Relationships between a parent and their child

Categories: Parenting

Although both short stories "Powder" by Tobias Wolff, and "Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan depict the complexity and depth of relationships between a parent and their child, Wolff's and Tan's evocative styles of displaying the main character differently through their speech, action, and thoughts establish a human and realistic connection with the reader and the character.

The relationships between a parent and their child can be succinctly described as complex. Despite the unbreakable bond between them, adolescence and growing up can become the basis for an ever-lasting distance from the other.

This very realistic, yet painful battle can be greatly expressed through both "Powder" and "Rules of the Game." To be specific, "Powder" explores this complex relationship by depicting how one reckless father and his meticulous son's own personality, or rather is his adapted nature is breached when his father's character is finally understood and perceived on a ski trip. The focus on the father's reckless actions are imperative in understanding why the son feels so far apart from his father, but in reality, they become even more alike as the plot develops.

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Wolff utilizes a controlling, young and conventional boy to contrast to his strong and apparently fearless dad. the child "was a boy who kept his clothes on numbered hangers to insure proper rotation. [He] bothered [his] teachers for homework assignments far ahead of their due dates so [he] could draw up schedules" (Wolff). his father also snuck his child into a bar to see thelonious monk without his mother's knowledge or consent.

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the narrator talks about one explicit occasion with much detail to demonstrate how the occasion has completely changed his outlook. his parents would inevitably separate regardless of how hard his dad worked to protect him. this influenced the child which most likely appeared through his rather meticulous and controlling any case he admired his dad as a model of getting a charge out of life without limitations. his dad was defiant from multiple points of view for example taking a minor to a bar or entering an illegal zone guarded by officers amid a snowstorm. be that as it may his dad was a decent model of assurance towards his child. despite the fact that he entered a police-blocked way he cautioned his child not to pursue his actions. the only reason he did that was to keep the guarantee he made to his mother. this gave the narrator another point of view or perspective on the way he lived. he finally relaxed and let go of his uptight personality and of the need to constantly be in control by trusting his dad while he was driving. he closes with a statement to demonstrate this new point of view, "Except maybe to say this: if you haven't driven on fresh powder, you haven't driven" (Wolff).

Moreover, in "Rules of the Game," the author describes the parallels between the game of chess that the main character Waverly, plays, and the one she plays with her mother. As Waverley learns more and more about chess, she begins to realize that her very relationship with her mother is almost the doppelganger of it; a game with unknown and powerful rules and uncertainty. Tan's descriptive words conceive chess as this all-powerful, yet mysterious force that powers Waverley's decisions and gives her enough conviction to win all her matches, as well as fight alongside her mother in their metaphorical battle. Waverly's mother competitive roots shine through Waverly's personality, as depicted through this excerpt, "carefully drew a handmade chessboard and pinned it to the wall next to my bed, where I would stare for hours at imaginary battles" (Wolff.) Instead of spending her adolescence with other friends and playmates, her mother's comments on her achievements and how she could improve forces her to lock herself from the rest of the world and practice for her games for hours on end. Furthermore, Waverly and her mother's relationship is symbolized through 2 excerpts in the text, the first one when Waverly was beginning her journey in learning the rules of chess:"I went to school, then directly home to learn new chess secrets, cleverly concealed advantages, more escape routes," (Wolff) and then later in the text when Waverly ran away from her mother after the big fight in the middle of the street: "The alleys contained no escape routes" (Wolff.) The two characters are always in an ongoing war between each other; mind games and secret messages encoded in words they say, and the constant fight in trying to figure out how to come out of it. These two excerpts help the reader comprehend that chess emanates very much of Waverly's life in the real world. When Waverly has the fight with her mother, instead of knowing the exact route to win the game like in her chess matches, Waverly finds that she is cautious of what will happen next and is uncertain of what to do.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Relationships between a parent and their child. (2019, Nov 27). Retrieved from

Relationships between a parent and their child essay
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