Imagine if the next chess Grandmaster was a 9-year-old girl… unbelievable. Yet in the story “Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan, protagonist Waverly is not just a young chess child prodigy, as she is also humble and zealous in her character; however, between these two characteristics, I feel like I share only a zealous characteristic with Waverly.
If you look carefully into the text, Waverly constantly shows humble and zealous characteristics throughout the story. When she was walking with her mother in the market, her mother would say, “’This is my daughter Wave-ly Jong’… to whoever looked her way” (Tan 9) that Waverly was her daughter, which to Waverly’s replied, “’I wish you wouldn’t do that’” (9). Waverly’s humility or humbleness is shown by telling her mother, who is bragging to people that Waverly’s a chess champion, that she doesn’t want people to know that she is the national chess champion. Back track to the rising action, when Waverly started to learn the rules of chess, when “[Waverly] read the rules and looked up all the big words in a dictionary. [Waverly] borrowed books from the Chinatown library. [Waverly] studied each chess piece, trying to absorb the power each contained” (5). In the text, Waverly’s dedication to learning chess makes her spend hours just examining and learning. If she doesn’t understand a word in the rulebook, she would then take the time to go through a dictionary, further highlighting how she takes learning chess seriously. When Waverly’s chess skills win her to championships, she still “[went] directly home to learn new chess secrets, cleverly concealed advantages, more escape routes” (8), showing that she humbly knew that she had more to learn, and that she was determined to learn more every day.
Although Waverly is a 9-year-old chess champion living in America, I feel like I am similar to Waverly because I think of myself as a somewhat zealous person. In the story, Waverly takes interest in chess and soon she starts to look more into it. She heads to the library, reads the rule book over and over again, and not to mention staring at the wall for hours imagining imaginary chess battles. This reminds me of me because when I REALLY take interest in something, or I REALLY need to finish something, I would cut chunks of time and effort for just that something. Take for example a 6th grade history project on a civilization: homework, swimming, hobbies would move down a notch on the to-do list as I would spend hours just mindlessly “improving” my project.
In sum it all up, 9-year-old chess champion Waverly Jong has a lot of characteristics to her character; the most prominent of them being humble and zealous, which are uncommon to a young charismatic girl like her. Do you have a character you relate to?
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/33124677@N00/12789618913″>Chess</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>