What is the mood of the short story "Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan?

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In Amy Tan's "Rules of the Game," the mood is preeminently one of tension. This tension is caused not by suspense or secrecy but by the conflict (generally unspoken) between Waverly and her mother. In a story of a few pages, the words "my mother" are repeated 35 times, reporting something her mother said or did and generally in opposition to the authorial "I." The writer's voice is literate, eloquent, fully assimilated, while her mother speaks in staccato Pidgin English versions of Chinese proverbs.

The mother in the story is powerful and domineering, forever telling her daughter what to do. She often fails to understand the "rules of the game," as she does when Waverly has to tell her that the object of chess is to checkmate one's opponent, not to take as many pieces as possible. Though Waverly is right here, her mother triumphs when Waverly wins the next tournament while losing fewer pieces. Even when Waverly wins the game, she cannot win against her mother, hence the atmosphere of...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 646 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 5, 2019
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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 5, 2019