Reading Fables and Short Stories Fables, parables and short stories all tell a story and all try to relay a meaningful message or moral. Fables tend to be shorter, use animals and clearly state the moral the author is trying to portray. Parables also tell a story and portray a message, but it basically illustrates a moral or religious lesson. Therefore, I guess it is safe to say that all parables can be fables but not all fables can be a parable. Short stories however tend to be a lot longer than a fable or parable and also use a lot of literary elements.
These elements are plot, settings, point of view, characters, dialogue and others. In this essay, I will be talking about Aesop’s fable, “The Fox and the Grapes” and Amy Tan’s short story, “A Pair of Tickets. ” I will try to explain the morals for each story and how the author portrays these morals. Aesop’s fable, “The Fox and the Grapes,” is a very short fable with a really big moral. It is simply a story about a famished fox trying to find food. He finally stumbles upon ripe grapes. However, instead of complaining that they are out of his reach, he concludes that they were inadequate and not good for eating.
The reason this fable catches my attention is because I am amazed on how Aesop can put such an important moral in the fable by using a fox and grapes. Also, the fable is so short but also has such a big meaning. I believe there are many morals in the stories, such as, you can’t always get what you want. However, the main moral of this story, which is very clearly stated, is, “it is easy to despise what you can’t get” (Aesop 7). Since this fable is so short and has such a powerful moral, it is very easy to remember, making it very easy to retell. This fable also has such a hysterical plot twist and this is what makes it a great fable.
The fox is supposedly so hungry but when he can’t reach the grapes, he all of a sudden is not hungry anymore and does not find the grapes appealing. This is why I think ‘plot twist’ is the most important part of a fable because it is when the moral is given to us. The short story, “A Pair of Tickets” by Amy Tan is about an American woman of Chinese descent who is struggling to accept her Chinese heritage. Jing-mei is the protagonist in this story and she is traveling to China with her father to meet her family and to understand her Chinese culture. The element that is most intriguing to me in this story is symbolism.
I realize this when Jing-mei is on a train in China to go visit her family and it is so hot that the makeup on her face begins to literally melt off her face. “But I had not expected the heat in October. And now my hair hangs limp with humidity. I wear no makeup; in Hong Kong my mascara had melted into dark circles and everything else had felt like layers of grease. So today my face is plain, unadorned except for a thin mist of shiny sweat on my forehead and nose” (Tan 148). I believe the melting of the makeup symbolizes her acceptance of her Chinese heritage and is becoming a whole new person.
It also symbolizes that she is growing up and finally realizing how important your heritage is to you and how it shapes the person you are. While Jing-mei is on this trip, I think she begins to realize that her family is more like her than she thought. When she meets her father’s family, her cousin Lili, she says, “I hold up the Polaroid camera, beckoning Lili with my finger. She immediately jumps forward, places one hand on her hip in the manner of a fashion model… ” (Tan 150). I think this is when she first realizes that maybe she isn’t that much different than her family in China.
She probably thinks back at when she was younger and remembers that she had pose in the same manner her cousin Lili did. The other realization Jing-mei has that her family and China isn’t that much different than her and America is when she enters the hotel. “The hotel is magnificent. A bellboy complete with uniform and sharp-creased cap jumps forward begins to carry our bags into the lobby” (Tan 151). The hotels are as nice as she has most likely seen in America. She was most likely expecting a small hotel with nothing but a bed in the room. The hotel is also like a shopping mall with a bunch of shops in it.
I believe all these things make Jing-mei realize she isn’t that different then the family she never knew and how important family is. In conclusion, Aesop’s fable, “The Fox and the Grapes, as well as Amy Tans short story, “A Pair of Tickets,” have a moral. Obviously, it is easier to find the moral in the fable, which is, it is easy to criticize something you can’t have. Howev11er, I believe the moral in “A Pair of Tickets,” is never lose sight of where you came from, always remember that family comes first and that you’re background and where you come from helps build your character.
I don’t think it is wrong to reduce a short story to a simple ‘moral’ as one usually does in a fable or parable. I believe every writer writes his or her story to make a point or to teach a lesson. I think the writer is happy when the reader learns a lesson from his or hers stories. When writers use plot, setting, characters, or other literary elements, I believe they do this to paint a clearer picture for the reader so the reader can really understand the moral the author is trying to relay through the story.