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."