Asian American Studies
Your paper should: (1) apply the theoretical and empirical material presented in class to illustrate themes and events presented in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, (2) critically analyze the materials presented in class and (3) draw upon your own personal experiences and reflections as they relate to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and class materials.
The essay should reference at least two of the articles covered in the lectures and relate these key theoretical constructs to themes and vignettes that emerged in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The best essays will triangulate an analysis of the class materials, with your own personal experiences, and the events chronicled in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
The essay should be double-spaced with 1 inch margins on all four sides and no more than 5 pages. This guide should be used to help you formulate and organize your ideas and help you think about how to integrate the lectures, readings, and your own personal experiences. You may use these themes and questions as a starting point, or you may explore any other theme or question of your choice.
1. Does Amy Chua present an accurate picture of Chinese parenting or she is a particularly controlling and driven individual?
Sophia says that her mother has said the following to her during piano practice: “Oh my God, you’re just getting worse and worse. ” “I’m going to count to three, then I want musicality.” “If the next time’s not PERFECT, I’m going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!”. But Chua demands as much sacrifice of herself as she does of her daughters, does this reveal the depth of her love for her children or something else? How does Chua’s description of “Chinese parenting” relate to types of East Asian parental control described in the research literature? What does the research state about the outcomes of different types of parenting across cultures? In your opinion is Tiger mothering- with its strict demands for high achievement- superior to that of Western parents?
2) What values are emphasized across generations within Asian American families?
Chia worries about raising spoiled, entitled children. “Not on my watch!”. She believes that kids with a sense of responsibility, who know when to experience gratitude and humility, will grow up to be less selfish, better-adjusted, and happier adults. What are the supposed contrasts between different generations of Asian American parents in their child socialization practices or goals? What does the research suggest about intergenerational differences in values and family relations? How is Lulu and Sophia’s childhood different from their mother’s, as Chua describes them? Is there evidence of the Generational Decline that Chua fears? What similarities and differences do you see in your own childhood and family history?
3) Chua’s daughters achieve musical success early in their lives – does this validate Chua’s philosophy and child-rearing strategies?
Music is central in the education of Lulu and Sophia, academically and morally. How does their musical training reflect Chua’s theory of intelligence? What does the research suggest about cultural differences in views on motivation and construals of the self? What are the costs and benefits of child-rearing that promotes these views according to Chua and according to the research literature. To what extent did these views and strategies pattern your family experiences? Would these child-rearing strategies work in a non-Asian family setting?
4) Is success worth the time and effort it takes to maintain such discipline?
What are the costs, if any, of Tiger mothering? Chia believes that high expectations and a good dose of criticism cultivate hard work and ultimately a sense of mastery and self-competence. She argues that praise and allowing children to do what feels good reflects a fragile self-esteem. Yet, Chua’s daughters(particularly, Lulu) express unhappiness under the demands of their schedule and expectations. Is this unhappiness likely to be momentary in the larger scheme of life? In the end, is the payoff- a lifetime of accomplishment- worth the cost? What does the research suggest about the relationship between achievement and emotional outcomes among Asian American youth? DO you wish you’d had a mother like Chua? DO you think Chua’s daughters will raise their children with the same trick standards their mother applied to them?