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Rules of the Game

by Amy Tan

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What event signals the rising action in "Rules of the Game"?

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The rising action of the story begins when Waverley learns to play chess and then becomes a chess champion. The tension rises as her mother increasingly takes ownership of Waverley's success, understanding Waverley's accomplishment as a point of pride for the family as a whole, not Waverley's individual achievement. When the mother, Lindo, and Waverley shop every weekend, Waverley gets increasingly upset and embarrassed at the way her mother brags about her accomplishments in all the shops they enter.

Finally, Waverley confronts her mother and asks her to stop embarrassing her by constantly talking about her chess talents. Her mother gets very angry and accuses Waverley of being embarrassed by her. Her mother then freezes her out to retaliate and won't accept her daughter's explanations. All of this leads to the story's climax.

At the climax, Waverley is in her room and imagines a chess game in which her mother is beating her, her black men pushing Waverley's white men off the board until Waverley is rising in the air, flying out the window and all alone. Waverley realizes she has lost this fight with her mother, who is more of a challenge than any real chess opponent, and, as the story ends, Waverley thinks about her next move.

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