What is the suspense in the story "Rules of the Game"?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would argue that the chief way in which suspense is raised and maintained in this excellent tale stems from the conflict between Waverly and her mother that dominates the plot. As Waverly struggles to form her own identity and be her own person rather than being the daughter that her mother wants her to be, this, again and again, brings her into conflict with her mother. As this rising action continues, the climax of the story occurs when Waverly has a dream when she faces her mother in a mystical chess match. Note what happens to Waverly's men:

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. As her men drew closer to my edge, I felt myself growing light.

We can see that suspense is raised gradually throughout the tale through the conflict between Waverly and her mother, however it is when Waverly challenges her mother and accuses her of using her to show off that the suspense reaches its height, which leads to the climax of the mystical chess match between Waverly and her mother, and Waverly's defeat.

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Rules of the Game

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