The title “Dead Men’s Path” is significant because it foreshadows what happens to Michael Obi. The title is not only about the path that the ancestors used but the path Michael stumbled across. The title foreshadows that the decisions Michael made would impact his future in a negative way. He decided that he would not listen to what the priest or the people in the community had to say and would do what he thought was best. He in turn decided to remodel the school and tear down the path where the towns people believed their ancestors used to cross over. By tearing down the path it resulted in him losing his position as headmaster. The story also has irony in it, for example by Michael trying to remodel the school and beautify it he ultimately ended up wrecking it. Also when he began his job as the headmaster he did not like the elderly and saw no point in them unless they worked in a store. Little did Michael know that the elderly townsfolk were much of the reason he lost his job as the headmaster. Their emphasis on tradition and superstitions lead them to want to tear down the work Michael did. It was also ironic that the supervisor visited the school the day of the wreckage and not when it was intact and lively.
Amy Tan is known for using regionalism in her writing by having most of her work take place in China. She describes it with such detail and emotion that it is easy to picture. In the short story ” A Pair of Tickets” Amy Tan uses setting to help develop the story. The main character Jing-mei travels to china with her father to meet her half sisters as she struggles with the fact that she does not think she is Chinese enough. She feels as if she does not fit in with her surroundings in many ways but at times feels like she is at home. For example when she is entering Shenzhen she says ” I can feel the skin on my forehead tingling, my blood rushing through a new course… I am becoming Chinese.” She feels like she is transforming into a new person and beginning to accept that she has Chinese blood in her, and as she sees the different sights of Hong Kong through her window she feels like she belongs. She sees crowds of people wearing clothes of colors that are not usually paired together. It reminds her of her mother and how she would wear pink and yellow in the winter time and finally understands why she would pair those colors together. Although Jing-mei felt like she belonged at times she also felt like she did not. After she exited the train she thought that “Even without makeup, [she] could never pass for full Chinese”. She thought this because she does not look like most Chinese women because she is so tall and feels very Americanized. She feels Americanized because she does not know how to speak the language and does not think like the native people. She has to communicate through gestures and broken phrases because she can not put a full sentence together. For example when she first met great-aunt’s granddaughter she had to communicate through gestures in order for her to understand what she was saying. Also when she was at Hong Kong she wore “..mascara [that] had melted into dark circles and everything else had felt like layers of grease”. She did not take into consideration the differences between the United States and China and did what she was comfortable with. She quickly found out that she had to adjust to the different surroundings and do things more practically. She also felt like her great-aunt would judge her because she was staying at a fancy hotel. She did not feel comfortable staying there because it did not feel like her image of a Chinese hotel. It was too luxurious and felt out of place compared to the rest of China. In the end Jing-mei discovers what about her is Chinese, her family.