By Amy Tan, @ 10 pages (1989).
Rules of the Game is a story about how a young Chinese girl living in San Francisco’s Chinatown discovers something she can take pride in and how to temper that pride.
This story is a breeze to read. It flows and carries you along with it. Its theme and promise are contained in the first sentence: “I was six when my mother taught me the art of invisible strength.”
All of a sudden, I want to learn more. What is invisible strength? What is its art? The mother must be very wise. We know that this is a story about a mother-daughter relationship. What a great first line.
Later, we see the protagonist, the daughter, learning how to get what she wants, tapping into invisible strength:
A man who watched me play in the park suggested that my mother allow me to play in local chess tournaments. My mother smiled graciously, an answer that meant nothing. I desperately wanted to go, but I bit back my tongue. I knew she would not let me play among strangers. So as we walked home I said in a small voice that I didn’t want to play in the local tournament. They would have American rules. If I lost, I would bring shame on my family.
‘Is shame you fall down nobody push you,’ said my mother.
During my first tournament…”
I love Amy Tan. Must read more! 🙂