Rules of the Game Story

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Dalton Roderick

English 102

Dr. Gribben

17 November 2011

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AS A SOURCE OF CONFLICT BETWEEN MOTHER AND DAUGHTER

Introduction

1952 was the year Amy Tan was born in Oakland California. She was the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Her mother had borne three daughters from a previous marriage in china. This first marriage had ended in divorce due to her husbands continued abuse. Amy Tan’s brother and sister both succumbed to brain tumor. Later, she and her mother moved to Switzerland where she completed her high school education. Tan ignored her mother’s wishes to study medicine. Instead, she got a bachelor’s degree in English and linguistics on her return to the Sun Jose College. Tan later accompanied her mother to China where she met her three half-sisters. Amy’s life and the subsequent meeting with her half-sisters later served as the inspiration behind Amy writing the Joy Luck Club from which the story “Rules of the Game” originated (Angel 30-41).

Rules of the Game

The story centers on Waverly Jong a six year old American of Chinese descent. It narrates of how Waverly’s mother taught her the art of invincible strength which led to being a child chess prodigy. The story starts at the annual Christmas event when “Santa Claus” is handing out gifts to children. Waverly receives a multipack box of lifesavers while one of her brothers, Vincent, got a used chased set. Waverly, who is eager to play chess with her brothers, offers to use her lifesavers as the missing chess pieces when her bothers initially refuse to let her. They in the end agree. Waverly closely studies the chess instruction booklet and borrows a strategy guide from the library. After her brothers lose interest in chess, Waverly challenges Lau Po, an old man who plays chess in the park. Lau Po teaches Waverly more chess techniques and strategies. Later, she becomes a gigantic attraction to the public for being adept at chess and is near being a grandmaster. Her mother becomes immensely proud of her and exempts her from some of her chores. She enjoys showing off Waverly to other people, which embarrasses Waverly. Waverly becomes angry with this and speaks rudely to her mother. She then runs away. When she returns home, her mother tells her that the family does not want anything to do with her since she seems to think she is too smart for them. Waverly goes to her room where she lies on her bed. She sees her mother’s actions as a chess which is extremely difficult to counter. She imagines flying through the window to escape the reality. She closes her eyes and tries to think of her next move (Tan 89-110).

Waverly Jong and her Mother

Waverley’s mother comes across as a wise woman having learnt the art of invincible strength. She wants to teach her kids this virtue, which she thinks will serve the well in America. The story implies that when immigrating to America, she did not understand the rules that she was required to know. However, she decided to keep not asking, but learning their meaning of the rules on her own. This tries to give the same philosophy to her kids when she tells them to “Find out why yourself”. This shows that she is wise enough to know that independence is an ideal that may be hugely crucial in America.

Waverly’s mother is also highly proud of her daughter’s accomplishments. She likes showing off Waverly to people and may be the reason why she did not want to exempt Waverly from going to the market. She also displays Waverley’s trophy in the Chinese bakery downstairs and exempts her from doing her course in order to allow her to pursue chess. This trait lands her causes her conflict with Waverly, who misunderstands her mother’s motives. This may be because the cultural traits shows differ from Waverly’s because Waverly becomes Americanized.

Waverly’s mother seems to have a high sense of dignity. When given a second hand chase set, she tells her children to get rid of it....
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