In "Rules of the Game", what are three kinds of conflicts in the story?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A conflict is a struggle between opposing forces.  It can be external or internal.  An internal conflict is a struggle a character has with his or her self.  An external conflict is a struggle a character has with an outside force, such as another character, or with society.

An example of an external conflict in this story is the conflict between Waverly and her mother.  Waverly struggles against her mother’s expectations for her.  She wants to play chess because she enjoys it, and is good at it, but her mother always wants her to do better.

My mother placed my first trophy next to a new plastic chess set that the neighborhood Tao society had given to me. As she wiped each piece with a soft cloth, she said, "Next time win more, lose less."

The conflict between Waverly and her mother pushes her to improve, but it also makes her resent chess.  Because of this, she loses something she enjoys.  The fight with her mother causes her to give up chess.

Internal conflicts in the story usually involve Waverly’s reaction to her mother’s overbearing nature. 

But I found it difficult to concentrate at home. My mother had a habit of standing over me while I plotted out my games. I think she thought of herself as my protective ally.  

An internal conflict is when the character struggles against him or herself, often as a result of an external conflict with another character.  It could be because the character has a decision to make.  In this case, Waverly has to decide how to react to her mother.  She finally decides to stand up for herself.

Another conflict is going on here, and it is a character vs. society conflict many immigrants face.  Waverly’s mother is not fighting her daughter, not really.  She is fighting the system.  She feels that her daughter will be more successful if she is strong.

I was six when my mother taught me the art of invisible strength. It was a strategy for winning arguments, respect from others, and eventually, though neither of us knew it at the time, chess games.

Waverly's mother is trying to get her to understand that she needs to be strong and fight for herself.  She hopes that if she learns this she will be successful in life, because being an immigrant is hard, but America is the land of opportunity.

Although this is a story about conflict, especially conflict between mother and daughter and between daughter and self, it is really about the American dream.  Waverly has high hopes for the future, but so does her mother.  Unfortunately, they do not really agree.

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