‘The Rules Of The Game’ Research
Amy Tan opens her story “The Rules of the Game” with an “example of old world wisdom” (Biagiarelli 7-8): ” Wise guy, he not go against wind. In Chinese we say, Come from South, blow with wind-poom!-North will follow. Strongest wind cannot be seen ” preaches Waverly Jongs mother to her daughter (Tan, Amy. “Rules. . .” 262). This type of wisdom seems to be a motif in her story. In-fact, there are a number of motifs in this story, and one of them is the input of herself and her heritage. Amy Tan, who was born in Oakland, California in the early 1950s, was influenced by Chinese culture introduced to her through her immigrant mother (Biagiarelli 7). In Amy Tans short story, “Rules of the Games”, The authors introspective style comes across as the Chinese heritage that seems to recur and may be a reflection of her own past.
Speaking about her past, Amy Ruth Tan was born “. . .in the predominantly white neighbor-hood of Oakland, California. . .” on February 19th, 1952 (Adams 1). Her parents, John and Daisy Tan, were both immigrants from China. Daisy was married and had 3 children in China before she was forced to leave because of “the communists seizing control”(Biagiarelli 7) of her country. She left China and came to America where she met John Tan. John worked for the United States Information Service before immigrating to America. When Amy was only fourteen, she endured a horrible tragedy: her father and brother both died of brain tumors (Biagiarelli 7).
After this, Amy and her mother moved to Montreux, Switzerland where she graduated high school in 1969. Then, she attended Linfield College where she met her husband; Lou DeMattei. She attended four other colleges, and graduated with a B.A. in English and Linguistics from San Jose University. Because of her parents heritage, she inputs a lot of Chinese culture into her works, like “Rules of the Game” (Biagiarelli 7).
Amy tan is an author of several award-winning books and short stories, and some of her more well-know books include Joy Luck Club (which the short story “Rules of the Game” is apart of) and Opposite of Fate (Tan, Amy. “Just. . . ). Before becoming a fiction writer, Tan was a “language development consultant for developmentally disabled children and a freelance business writer for many communication and computer companies” (Biagiarelli 7).
The main character, or the person that is telling the story, is called Meimei; her real name is Waverly Jong. She is a young Chinese girl who lives in the chinatown of San Francisco with her family (like Amy Tan) and turns out to be very good at chess. Her mother, a Chinese immigrant, spoke broken English but was still able to serve as a mother figure for Meimei. She learns to play chess from her brother and some elderly chess players near a playground. She becomes very good and competes in many tournaments, but soon it grows out of hand. Her mother begins to brag and show off Meimei, and Meimei doesn’t like this. The story ends with Meimei contemplating her next move against her mother, and plots it out like a chess board. She thought she was trapped, so she jumps out her window (Tan, Amy. “Rules. . .” 262-272).
I think the authors theme is to use ones abilities with righteousness and responsibility. This theme is taken to an extreme in this story by the suicidal death of Meimei. It seems that Mrs. Jong (Mother of Meimei) has not showcased Meimei’s abilities with righteousness and responsibility, and in this case, there was an extreme consequence. Even though Tan’s way of getting her message across ended up in suicide, she made her point. Besides this, there is a big connection between the Tan’s life and this story. This story takes place in the same place and around the time of her childhood. Also, Meimei was around the same age of Tan at the time.
Amy Tan’s syntax in her short story “Rules of the Game” is not that complex, but some of her character’s syntax is interesting. She uses broken English to emphasize the Chinese culture and the specific area of San Francisco that this story takes place in. Take this quote, for example, that is said by Meimei’s mother in Tan’s story, “‘Every time people come out from foreign country, must know rules. You not know, judge say, Too bad, go back. They not telling you why so you can use their way go forward.’ (Tan, Amy. “Rules. . .” 266)”
Also, Tan’s diction is readable and not that complicated. The words are easy-to-understand and she seems to be able to get her point across quite easily. A good example is, “I found out about all the whys later. I read the rules and looked up all the big words in a dictionary. I borrowed books from the Chinatown library. I studied each chess piece, trying to absorb the power each contained” (Tan, Amy. “Rules. . .” 266).
Tan uses imagery to create a scene inside Meimei’s mind when she plays chess. Its kinda like another little universe being created inside her head. In a way, Tan makes the reader become part of Meimei’s head. One can feel the emotion pouring out of her and can peer inside her mind easily. She also uses imagery to describe the place where Meimei lives and her neighborhood. All of what Tan describes is easily visible (virtually).
The literary analysts and other criticism sources rate Tan highly. They seem to like her style and themes in her stories. One says that she “sees the writer as ‘storyteller, teacher, and enchanter.’ And she believes the reason we read and write is ‘to feel more deeply, to see more clearly, to know what questions to ask, and to formulate what we believe.’ (“Amy Tan ‘The. . .” 3)” He or she also says “even though the main characters in all three of her novels are Chinese or Chinese-American, she sees her writing as having larger concerns, ‘What my books are about is relationships and family. I’ve had women come up to me and say they’ve felt the same way about their mothers, and they weren’t immigrants’ “(“Amy Tan ‘The. . .” 3).
In conclusion, Amy Tan is a great writer who incorporated her own past, heritage, and life experiences into her stories. She has written many successful stories and books, most of which contains some sort of Chinese culture or milieu. Amy Tan, who was born in Oakland, California in the early 1950’s, was influenced by Chinese culture introduced to her through her immigrant mother. In Amy Tan’s short story, “Rules of the Games”, The author’s introspective styles comes across as the Chinese heritage that seems to recur and may be reflecting of her own past. This can all be summed up with one great quote said by Amy Tan herself, “In America nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you” (BrainyQuote 2).