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The climax of this brilliant story that tells of the conflict between a Chinese immigrant to America and her daughter comes at the very end as, in a dream, Waverley faces her mother in a mystical and magical game of chess and loses. She has already challenged her mother about the pride she takes in her daughter's chess playing ability, and the result of this is that her mother ignores her. The conflict between them is made evident through this final chess game, which is when the conflict that has been brewing between Waverley and her mother is finally able to be unleashed. Consider how the game is described:
Her black men advanced across the plane, slowly marching to each successive level as a single unit. My white pieces screamed as they scurried and fell off the board one by one.
The defeat of Waverley by her mother in this fantastical game of chess is the climax because of the way in which the tensions between them are finally expressed and voiced in this game. Although Waverley loses, however, it is clear from the last sentence, "I closed my eyes and pondered my next move," that this is a battle that is far from over. Although Waverley may have lost this first battle for her independence, she will be back to fight another day.
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