Rules of the Game- by Amy Tan
Background information on San Fancisco's Chinatown where the story takes place.
San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia. Since its establishment in the 1840s it has been highly important and influential in the history and culture of ethnic Chinese immigrants to the United States and North America. Chinatown is an active enclave that continues to retain its own customs, languages, places of worship, social clubs, and identity. Popularly known as a "city-within-a-city", it has developed its own government, traditions, over 300 restaurants, and as many shops. There are two hospitals, numerous parks and squares, a post office, and other infrastructure. Visitors can easily become immersed in a microcosmic Asian world, filled with herbal shops, temples, pagoda roofs and dragon parades. In addition to it being a starting point and home for thousands of Chinese immigrants, it is also a major tourist attraction — drawing more visitors annually to the neighborhood than the Golden Gate Bridge.
Main Characters: Waverly Jong- Meimei, (her Chinese name "little sister") Lau- Po- the chess teacher, Waverly's mother- Lindo. Minor characters: Waverly's brothers Vincent and Winston Waverly's father
The time: The story takes place during Waverly Jong- Meimei's childhood and adolescence. She is to be born on March 17, 1951 from this text, “I said I was born on March 17, 1951” (Tan 1112). In addition, in the story she says that she is eight years old. Therefore, when one looks at the clues and sees that she is eight and that she was born in 1951, the time would be around 1958. In the late 1950’s Chinese-Americans had a harsh life in America due to Chinese immigration laws. This has a very hard impact on the way the story is told due to the time and the tone and atmosphere around back in those times. “Rules of the Game”- Summary of the story
Amy Tan writes American literature with a Chinese-American view with her short story titled “Rules of the Game”, where she shows multiple themes like; chess is a game of life, mothers versus daughters, cultural gap, and the generation gap. The Characters
The writer Amy Tan uses similar experiences to give the characters life and a sense of real Chinese-American life and the clash between cultures. The Chinese have a life thought of honor and luck and the American's is cockiness and self-confidence. The protagonist- Waverly, is a seven-year-old, Chinese-American stuck in between the two cultures clashing. Being a round character, Waverly shows joy and aggravation. In showing joy, she is encouraged to go to chess tournaments and thinks to herself, “I desperately wanted to but I bit my tongue back”. Wanting to join in the tournaments, she tells her mother she does not want to make her do the opposite. Waverly gets very aggravated at her mother. Waverly says to her mother, “Why do you have to use me to show off? If you want to show off, then learn to chess”. Waverly has had enough of her mother gloating and telling everyone how great Waverly is at chess. Since Waverly has multiple, emotions she is a round character and well developed. Waverly as a static character is the same in the beginning as in the end. Her mother, in a pushy manor towards Waverly says, “Every time people come out from foreign country must know the rules.” In a sense also threatens her by saying, “You not know, judge say, too bad, go back”. Meaning that she could be sent back to China if she did not follow the rules. At the end of the story, her mother says to the rest of the family, “We not concerning this girl. This girl not concerning us”. That tells the reader that the family should have nothing to do with her and she is back to being the least liked in the family being a girl and last born in a Chinese family. These give the story the cultural influence of how Chinese parents teach and raise...
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