What are two examples of sensory imagery in the story "Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan?

There is a great deal of sensory imagery in "Rules of the Game." One passage describes a high school auditorium "that echoed with phlegmy coughs and the squeaky rubber knobs of chair legs sliding across freshly waxed wooden floors," using auditory imagery. A contrasting passage depicts the alley outside Waverly's apartment with visual imagery, including a depiction of "a printer who specialized in gold-embossed wedding invitations and festive red banners."

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Amy Tan's "Rules of the Game" is full of sensory imagery, with descriptions of the tastes, sounds, and smells of Waverly's childhood, in addition to any number of striking visual images. Taste and smell combine in the "fragrant red beans ... cooked down to a pasty sweetness," while the children use sound to choose the best gifts at the Christmas party, shaking the boxes to see if they can guess the contents from the noise.

When Waverly's picture is taken for a magazine story in which she will be hailed as a child prodigy, she is playing chess in an unfamiliar environment:

I was playing in a large high school auditorium that echoed with phlegmy coughs and the squeaky rubber knobs of chair legs sliding across freshly waxed wooden floors.

The auditory imagery adds to the strangeness of the setting, with two different types of unnatural sound. This is a sharp contrast to Waverly's home, the alley in which she lives, which is described with a wealth of detailed imagery, such as the visual vignette presented in this passage:

My brothers and I would peer into the medicinal herb shop, watching old Li dole out onto a stiff sheet of white paper the right amount of insect shells, saffron-colored seeds, and pungent leaves for his ailing customers. ... Next to the pharmacy was a printer who specialized in gold-embossed wedding invitations and festive red banners.

The colors here, from the white paper and saffron seeds of the herb shop to the red and gold of the printers next door, create the sense of a colorful, vibrant neighborhood, diametrically opposed to the clinical atmosphere of the high school auditorium where the chess tournament takes place.

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Here are some additional examples of sensory imagery in Amy Tan's "Rules of the Game:"

In the early morning, when the alley was still quiet, I could smell fragrant red beans as they were cooked down to a pasty sweetness. By daybreak, our flat was heavy with the odor of fried sesame balls and sweet curried chicken crescents.

Above, the narrator appeals to our senses of smell and taste, describing the "red beans" cooked to a "pasty sweetness" as well as the "heavy" scent of the "sesame balls" and "chicken crescents." Even if we haven't sampled these foods ourselves, we can imagine their scents and their tastes, thanks to the specific words Tan has chosen, like "sweetness," "heavy," "fried," and "curried." As a result, we feel as if we are right there in the story, as if the story is real.

Next, here's Tan appealing to our vision, showing us the colors and consistencies of a gift that Waverly is about to unwrap:

I chose a heavy, compact [gift] that was wrapped in shiny silver foil and a red satin ribbon.

These details build our anticipation as we wait for Waverly to open the gift. Again, the effect of the sensory imagery is a sense of immersion: a feeling that the story is actually happening in front of our eyes.

So far, we've seen sensory details that appeal to our senses of smell, taste, and vision. Let's find some auditory imagery as well: the kind of sensory detail that appeals to our sense of hearing.

Narrating the story, Waverly describes listening to her father get ready for work, hearing how he "locked the door behind him, one-two-three clicks." These sounds echo in our own ears, as they're easy to imagine.

And, as we keep reading, Waverly describes the playground, "where old-country people sat cracking roasted watermelon seeds with their golden teeth and scattering the husks to an impatient gathering of gurgling pigeons." Did you catch that? She said the old-country people were "cracking" seeds and "scattering" them, and that the pigeons were "gurgling." These words help us "hear" the action of the story, bringing us into it, making it more real than if Tan had simply said that the men were "throwing seeds to loud pigeons."

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Sensory imagery is the use of the appeal to the senses by the author.  The author can describe sights, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes.  Amy Tan is an expert at using sensory description to create a more detailed world.  Here is an example from when Waverly’s mother tries to teach her to keep her thoughts to herself. 

"Bite back your tongue," scolded my mother when I cried loudly, yanking her hand toward the store that sold bags of salted plums. At home, she said, "Wise guy, he not go against wind. In Chinese we say, Come from South, blow with wind-poom!-North will follow. Strongest wind cannot be seen." 

The images of “salted plums” and wind create a picture in the reader’s mind to reinforce the idea.  Waverly’s mother is trying to teach her to keep quiet, and when she does she rewarded her with the treat.  The reader can almost taste the plums. 

The images of Chinatown also create a setting that serves as a vivid backdrop for the story.  The Ping Yuen Fish Market has “a tank crowded with doomed fish” and” turtles struggling to gain footing on the slimy green-tiled sides.”  Hand-written signs inform tourists that everything is for food and no animals will be sold as pets. 

Inside, the butchers with their bloodstained white smocks deftly gutted the fish while customers cried out their orders and shouted, "Give me your freshest," to which the butchers always protested, "All are freshest." On less crowded market days, we would inspect the crates of live frogs and crabs which we were warned not to poke … 

The sensory images of the markets, the fish, the tourists, and the shops help the reader picture the backdrop to the story and the cultural setting.  The same is true when the author describes Waverly’s opponents, or her outfits, in detail.  Sensory details help the reader imagine the story.

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