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Rules of the Game

Author biography, historical background, and literary analysis of "Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan

Katrina Marks

on 10 January 2014

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Transcript of Rules of the Game

Rules of the Game
Author Biography:
Amy Tan
Born on February 19, 1952
Her father and older brother died from tumors in 1996, so she moved to Switzerland with her mother and younger brother.
Tan grew up with a strict mother who gave many warnings about daily life.
Her mother was exacting and criticized her every action; she often felt as if she could never meet her expectations.
Historical / Cultural Context
The Immigration and Nationality Act (McCarren-Walter Act) limited entrance to the United States and prevented the immigration of people seen as diseased, radical, or Communist.
Post WWII Chinese
began to unite with America against the Japanese and were allowed to wear the same uniform as white men in the army and work the same jobs.
December 17, 1943:
President Roosevelt repeals the Chinese Exclusion Act, which made blatant discrimination against the Chinese people legal.

Genre / Literary Movement
Post-Modernism (1965 - today)
Written in 1981
Text to Text and Text to World/Society Connections
The Karate Kid
Post WWII and feelings towards Chinese
Amy Tan's life
Other stories by Amy Tan relating to Chinese mothers and their daughters (
The Joy Luck Club)
By Amy Tan

Alyssa Nikoley and
Katrina Marks

Early 1960s San
Francisco Chinatown
“Dark alley”

1. What historical event influenced Amy Tan’s writing of “Rules of the Game”?

2.Where does the story take place and what significance does the location have?

3. How is Waverly first introduced to chess?

4. How did Tan’s relationship with her mother influence the story?

5. What is the central theme of “Rules of the Game”?

1. “Rules of the Game” (title) is what type of literary device?
A. Simile
B. Metaphor
C. Personification
D. Onomatopoeia

2. __________ is Waverly’s brother; the character who receives the chess board as a Christmas present.
A. Winston
B. Lau Po
C. Bobby
D. Vincent

3. Where did Waverly consider to be the “best playground”?
A. the dark alley
B. the Chinese bakery
C. Ping Yuen Fish Market
D. First Chinese Baptist Church

4. What two colors are most represented in the story, and what do they represent? (technically, there is no wrong answer, but the most correct one would be b, along with what they believe the colors to symbolize.)
A. gold and red
B. black and white
C. purple and blue
D. gray and yellow

5. Literally, what character is symbolized as the “Strongest wind that cannot be seen”?
B. Winston
C. Waverly’s mother
D. the sanddab

Central Ideas / Topics
Relationships between Chinese women and their daughters
Living up to personal and parental expectations
Gender roles and prejudices towards women
Black and White
Title Meaning
What are the rules?
What is the game?
San Francisco's Chinatown
The Dark Alley
1. “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.”

2. “Don’t know why, you find out for yourself. But they knowing all the time. Better you take it, find out why yourself.”

3. “A little knowledge withheld is a great advantage one should store for future use. That is the power of chess. It is a game of secrets in which one must show and never tell.”

Important / Key Quotes

Amy Tan. (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 12:30, Dec 10,
2013, from http://www.biography.com/people/amy-tan-9542574.

Starkweather, S. (n.d.). Us immigration legislation online. Retrieved from

Tan, A. (1985). Rules of the game. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/

The story of chinatown. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/kqed/

Full transcript