Family relationships are never simple, and even if people think they know everything about each other, something unpredictable occurs. “A Pair of Tickets” by Amy Tan and Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich is the stories about two families and their cultural and social impact from the Chinese American and Native American standpoints, respectfully. The characters, Jing-Mei Woo and Lipsha Morrissey get a chance to learn about their families and help the reader see the difference between personal needs and expectations and understand the worth of love and support.
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Tan and Erdrich investigate two different families and traditions to demonstrate how naïve and poorly aware children become mature and responsible adults. Lipsha changes his attitude toward interpersonal relationships when he sees tears in his grandma’s eyes. He confesses, “I thought love got easier over the years, so it didn’t hurt so bad when it hurt, or feel so good when it felt good” (Erdrich, 2017, p. 281). Native American families never stop feeling, despite their age or health condition. This lesson is priceless for Lipsha and the reader because, in today’s technologically advanced world, not much attention is paid to true emotions, the importance of touch, and the power of love.
Tan touches upon multiple aspects of family life and the responsibilities that parents and children have to each other. This story has many powerful ideas, and one of the most exciting discoveries is how “we leave people in this world” (Tan, 2017, p. 179). When people are together, it seems to be easier to demonstrate their feelings and share the love. Jing-Mei faces separation to show how it is possible “cheering waving good-bye…, knowing we’ll never see each other again” or “leaving others on the side of the road, hoping that we will” (Tan, 2017, p. 179). There is an invisible line between what people expect and what they get, and Tan’s goal is to catch it and explain it through the prism of cultural diversity.
The chosen stories contain several important lessons about how people build their lives, make decisions, and understand each other. Such things as love, respect, devotion, and trust are not eternal, but family relationships help maintain them as long as possible until death does its part. Tan and Erdrich hope their characters and readers enjoy every moment of life and cherish available opportunities and beloved people.
Tan, A. (2017). A pair of tickets. In K. J. Mays (Ed.), The Norton introduction to literature (12th ed., pp. 166-180). W. W. Norton & Company.
Erdrich, L. (2017). Love medicine. In K. J. Mays (Ed.), The Norton introduction to literature (12th ed., pp. 279-294). W. W. Norton & Company.