one that best describes this moment for Jing Mei is nourishing. Green is the color of harmony and brown is the color of being grounded. The color blue that was mentioned symbolizes healing and calmness. Together these colors combined symbolize the narrator realizing the nourishment of knowledge from her mother about her culture as well as becoming more grounded in Chinese traditions. She says, “It was as if I had seen this a long, long time ago, and had almost forgotten.” (264) She was fulfilling her mother’s dream to find the twins and finding clarity in her family traditions and thus finding peace within herself. She maintains her feelings of apprehensiveness as her and her father continue on their journey not sure what to expect. Jing Mei see’s gray landscape, symbolizing the dull and indefinite.
When they arrive in Guangzhou, they are greeted by crowds of people, and she see’s spots of bright colors. Again yellow is mentioned as well as pink so she is again greeted by warmth and love. Little…