At the conclusion of "Rules of the Game," Meimei pondered her next move. What might she be thinking? 

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In contemplating her "next move," Waverly is considering how she should act in order to be a part of her family but also assert her individuality.

Throughout the story, Waverly learns that being silent conjures a kind of power. This silence is more in tune with Chinese culture than with American culture, the latter of which encourages individuals to assert and vocally express themselves. Lindo, Waverly's mother, encourages this idea of silence at the beginning of the story: 

"Bite back your tongue," scolded my mother when I cried loudly, yanking her hand toward the store that sold bags of salted plums. 

The next week I bit back my tongue as we entered the store with the forbidden candies. When my mother finished her shopping, she quietly plucked a small bag of plums from the rack and put it on the counter with the rest of the items. 

Waverly learns to use her mother's traditional notions of behavior to be silent, not to be too vocal. And, behaving according to her mother's wishes, Waverly gets the plums. 

Waverly learns that to please her mother, she must be more passive and humble, and that all her achievements are familial achievements. But Waverly also embraces her American cultural side which champions individuality. Therefore, underscoring the relationship between Lindo and Waverly, is the balance of silence and vocalization, as well as the balance of loyalty and commitment to family with individual freedom.

At the end of the story, Waverly is pondering her next move in balancing her commitment to family with her need for individuality. This includes when to be silent (her mother's instruction) and when to speak out (her individuality). This balance illustrates her mother's understanding of traditional Chinese culture of humility versus Waverly's individuality, more illustrative of American individualism. Therefore, it is a cultural conflict as well as a mother/daughter conflict. Waverly ponders her next move: she is considering how to be silent and vocal, how to be Chinese and American, and how to be loyal to her mother but also an individual. 

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Rules of the Game

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