The crammed mysteries of Waverly’s daily life soon became an adventure through the knowledge of chess, “[withholding the] great [advantages] one should store for future use” (Tan 5). In the short story “Rules of the Game”, Amy Tan created Waverly as a diligent, dynamic protagonist with countless characteristics I was able to relate to and made her mother the antagonist where future conflicts began to rise.
Waverly has many different characteristics which make her stand out. Waverly lives in San Francisco’s Chinatown where her passion for chess began. Waverly listens to her mother but occasionally, she would get into trouble: “‘Bite back your tongue,’ scolded my mother when [Waverly cries] loudly” (1). Her mother would constantly say this because she wants perfection and wants her daughter to be like her. This was also a way for Waverly’s mother to keep Waverly obedient. If Waverly talks back to her mother, she would be scolded; as time passed, Waverly started to understand and kept her mouth shut by keeping her thoughts to herself. With “two tightly wound pigtails” (2) on the side of Waverly’s head, she would seem as if she’s obedient and quiet. However, this goes against to who she actually is. At times Waverly would “[trick others, running] off with [her] friends, shrieking with laughter as [they scamper] across the alley, [her heart pounding with the hope that [they] would chase them]” (2). Waverly is adventurous and seeks action whenever her mother isn’t watching; always wanting thrills in her life. However, because her mother believes in the Chinese way to do things, their lifestyle and attitudes towards events start a conflict between them. Later in the story, Waverly ameliorates in the game of chess. Once Waverly began to win competitions, her mother drives for perfection and fame by limiting Waverly’s choices. After hearing her mother constantly bragging about her achievements, Waverly finally stood up for herself, accusing her mother saying, “‘Why do you have to use me to show off? If you want to show off, then why don’t you learn to play chess?’” (9). This was the first time Waverly stood up to herself, finally letting go of her tongue and speaking from what she believes in. After hearing this, her mother was speechless, never even thinking that her daughter would talk back. In this story, Waverly’s mother uses others to make herself look good, thinking that no one will say anything. After this incident, Waverly’s and her mother’s relationship began to shift as a conflict between them was created.
Waverly has uncountable characteristics including ones I can relate to. I enjoy traveling and adventuring around places I’ve never been to. I always want to find exciting activities to do. When I went to Hawaii, my brother and I went kayaking in the ocean and got a chance to hold a snake at a zoo we went to. In the story, every day, Waverly would walk around the alleys around her neighborhood, seeking adventure and thrills in her life. Discovering new knowledge is another characteristic we share. Whenever something is unclear, I would search for ways to understand it, this applies to science class. When Waverly doesn’t understand the game of chess, she was determined to find out the answer to all of her questions; going to the library searching for books, studying each chess piece, memorizing all the steps and tactics leading to success. Through constant studying, Waverly started to understand in the game of chess “[She] should never reveal ‘why’ to others. A little knowledge withheld is a great advantage one should store for future use” (5).
Through constant studying, Waverly started to understand in the game of chess “[She] should never reveal ‘why’ to others. A little knowledge withheld is a great advantage one should store for future use” (5).