What does the title "Rules of the Game" mean?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question.  The title, "Rules of the Game," can be taken in a few different ways. 

First, on one level it deals with the game of chess. Waverly had to learn the rules of the game in order to play.  She learned the rules from her brothers. Then she learned more from Lau Po, who was a more advanced player.  After she learned these rules, she excelled. 

Second, the title can also refer to Waverly's relationship with her mother.  Waverly is growing older, and she wants more independence.  Her mother does not want this. So, conflict ensues.  Within this context, Waverly is learning how far she can push her mother and her mother is also probably feeling things out. 

Third, the idea of rules also applies to the immigrant experience. Mrs. Jong make this point very clear.  She, along with her children, need to learn the rules of American society well enough to survive and thrive.

"This American rules," she concluded at last. "Every time people come out from foreign country, must know rules. You not know, judge say, Too bad, go back. They not telling you why so you can use their way go forward.


Finally, the idea of rules applies to the art of invisible strength, which is defined as a way of winning an argument and respect.  In other words, you have to learn well to have power in society and get ahead.  

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Rules of the Game

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