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Compare and Contrast Essay: “Rule of the Game” and “Paul’s Case”

‘Rule of the Game’ by Amy Tan is a story about a young Chinese American woman who is a chess champion. Waverly Jong tells the story about her chess prowess and how playing this game complicated her relationship with her mother. Willa Cather’s Paul’s Case is about Paul, a high school student who is not happy about his life because he comes from a middle-class family. Paul’s frustrations lead him to push himself towards having a luxurious lifestyle. As a result, Paul separates himself from the world, and he develops feelings of isolation. Authors use different points of view to tell stories. This essay aims to compare and contrast the point of view in the two stories.

Tan uses the first-person point of view in the story; Waverly Jong is the story’s narrator and the protagonist. The author uses this point of view to bring the readers closer to the characters. In this story, the point of view ensures that the reader sympathizes with Waverly’s pains. Waverly tells a childhood story, and this makes the story interesting. Tan gives the readers a chance to learn about the mother and the daughter simultaneously. The first person point of view ensures that the reader is immersed in the story as they continue reading, which is the strength of this point of view. Telling the story from a different point of view would change it significantly. For example, the story shows Waverly’s self-control; therefore, using a different point of view would not bring the concept of self-control. Also, since the reader sees the story through Waverly’s perspective, one understands how she judges other characters and what she thinks about them. The reader gets into Waverly’s shoes and understands how she feels about playing chess. Since the story is told in first-person perspective, the reader gets to know why Waverly is not happy with her mother to the point of telling her hurtful words. 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?”(Tan, 58).

In “Paul’s Case,” Cather uses a different perspective than Tan’s in “Rules of the Game .”Cather uses the third point of view to tell the story. Paul’s teachers are the ones that tell his story and give a description of him. “His clothes were “outgrown” and “frayed and warn,” and he had “cramped shoulders and a narrowed chest” paired with abnormally large pupils” (Cather, 234). The third-person narration is confined in Paul’s mind, aiming to show what goes on in the mind of an unhappy person. The third-person point of view fails to tell the reader many things about Paul. For example, the narrator does not tell the reader about Paul’s after-hour activities. The narrator also fails to talk about the experience of Paul in his nights in New York. The third point of view is omitted most information about the protagonist because the narrator does not seem to have vast knowledge about the character. However, the first point of view provides the reader with extensive information. Since the narrator is the main character in ‘Rules of the Game,’ she talks about her childhood and explains the experiences with the reader. Therefore, the reader collects more information about Waverly because she tells her story.

Authors make use of different points of view in stories because they impact the reader. The first-person point of view brings the reader closer to the characters. The reader can share the feelings and emotions of the character. The third-person point of view, on the other hand, gives a reader the viewpoint of another person about the characters. The third point of view leaves out information about the characters. However, from the first-person point of view, the narrator, the main character, shares information about themselves.

Work Cited

Cather, Willa. Paul’s Case.1905.

Tan, Amy. Rule of the Game. 1995.


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