Waverly Jong- Rules of the Game

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  • Created by: Lina
  • Created on: 13-04-14 20:14

In this chapter, continuing with the theme about mother and daughter relationships, Amy Tan tells a story about a conflict between Lindo Jong and her daughter, which results in misunderstandings and a power struggle. Waverly, the narrator of this chapter, explains that when she was six years old, her mother taught her "the art of invisible strength", a strategy for winning arguments and learning to assert yourself. On the surface, the name of the chapter applies to the rules of chess, which Waverly masters with astonishing skill. She seems to understand the rules of chess and knows how the game is played. From another perspective, the title of the chapter ,"Rules of the Game", alludes to the "game" of life, as if you know the rules, you get what you want. Unlike the clear-cut rules of chess, the rules of the game of life are ever-changing and are brutally difficult to learn. According to Mrs. Jong, "the art of invisible strength" is one of these fundamental lessons that a child has to learn to prepare for future life.

Like the girl in the parable of "The Twent-Six Malignant Gates", Waverly attempts to defy her mother for showing off her daughter to everyone. Mrs. Jong sees joy in Waverly's accomplishments which is evident in her pride. Behind Waverly's accomplishments, she sees Waverly as her legacy to the world and feels responsible for her daughter's success. However, Waverly thinks that she has accomplished everything on her own. She does not understand her mother's point of view and her vainglorious nature, and feels invaded when Lindo hovers over her during her practice sessions, as though her mother is somehow taking credit for what Waverly sees as her personal strength. Amy Tan creates irony in this passage: Waverly's success with chess owes in part to her ability to gain strength through the strategically timed concealment and disclosure of secrets, but when she lashes out at her mother, she breaks her own rules. She puts herself "in check" by…


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