In "The Rules of the Game," how are Waverly and her mother different and how are they alike?

Waverly and her mother are both strong, dominant, stubborn, and determined to win at all costs. However, Waverly, in addition to all the cultural differences one would expect from being brought up in America, has a subtler and more strategic mind than her mother.

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Waverly begins the story with something her mother taught her, “the art of invisible strength,” which she has remembered and used ever since. One reason for the frequent clashes between Waverly and her mother is the similarity of their personalities. They are both strong and dominant, with a ruthless, competitive streak which makes them desperate to win any conflict at all costs. This makes them a formidable team when they are on the same side, as they are when it comes to furthering Waverly’s chess career, but renders the conflicts between them even more bitter.

Several of the differences between Waverly and her mother are relatively superficial distinctions between a girl brought up in America and a woman raised in a traditional Chinese society. These distinctions are common to all the girls and mothers in The Joy Luck Club and, indeed, to Tan and her own mother (she presents their relationship in her essay, “Mother Tongue ”). However, one important and profound difference...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 28, 2020