Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Amy Tan - "Rules of the Game"

The author focuses on the mother-daughter relationship in this story, revealing both the struggles for power between the two and the lessons taught from mother to daughter:
“I was six when my mother taught me the art of invisible strength.  It was a strategy for winning arguments, respect from others, and eventually, though neither of us knew it at the time, chess games.” (Tan 73)

“My mother imparted her daily truths so she could help my older brothers and me rise above our circumstances.” (74)

“They say, Don’t know why, you find out yourself. But they knowing all the time. Better you take it, find out why yourself.” (74)

“I discovered that for the whole game one must gather invisible strengths and see the endgame before the game begins.” (74)

It is here where the ultimate power struggle between mother and daughter happens – Wave-ly asks her mother not to parade her around because she is embarrassed and, in return, receives the wrath of her mother:
“I had to accompany my mother on Saturday market days when I had no tournament to play.  My mother would proudly walk with me, visiting many shops, buying very little. “This is my daughter Wave-ly Jong,” she said to whoever looked her way.” (77)

In my head, I saw a chessboard with sixty-four black and white squares. Opposite me was my opponent, two angry black slits. She wore a triumphant smile. “Strongest wind cannot be seen,” she said.” (77)

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