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Rules of the Game

by Amy Tan
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What are examples of similes in "Rules of the Game"?

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A simile is a figure of speech which uses like or as to compare two things which are basically different. In "Rules of the Game," an excerpt from her novel The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan recounts the story of a young Chinese girl, daughter of immigrants, who becomes a chess prodigy. Throughout the narration she uses figures of speech such as metaphors, personification and similes. One example of a simile occurs when Waverly is explaining how she learned the strategies of chess after her brothers received a chess set for Christmas: "I learned about the middle game and why tactics between two adversaries are like clashing ideas; the one who plays better has the clearest plans for both attacking and getting out of traps." Here she compares the different ways of thinking which will occur between two opponents in a chess match. Another simile appears after Waverly has become embarrassed by her mother's behavior and has run away. Her anger and shame is at an intense level as she runs into a cold alley: "My breath came out like angry smoke." Often a person's breath can be seen in a cold environment and here the narrator links that smoke with the girl's anger.

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