In "Rules of the Game ," wind symbolically represents inner strength, strategy, and intellect, all of which allow Waverly to overcome various obstacles in life and defeat her opponents in chess. At the beginning of the story, Waverly's mother teaches her the art of invisible strength. The art of...
In "Rules of the Game," wind symbolically represents inner strength, strategy, and intellect, all of which allow Waverly to overcome various obstacles in life and defeat her opponents in chess. At the beginning of the story, Waverly's mother teaches her the art of invisible strength. The art of invisible strength is a way to strategically win arguments, subtly impose one's will onto others, and take advantage of certain situations by means of manipulation. As a Chinese immigrant, Waverly's mother encourages her daughter to bite her tongue and silently maneuver through situations to gain an advantage or attain something desired. Waverly's mother says,
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.
Waverly follows her mother's advice and is rewarded with a bag of salted plums for keeping her mouth shut in the store and exercising self-discipline. Waverly eventually becomes attracted to the game of chess and spends nearly every waking hour analyzing the game and sharpening her skillset. During her chess matches, she uses the art of invisible strength to manipulate her opponents and influence them to make costly mistakes. Tan associates inner strength with powerful winds that cannot be seen and personifies the wind by writing,
A light wind began blowing past my ears. It whispered secrets only I could hear.
"Blow from the South," it murmured. "The wind leaves no trail." I saw a clear path, the traps to avoid. The crowd rustled. "Shhh! Shhh!" said the corners of the room. The wind blew stronger. "Throw sand from the East to distract him." The knight came forward ready for the sacrifice. The wind hissed, louder and louder. "Blow, blow, blow. He cannot see. He is blind now. Make him lean away from the wind so he is easier to knock down."
"Check," I said, as the wind roared with laughter. The wind died down to little puffs, my own breath.
The wind symbolically represents Waverly's confidence, intellect, and inner strength. It is the positive, encouraging voice in her head that guides her to make the right decisions. In the story, Waverly masters the art of invisible strength and takes advantage of her opponents by subtly manipulating their actions.