1952 was the year Amy Tan was born in Oakland California. She was the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Her mother had borne three daughters from a previous marriage in china. This first marriage had ended in divorce due to her husbands continued abuse. Amy Tan’s brother and sister both succumbed to brain tumor. Later, she and her mother moved to Switzerland where she completed her high school education. Tan ignored her mother’s wishes to study medicine. Instead, she got a bachelor’s degree in English and linguistics on her return to the Sun Jose College.
Tan later accompanied her mother to China where she met her three half-sisters.
Amy’s life and the subsequent meeting with her half-sisters later served as the inspiration behind Amy writing the Joy Luck Club from which the story “Rules of the Game” originated (Angel 30-41). Rules of the Game The story centers on Waverly Jong a six year old American of Chinese descent. It narrates of how Waverly’s mother taught her the art of invincible strength which led to being a child chess prodigy.
The story starts at the annual Christmas event when “Santa Claus” is handing out gifts to children. Waverly receives a multipack box of lifesavers while one of her brothers, Vincent, got a used chased set.
Waverly, who is eager to play chess with her brothers, offers to use her lifesavers as the missing chess pieces when her bothers initially refuse to let her. They in the end agree. Waverly closely studies the chess instruction booklet and borrows a strategy guide from the library. After her brothers lose interest in chess, Waverly challenges Lau Po, an old man who plays chess in the park. Lau Po teaches Waverly more chess techniques and strategies. Later, she becomes a gigantic attraction to the public for being adept at chess and is near being a grandmaster.
Her mother becomes immensely proud of her and exempts her from some of her chores. She enjoys showing off Waverly to other people, which embarrasses Waverly. Waverly becomes angry with this and speaks rudely to her mother. She then runs away. When she returns home, her mother tells her that the family does not want anything to do with her since she seems to think she is too smart for them. Waverly goes to her room where she lies on her bed. She sees her mother’s actions as a chess which is extremely difficult to counter. She imagines flying through the window to escape the reality.
She closes her eyes and tries to think of her next move (Tan 89-110). Waverly Jong and her Mother Waverley’s mother comes across as a wise woman having learnt the art of invincible strength. She wants to teach her kids this virtue, which she thinks will serve the well in America. The story implies that when immigrating to America, she did not understand the rules that she was required to know. However, she decided to keep not asking, but learning their meaning of the rules on her own. This tries to give the same philosophy to her kids when she tells them to “Find out why yourself”.
This shows that she is wise enough to know that independence is an ideal that may be hugely crucial in America. Waverly’s mother is also highly proud of her daughter’s accomplishments. She likes showing off Waverly to people and may be the reason why she did not want to exempt Waverly from going to the market. She also displays Waverley’s trophy in the Chinese bakery downstairs and exempts her from doing her course in order to allow her to pursue chess. This trait lands her causes her conflict with Waverly, who misunderstands her mother’s motives.
This may be because the cultural traits shows differ from Waverly’s because Waverly becomes Americanized. Waverly’s mother seems to have a high sense of dignity. When given a second hand chase set, she tells her children to get rid of it. She also observes decorum when her children receive the set at the Christmas party. Instead of showing her displeasure she gratefully gives her. She also gives her children no reason to think that they are poor. This may be the reason she wants her kids to learn to depend on themselves instead of asking for help.
Waverly Jong comes out as a highly intelligent child. When Vincent gets a chess set, she becomes more skilled at the game than her brothers, even though they were older. Her brothers may have gotten tired of being beaten by her. This might be the reason that the lost interest in chess. She subsequently plays with Mr. Lau and shows admirable intellect to grasp all that he teaches her. Her intelligence is further exhibited when she competes at the regional and national level and becomes the champion. She is only 429 points away from becoming the grandmaster.
From the story, it might be concluded that Waverly is more progressive than her mother. She dares to question her mother even when she knows that there might be dire consequences. Waverly has embraced American culture to the extent where it causes clash with her mother who still believes in doing things the Chinese way. Her progressive nature is shown when at first she admits that she has never been to the playground. She admits preferring to play in the alley in China town. This may be because, in the alley, there are Chinese friends and surrounding which Waverly is familiar with.
However, she later decides to go to the playground where she encounters Mr. Lau. Waverly later travels far away from home. The travelling has the effect of Americanizing her further which allows her to abandon some aspects of her culture. She lost the etiquette that Mr. Lau had taught her. This may be seen when she defeated the man with the “sweaty brow”. She pretended to be undecided and twirled her piece in mid-air then put into place with a triumphant smile. Differences between Chinese and American culture The story appears to explore differences between Chinese and American culture.
The story is set in China town where most of the people are of Chinese descent. This may be interpreted to mean that the Chinese immigrants and their relations have segregated themselves together in order to feel more at home. Chinese culture seems to be more pronounced in China town than the rest of the country. The children chose to play in the dark alley where the surroundings were familiar instead of playing in the playground. Waverly also says that the food they ate contained ingredients that she could not explain but which are Chinese.
Some of the residents s of China town are themselves unwilling to make efforts to transition into the new culture of the country they live. Hong Sing’s café, which contains only four tables, prints menus in Chinese and serves only Chinese delicacies (Bloom 123-139). Cultural conflicts arising The differences between Chinese and American culture bring about the primary source of conflict in the story. Conflict starts when Waverly’s mother tells her children to throw away the chess set. This was because the set was second hand and it may be assume that it was culturally offending to her, when her children played with used things.
A clash of culture occurs when Vincent, and to a large extent, the children refuse to do as she had said. She might represent the idea that children from the current generation are trying to shed some aspects of the Chinese culture that their parents are stubbornly defending. Waverly also abandoned the etiquette she was taught by Mr. Lau when playing chess. Some aspects of Chinese culture appear to be abandoned by Waverly’s mother, so as to please Waverly. When she complains that noise prevents her from concentrating, her brothers are moved to sleep in the sitting area.
Her being excused from finishing her meal originates from her complaining that a full stomach prevents her from focusing. Waverly also in contradiction with Chinese culture embarrasses her mother at the market and runs off (Parajj 12-24). Overcoming the cultural challenges The story gives a feeling of some of the characters trying to fit into the culture of the society they live. The naming of the main character after the street they live in may be seen as an act of trying to bridge the cultural divide. Waverly’s mother also allows Waverley to compete and travel far away from China town.
This allows her to come into contact with American culture. The story emphasizes that Waverly may already have been accepted as American by the rest of society. She is regarded across the nation as “The Great American Hope. ” The incredible similarities brought out in the story between the characters of Waverly and her mother also shows that the culture differences, though they persist, can be overcome (Dong 19-29). Conclusion The overriding theme of the story may be the enormous influence that cultural difference plays towards the conflict between mother and daughter.
Waverly was the undisputed champion, but her mother played a move, which she could not counter (Adams 35-72). This story brings to the forefront the fact that the daughter in conflict with the mother recognizes that she inherits part of herself from her mother. The story also highlights the importance of seeing the world through the ones mothers eyes despite the challenges of wanting to be independent. The power of humility that mothers possess and their strength in character are also seen (Bloom 51-52).
Cite this Rules of the Game Story
Rules of the Game Story. (2016, Oct 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/rules-of-the-game-story/