What are three examples of personification in "The Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan?

Three examples of personification in "The Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan are "The chessboard seemed to hold elaborate secrets waiting to be untangled," "It whispered secrets only I could hear," and "'Check,' I said, as the wind roared with laughter."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

First things first: in order to answer this question, we need to define personification. In a nutshell, personification is giving human attributes to nonhuman entities. For example, if an author refers to "trees dancing in the breeze," we know that trees do not actually dance. However, their movement in the breeze is being described through personification.

One of my favorite examples of personification in "Rules of the Game" is when the protagonist is watching Vincent and Winston play a game of chess.

The chessboard seemed to hold elaborate secrets waiting to be untangled.

Of course, a chess board is an inanimate object that cannot hold secrets. However, the use of personification makes the chessboard immensely interesting. As it is now a holder of secrets, the reader naturally wants to read on to find out what happens.

A second example of personification can be found when the protagonist plays her first tournament. As she takes on her opponent, a light wind picks up.

It whispered secrets only I could hear.

It goes without saying that a breeze cannot actually whisper secrets. This figure of speech helps to create an exciting atmosphere and engage the reader in the story.

Shortly after the wind "whisper[s] secrets," there comes another example of personification involving the wind.

"Check," I said, as the wind roared with laughter.

Wind, of course, cannot roar with laughter, but this use of personification helps to increase the levels of excitement in the story as the protagonist moves towards victory, both in the game and in the tournament.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial