Rules of The Game': Exploring Life's Challenges

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 471 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 471|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Imagery and Symbolism in 'Rules of the Game'
  2. 'Rules of the Game': Emotional Conflict
  3. Works Cited

Chess is boring, right? Most students my age wouldn't think it could be used in making life decisions, but not for main character Waverly in the Amy Tan short story, “Rules Of The Game”. In this story, the author uses the imagery and symbolism of a simple, meaningless chess game to compare life’s challenges as a young girl.

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Imagery and Symbolism in 'Rules of the Game'

The author uses imagery as she paints us a picture of how the characters act and the daily life in San Francisco, specifically Chinatown, a city that is very busy and very loud and in every corner there is a restaurant or seafood. Waverly describes the fish Market to show how her culture commonly buys their food crying out their orders “Give me your freshest,” and then the butchers kill and gut the fish immediately. (pg1-Amy Tan) The reader can vividly imagine as Amy illustrates her community through the description of the playground as a play area “bordered by wood-slat benches where old country people sat cracking roasted watermelon seeds with their golden teeth” (pg1). Amy provides us with more imagery as she reveals her mom’s anger when “[Her] eyes tured into dangerous black slits. She had no words for me, just sharp silence.” This description is too familiar as a teenager who receives these types of looks often from my parents.

'Rules of the Game': Emotional Conflict

In other parts of the short story it unfolds like how chess is the primary base of symbolization how the author Amy Tan has exposed tales of emotional conflict between Chinese-American mothers and daughters separated by generational and cultural differences that is why the author reveals how the mother/daughter are the missing pieces because there missing bond “missing a black pawn and a white knight”(Amy Tan Pg3). Together with her distinctive writing style which Tan's treatment of such themes as loss and reconciliation, hope and failure, friendship and familial conflict, and the healing power of storytelling have brought her popular success and critical attention.Chess was a way that the Author Amy Tan symbolized how she uses Waverly life as a representation which gains a lot, but chess takes a lot from her as checking her out of the rest of her life yet, loses everything else in her childhood, to the point where she doesn't really have any childhood left.

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Even more importantly, though chess works as a giant symbolization representing for Waverly and her Mom. I feel like this short story grasped the reader's attention more than what the title says. I would have never thought from reading the title would have a meaningful story on how we have to be careful on how we choose our next step because one wrong move and you're checkmate.  

Works Cited

  1. Tan, Amy. 'Rules Of The Game.' The Joy Luck Club. Vintage Books, 1989, pp. 1-3.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Rules of the Game’: Exploring Life’s Challenges. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“Rules of the Game’: Exploring Life’s Challenges.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023,
Rules of the Game’: Exploring Life’s Challenges. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
Rules of the Game’: Exploring Life’s Challenges [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 04 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
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