In "Rules of the Game", how does Waverly's skills at chess affect her standing in her family and community?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is clear that as Waverly goes from success to success in her chess-playing career, her standing goes up in both her family and in the wider community of Chinatown. Consider what is said about the changes in domestic arrangements:

My parents made many concessions to allow me to practice. One time I complained that the bedroom I shared was so noisy that I couldn't think. Thereafter, my brothers slept in a bed in the living room facing the street.

The narrator likewise narrates how she was let off chores because of her chess success.

In Chinatown, it is clear the the mother loves to exploit the success of her daughter:

I had to accompany my mother on Saturday market days when I had no tournament to play. My mother would proudly walk with me, visiting many shops, buying very little. "This is my daughter Wave-ly Jong," she said to whoever looked her way.

The success that Waverly earns through her own efforts is appropriated by her mother and family, which is of course one of the many conflicts in this short story - and leads to the climax and resolution as Waverly flees and has her symbolic game of chess against her mother in her dream at the end of the story. Just one of many misunderstandings between culture and generation that drive this tale.

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Rules of the Game

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