What is the tone of "The Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan?

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Amy Tan's short story "The Rules of the Game" concerns the struggle between a Chinese mother and her daughter, Waverly. The family lives above a bakery in San Francisco's Chinatown. This setting serves to contrast Chinese tradition against the backdrop of American life. From the very beginning, Waverly finds herself battling her mother in a clash of wills as Waverly strives to establish her own identity.

The tone of this story is combatant, as mother and daughter are pitted against each other from the start. Waverly is only six when her mother teaches her "the art of invisible strength." This art teaches one how to win arguments and gain respect from others. It is this art that helps Waverly become a chess champion. Invisible strength requires Waverly to "[b]ite back [her] tongue", which she does more than once to her advantage. She...

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