Think about the author's use of structure in "Rules of the Game." How does the author order events? What plot techniques (flashback, flash forward, dream sequence) are used? Explain how the author's choices regarding structure create tension and/or add to the meaning. Provide at least two specific details from the text to support your analysis of structure.

"Rules of the Game" relies primarily on the use of the plot technique of flashback in order to highlight the conflict between Waverly and her mother.

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"Rules of the Game" is told through flashback, recalling young Waverly's experience in becoming a chess champion. The story relies on chronological order through flashback in order to highlight the conflict between Waverly and her mother.

In the exposition , this conflict is identified. Waverly's mother is characterized...

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"Rules of the Game" is told through flashback, recalling young Waverly's experience in becoming a chess champion. The story relies on chronological order through flashback in order to highlight the conflict between Waverly and her mother.

In the exposition, this conflict is identified. Waverly's mother is characterized as holding high expectations for her daughter, as she represents their Chinese culture:

"Ma, what is Chinese torture?" My mother shook her head. A bobby pin was wedged between her lips. She wetted her palm and smoothed the hair above my ear, then pushed the pin in so that it nicked sharply against my scalp.

"Who say this word?" she asked without a trace of knowing how wicked I was being. I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Some boy in my class said Chinese people do Chinese torture."

"Chinese many things," she said simply. "Chinese people do business, do medicine, do painting. Not lazy like American people. We do torture. Best torture."

The generating circumstance of their conflict is then presented. Waverly and her siblings are given a chess set for Christmas, and she researches the game of chess. Waverly turns out to be an incredible chess player, but her mother attributes her success to "luck." Even though Waverly becomes a national chess champion, her mother remains fairly dismissive of her skills.

The flashbacks continue as the climax is reached, a point when Waverly tells her mother to stop telling everyone that she's her daughter when they are in public. Her mother interprets this to mean that Waverly is ashamed of her, and a heated exchange leads to Waverly fleeing their home.

When she comes home, she finds that her mother has not saved her any dinner, which leads to this story's denouement. Waverly sits alone in her room, imagining her mother as her most fierce chess opponent. Symbolically, her mother controls the black chess pieces, and Waverly's white pieces are destroyed by them. This flashback ends as Waverly ponders her next strategical move with her mother; the conflict between the two remains unresolved.

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In “Rules of the Game,” an excerpt from her 1989 novel The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan examines an early part in the development of a Chinese-American girl named Waverly Jong and her relationship with her Chinese immigrant mother. Tan presents events in chronological order; nonetheless, she varies the pacing of the action in order to create tension and add meaning to the story.

"Rules of the Game" opens with exposition; six-year-old Waverly is on a typical shopping trip with her mother. Tan describes Waverly’s family, home, and surrounding environment. These rich and quickly-presented details are important for understanding Waverly’s relationship with her mother and her life as an American-born Chinese girl growing up in San Francisco Chinatown.

Tan then slows down the narrative to focus on the object that changed Waverly’s life: her brother’s chess set. The author describes exactly how the chess set came into Waverly’s life: it was a Christmas charity gift from their church. She illustrates the mother’s two-faced reactions to the charity gift and subsequent desire to throw it away as well as Waverly’s (and briefly her brothers’) attempt to understand this magical new game with “elaborate secrets waiting to be untangled.” Tan then narrows the narrative scope even further in order to highlight Waverly’s growing obsession with mastering the game. She compresses or quickly describes Waverly's actions so that by the end of the summer, the girl has devoured library books and absorbed strategies from an elderly chess player, who suggests she play in tournaments.

Waverly wishes to participate in chess tournaments but knows that asking her mother would not work; instead, she uses reverse psychology and tells her mother that she doesn’t want to play in a local tournament. Readers are in suspense to see what her mother will say, which is "Is shame you fall down nobody push you." Waverly’s trick worked, and the story immediately cuts to “During my first tournament, my mother sat with me in the front row."

After focusing in detail on Waverly’s victorious first tournament, Tan just mentions that the girl wins more tournaments and accumulates trophies. The story jumps to three years later, when nine-year-old Waverly is the national chess champion. Tan slows down the narrative again to demonstrate in detail how Waverly and her mother collaborate to manipulate chess opponents. In a match with a middle-aged American man, readers can almost see the players’ mannerisms and wonder how Waverly will fare in the match. She “would pause, suck in my lips, twirl my chosen piece in midair as if undecided, and then firmly plant it in its new threatening place, with a triumphant smile thrown back at my opponent for good measure." The actual playing of the game itself is slowed down for suspense, but then her victory is quick. The narrative pace speeds up again, and Tan describes how Waverly no longer visits the playground but practices and finagles special treatment at home in support of her status, even over her brothers.

In the most climactic part of the story—when on yet another shopping trip, Waverly confronts her mother for using her chess achievements to brag­—Tan slows down the pacing. Readers hear the dialogue between the two characters, see their facial expressions, and experience sights and sounds of the outdoor market. Tan describes Waverly’s return home after running away with sharply focused detail as readers enter Waverly’s house and imagination.

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