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Rules of the Game Essay

Rules of the Game Essay

The scratchy collar symbolizes the entrapment of Waverly by her mother. Waverly’s hobby of chess is important to her and her mother “[has] a habit of standing over [her] while [she] [plots] out [her] games. ” (p. 98) This habit of Waverly’s mother is a symbol of how she controls Waverly. As her mother stands over Waverly, it displays her as a dominant figure and shows that Waverly should be submissive and obedient towards her. Waverly’s mother expects her to listen to everything she says and not have any opinion towards anything.

However, Waverly’s attitude towards her mother is shown to be negative and instead disagrees with her mother as she “can’t practice” properly. (p. 98) The victory of winning tournaments is not triumphant for her, but for her mother “who [wears] the triumphant grin. ” (p. 97) The game of chess for Waverly is something she enjoys, but as she begins to gain fame for her talent, Waverly feels as if she is playing for her mother and to only win.

Because of her mother’s entrapment, Waverly is unable to be free and break away from her mother’s grasp.

The “window [encasing] a fresh sheet cake,” (p. 97) is internally framing Waverly’s new life. Before, Waverly is unaware of a game called chess and she is unknown and unpopular to those around her, but as she begins to play, her mother realizes that Waverly has talent and continues to make her play chess. The “dust-covered cakes” (p. 97) are exchanged for “fresh sheet [cakes]” (p. 97) when Waverly begins to win more and more tournaments.

The “dust covered cakes” (p.97) represent Waverly’s life before she begins to play chess and after she begins to play, more people begin to notice her as a “fresh sheet cake. ” Additionally, because Waverly is bringing fame to her family, her mother is proud and feels that Waverly has brought honor to the family. Because her mother wants to keep this honor, her mother forces chess upon Waverly, not as a hobby, but a job that she must do. Also, the transition of the two cakes shows that Waverly is starting a new life as a chess player and is drifting away from her old self.

The relationship between Waverly and her mother is like a game of chess. In the game of chess, there are usually black and white pieces, this is parallel to their relationship. Waverly and her mother are always in some sort of disagreement as “her black men” (p. 101) and “[Waverly’s] white pieces” (p. 101) are always versing each other. The term “men” contrasts with the term “pieces” because it shows itself to be more powerful, just like Waverly’s mother and is more influencing and strong. It signifies the power

that Waverly’s mother has and how she uses it to make Waverly obey her. Also, the color black is used to represent power as well. It is often associated with the enemy/villain and in Waverly’s relationship with her mother, her mother displays herself as the enemy. This is because she forces her own beliefs and values upon Waverly. When Waverly does not agree with her mother and tries to speak up about it, her “mother’s eyes [turn] into dangerous black slits,” (p. 99) which indicates that she does not want to listen to anything Waverly has to say.

However, in Waverly’s situation, her “white pieces” present her to be the opposite of her mother. The color white symbolizes innocence and purity which is found in Waverly’s personality and the “pieces” are found to be weaker than the “men” as Waverly finds it difficult to overcome her mother’s dominance and power. This leads to Waverly feeling overwhelmed and unable to venture out and away from her mother. Although Waverly and her mother have their share of quarrels, they find a way to balance each other out even if they are opposites of one another.