Throughout the short story “Dead Men’s Path” there is various ironies presented. The first irony presented is when Michael Obi is talking to his wife Nancy, about their colleagues not being married and devoting their full energy to the school. “A penny for your thought, Mike,” said Nancy after a while… (175). The quote is ironic because she is not going to actually pay him a penny for his thoughtfulness. The second irony presented is when Obi is talking to another teacher of the closing of the path. “The villagers might, for all I know, decide to use the schoolroom for a pagan ritual during the inspection” (176). It is ironic because he thinks since the villagers are already saying the path is used by dead men they might as well allow them to use the school room for other needs of the villagers. The biggest irony of all is that Obi wanted the school compound to be flawless full of life with flowers blooming and modern like. But the day of inspection the school had died in the sense of the life it had had died along with the path.
The theme presented is following traditions make who you are as a person. The author presents this theme through the quote “this path was here before you were born and before your father was born. The whole life of this village depends on it…” (176). Using the path as a form of crossing is something the whole village has done and is accustomed to doing. Without this path the history behind the village dies with it. “but we follow the practices of our father.”(176). No matter how old and silly their tradition may be they keep doing what they were taught.
In the short story “A Pair of Tickets” by Amy Tan the setting takes place in China. The story being set in China plays a big role in how the narrator Jing –Mei develops and discovers what part of her is Chinese. Growing up in San Francisco, California she became accustomed to the American culture and their way of living. When traveling to China with her father she feels unfamiliar with her surroundings. She is determined to figure out what part of her is Chinese.
The color the author portrays is symbolic, as we get an idea of the seasons passing. “…out the train window is a section field of yellow,green,and brown, a narrow canal flanking the tracks, low rising hills…on this early October morning.” (120) The fall colors give us the image of the leaves on the trees changing and falling off. Jing-Mei is also transforming and letting out her American ways and showing her inner Chinese. The color yellow can symbolize happinees, cowardice and optimism. In this case yellow represents optimism (hopefulness and confidence) of what her future in china might bring and the meeting of her twin sisters. The color brown means stability, structure and support and brings to mind dirt. Under all dirt there are roots. As they travel in the train she gets closer to finding her own family roots. With the support of her family she is able to defeat the fear of what explanation to give her sisters of her mother’s death. Roots also symbolize the growth of something even bigger. Jing-Mei is growing as a woman and now understanding what her mother always told her. “‘someday you will see, ‘said my mother, ‘It is in your blood, waiting to be let go.’ ” (120) Green is the color of nature; it symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness and fertility. Jing-Mei is in acceptance with herself and is in full harmony with the new beginning she is about to live.
In most occasions the surroundings the author presents in their novel reflects what they are feeling emotionally. Bright colors can symbolize many things such as happiness. Dark colors can symbolize sadness or perhaps a hard time the characters are going through. Setting can impact what the end of a story is going to be.