Examine how Waverly's family life changes as a result of her success in playing chess.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On one level, Waverly's family life is transformed by chess because of her success at it.  Waverly takes to it with much more fervor than her brothers.  At first "annoyed" by her constant questions, the boys end up moving onto another "diversion" when it becomes evident that Waverly has a gift with the game.  Additionally, Waverly's relationship and status in the family changes as she becomes more successful.  She ends up having a room on her own and granted small privileges such as leaving the dinner table early primarily because of her success in the game.  Her elevated status within the family is the result of her emergence in chess.

The most profound transformation in her family life has to exist in the relationship with her mother.  When Waverly starts to become a chess master, the "rules" dictate that she accept being the source of her mother's pride.  In this, Waverly breaks the rules by asserting her own freedom, and not respecting her "role" as child to her mother.  It is here where Waverly and her mother become disengaged, causing Waverly to realize that the strings of guilt were pulled by her mother.  In the process, the imaginary chessboard in which her mother's pieces are slaughtering her own reflect the seismic transformation in her relationship with her family and her mother.  The source of her greatness that the girl thought to be her own was actually not, one of the few rules Waverly did not understand.  It is here in which one sees the greatest of transformations in Waverly's family life.