Document Type

Sophomore Award Winner

Award Date

Fall 2012

Course Name

Literary Explorations I


Dr. Leah Kind


The essence of the American Dream is that it promises those who embrace it a spirit of hope that they can become anything they wish, doctors, lawyers, mothers, volunteers, or even heroes. Just as these dreams are different, the way in which Americans embrace them is just diverse. When considering the conglomeration of identities in a society such as that of America, such differences can often be strange, unfamiliar, and even harsh from a new perspective. In her short story, “Rules of the Game,” Amy Tan, a writer of Asian descent herself, prompts her audience to ponder a new perspective, as she tells the tale of a Chinese mother and her daughter, as they grow in the world of American dreams. The main character, Waverly “Meimei” Place Jong, follows her passion towards becoming a chess grandmaster, but must also remember the cultural way of her family. Tan ends the story with fierce words from Waverly’s mother, following a rare public argument between mother and daughter, “We are not concerning this girl. This girl not have concerning for us” (Tan 8). Such a harsh verdict from Mrs. Jong, after all of the pride Waverly’s national chess championships have brought upon her family, causes the reader to wonder if the mother is acting in the best interest of her daughter, or herself. It is important to understand that the seemingly stern Mother is actually the greatest protector of her daughter’s interests. Mrs. Jong serves as a guide to a new American culture for her family, presents important wisdom, and maintains a beneficial environment for her daughter.



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