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What is the theme of the story "Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan?

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beeabeea | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 28, 2007 at 10:07 AM via web

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What is the theme of the story "Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 8, 2012 at 4:19 AM (Answer #1)

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“Rules of the Game” is from The Joy Luck Club.  The story recounts Waverly’s time as a chess prodigy.  As a small child, Waverly had a predilection for chess.  However, after her mother and family focused too heavily on winning, she begins to feel embarrassed by being singled out.  She gets into an argument with her mother that results in her inability to play chess.

Chess is often described as a metaphor for life.  One theme of “Rules of the Game” is that no person should be defined by one single thing.  Another theme is that when parents try to live vicariously through their children, it is usually disastrous for both parent and child.



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janeyb | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:56 PM (Answer #1)

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There are many themes within "rules of the game" by Amy Tan. The one that interests me the most, however, is that of the relationship between mother and daughter. Waverly and her mother have a good relationship towards the beginning of the novel, however as Waverly gets more Americanized, the their relationship seems to fade. Waverly is moving on, whereas her mother wants to stay in the Chinese traditions. That is the theme that intrigues me the most, however others in the novel include but aren't limited to, being a CHinese American, poverty, and chess.


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