THEME The moral dilemma of sacrificing one for the benefit of the many
PLOT OVERVIEW American’s and Kelly’s family were prisoners in Asia Pi Ying agrees to let them go if Kelly wins at chess, using human chess pieces Kelly begins to sacrifice his troops Pi Ying gets killed by his concubine Barzov takes over the game and begins playing against Kelly Kelly makes the ultimate sacrifice (son) and wins the game Barzov lets them go, but warns of other people willing to play with human lives
QUOTES “Now he recognized the eerie calm – an old wartime friend – that left only the cold machinery of his wits and senses alive. It was the narcotic of generalship. It was the essence of war” (95). “There will be others like Pi Ying eager to play you with live men, and I hope I will again be privileged to be an observer” (110).
CHARACTERIZATION Kelly – he has the capability to remove his emotions from the situation; willing to sacrifice one for the greater good; desensitized from war; experience in war has changed him, puts family in danger, but ultimately saves them Barzov – mediator, but at the same time controlling to Pi Ying; better sense of morality; plays by rules and doesn’t want to be sacrificing lives but still wants to be involved in the battle
IMAGERY Chess Representative of war, strategy and sacrifices Shows disadvantage of some people because they have to sacrifice their own friends as opposed to being removed from war and being able to simply regard them as “wooden players”
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Symbols Wooden pieces Concubine – betrayal and emotional attachment Son – sacrifices made during war Balcony – removed from war, higher position and advantage Metaphor Mathematical terminology (p. 102) “if x is dead, the rest shall live” Shows strategy and ability to understand the situation completely