Rules of the Game Questions and Answers
by Amy Tan

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The story "Rules of the Game" is about more than the rules of a chess game. It is about the rules of life. What rules of life does Waverly learn in the story? 

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Inuk Lee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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The short story, “The Rules of the Game,” is more than a story about chess. Right from the beginning, this point is clearly communicated when Waverly says that her mother taught her the art of invisible strength. She then employs this art in chess, and she begins to win. She says,

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.

As the story progresses, there are two main conflicts. First, there is the conflict between mother and daughter. Waverly is growing up. Second, there is also the conflict between cultures. I would say that the second conflict is the greater one because this cultural conflict exacerbates the conflict between her and her mother.

Waverly is a Chinese immigrant who is navigating her life in America. Her mother represents China and the “old world” with its values. This is in contrast to Waverly’s life in America....

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