“Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan The physical and social settings of “Rules of the Game” create an atmosphere which helps to bring out the true essence of the story
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“Rules of the Game” written by Amy Tan is a short story that focuses on the conflict in identity that Chinese Americans face when growing up with influences from both the cultures. The physical and social settings of “Rules of the Game” create an atmosphere which helps to bring out the true essence of the story. Amy Tan’s “The Rules of the Game” becomes more than a young girl’s success at playing chess when juxtaposed against the humility of immigrant life in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Cultural tradition, physical surroundings and the game of chess are all elements of the physical and social setting which contribute to the meaning of the story. The story takes place in Chinatown, San Francisco. This is where the main character, Waverly Place Jong, lives with her family. The physical setting reflects the coexistence of the American and the Chinese cultures. The immigrant setting exposes the cultural clash between the Chinese American girl and her traditional mother. The description of the two-bedroom apartment above a Chinese bakery where Waverly lives with her family serves to define the humble circumstances of her childhood. “Rules of the Game” depicts the period of 1950's. Waverly states that “I was seven according to the American formula and eight by the Chinese calendar. I said I was born on March 17, 1951” (1425). This furnishes a better understanding of the prevailing circumstances in which the story takes place. In the late 1950’s Chinese – Americans had a harsh life in America due to Chinese immigration laws (Schauer,...