Example Of Essay On Exploring Portrayals Of Family Relationships In Literature
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Many portrayals of family relationships in literature tend to happen by allowing the characters to explore their relationship with a certain family member by coexisting with other family members. Such are the cases presented by Amy Tan’s “A Pair of Tickets” and Tobias Wolfff’s The Rich Brother.
Amy Tan is one of the authors best known for exploring familiar relationships through her creative narrative and vivid imagery. In the studied text, “A Pair of Tickets”, we are presented once again with her now characteristically eloquent way of exploring mother-daughter relationships. The story revolves around June May, a woman who is attempting to reconnect with her mother’s Chinese heritage by travelling to her native country.
The Rich Brother, by Tobias Wolf, on the other hand describes the relationship carried by two brothers: Donald and Pete. They are both very different and as most stories about brothers, there is an obvious relationship of rivalry between them. There exists a continuous resonance with the bible as shown with Cain and Abel.
These two stories may seem as they really have nothing in common given that while they do explore family relationships, they do not attempt to describe the same kinds of relationships. However they do relate in a more profound way since in both texts the characters are able to explore their “true” relationships with their parents through a reconciliation with other members of their families. In the case of June May, her way of getting to know her mother is by visiting her faraway family in China. As explained by herself she starts “finding my mother in my father’s story” (Tan 249). In the case of Pete and Douglas, while getting to know each other all over again they also manage to realize the kind of relationship they each held with their parents: “"Do you remember when you used to try to kill me?" Donald asks. "Kids do those things," Pete replies.” (Wolf 90) While it may not look like so, the relationship between brothers tells a lot about the way each feels about their parents. For example, why did Pete kept bullying Donald as children? It was probably because he felt that their parents tended to favor Donald over him. This way we realize there is a certain resentment from Pete towards their parents, even when in the book it is highly remarked that he takes after them.
In literature it is often presented that characters attain a certain level of acceptance and reconciliation towards their unresolved issues with family members by experiencing said members through other character’s point of view. It is a little bit of a metaphor on getting perspective in order to get closure. What better way to understand your relationship than to try and see it with other’s eyes? What better way to understand your parents than by understanding the way others saw them? However, in both texts we realize the characters are able to get a better understanding of their own close relationships by looking at the close relationship others had with their beloved ones. “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” (Tan 249) This last fact allows them to find acceptance of the true human beings that their parents turn out to be: not perfect, not just “Chinese”, not just our memories of them, but the sum of all their parts. And not only that, they achieve a higher level of understanding of themselves since at the end they manage to see themselves through a whole new perspective by having a better comprehension of their past and a wider knowledge of themselves in the present.
Tan, Amy. “A Pair of Tickets.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. 9th Ed. Booth, Allison, et al, eds. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005. 236-249. Print.
Wolff, Tobias. The Rich Brother. South Australia: Hyde Park Press, 1945. Print.
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