Part I of “The Arrival” was saddening because the main character had to leave his wife and daughter behind. There are many objects of sentimental value being shown. The drawing the daughter made touched me especially. I remember how I used to draw a lot when I was little and my drawings are still on my refrigerator.
In Part II, clouds lurk in the distance to foreshadow the hardships that come with immigrating to a new country. Giant statues in boats seem to be welcoming the incoming immigrants. Once the boat docks, screening ensues. Everything seems frustrating and he seems to be incapable of processing most of the things they tell him. In the end, he leaves in a cubicle lifted by a giant balloon. I think this represents how the modes of transportation are unfamiliar and strange. There are signs everywhere but one cannot understand what they’re saying. This implies that he is lost and doesn’t understand the language. In order to find places, he needs to draw pictures of them in order to convey what he wants. Once sheltered, he is homesick and looks into his suitcase and imagines what his family would be doing at that moment.
In the middle of the story, I start wondering about what all the animals are supposed to represent. They look adorable and remind me of the origami he makes, but I don’t understand why everyone seems to have a pet. I’m not even sure how he got his. It just showed up. I also want to know what Tan was trying to say with the dragon hovering over the city and the men sucking people away.
In part V, the man sends a crane and money home. After a year, the man receives a letter from his wife and little girl. They tell him of their arrival to New York. He is overjoyed. In part VI, the family is together again. The man’s wife and daughter have apparently adapted to this new way of life. The man’s daughter helps another immigrant find her way and the cycle starts all over again. I think that’s a great way to end the story because people are always immigrating. In New York, there are always new people who need help with directions. It’s also a comforting ending because it’s saying that everything will work out in the end.