December 10 2012
The Asian Stereotype
It has always been a stereotype that children who are raised by Chinese mothers are known to be academically successful and much more superior to others. Amy Chua reveals in her article, “Why Chinese Mother’s Are Superior” that she has experienced going through growing up under a Chinese mother and that she too raises her children how a Chinese mother would. Amy Chua criticizes other parents using different techniques to sway her readers, leaving her readers in a state of surprise.
Chua begins the article by informing the readers with statistics so that she will be credible enough to gain the readers’ approval on Chinese parenting. Chua appointed rules to show that she would do anything to make her kids successful. Chua backs up her arguments with the study that “70% Western American mothers believe ‘stressing academic success is not good for children’ and that ‘0% Chinese mothers feel the same way as the American mothers’” (Chua 2). Her claims are backed up by statistics so that she can get more supporters to stress academic success. Chua implies that “other studies indicate that compared to Western parents, Chinese parents spend approximately 10 times as long every day drilling academic activities with their children” (Chua 2). She uses this information to make her audience support having academics taught outside of school as well instead of letting their children take part in other nonacademic activities. The studies are used for her to build credibility for Chinese parenting so that she is in a position where her claims will influence her audience.
The emotions of the readers’ are influenced by many of Chua’s different examples displaying Chinese Parenting. Chua alludes to a time “when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me "garbage" in our native Hokkien dialect” (Chua 2). Her being called garbage was to tell her she was disrespectful and that she needed to change her behavior. Personally, the allusion to her father calling her garbage made me feel sorry for her, until she did the same to her daughter and told her guests it is normal to do so. Chua also states that it is fine to tell her daughter “hey fatty – lose some weight” (Chua 2). Chua’s strategy here was to lure in the readers to make them feel sorry for her, then angering them the next moment. Later in the article, Chua threatened to donate her daughter’s dollhouse if she did not play the piano like she commanded. These actions had an effect on me, and allowed me to realize how Chinese parenting would justify obedience and discipline. She influences the audience into thinking that parents should rule out emotions and be strict by providing later in the article that her daughter has progressed in her piano skills after the incident. Her actions show that she could control her audience’s emotions through the different events she provided.
Chua employs logical comparison through her demonstrating that she cares about her child’s success. Compared to that of a Western parent, she exaggerates that correct parenting should be perfect. For example, Chua implies that “Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn't get them, the Chinese parent assumes it's because the child didn't work hard enough: (Chua 2). Chua as well as other Chinese parents I know demand that their children get straight A’s; otherwise they have failed their parents. Chua also affirms that “their kids owe them everything” (Chua 3). Because parents have sacrificed a lot for their children, she is basically promoting the lifelong debt that children have to repay their parents for. The audience is made to believe that their children should work harder to become successful because their parents made sacrifices to live good lives. In my opinion, I would agree because my parents put an immense amount of money into having my siblings and I go to college. It would be a waste and a disappointment if parents put money into their children’s education and they fail. Chua practically points out that parents do everything for their children in order to gain the approval of her audience to support that they should do everything for their parents as well.
Chua’s style consists of multiple examples, such as dialogue and language, to provide the readers with results they would not expect. As previously mentioned, Chua motivates her daughter with threats to force her to focus and improve her piano skills. As a reader of this essay, I thought that her daughter would give up. Chua later provides details about her daughter improving. Chua surprised me because I did not think it would work successfully since I went through a similar experience where I was forced to play the piano but I could not improve if I were threatened by my parents. As Chua sways her readers, they are forced to succumb to her claims which will give her the support she wants. At the end of the article, Chua restates that Chinese parents just care about their children and would make sacrifices for them (Chua 5). She does this so that the audience would change their outlook on Chinese parenting. Her language at the very end of the article is written so that Chinese parenting sounds better than how she wrote about it in the beginning of the article.
The author, Amy Chua, has written this essay to prove that Chinese parenting and Western parenting have their different points and cannot compare. The author wants the audience to realize that children can be raised differently but the most effective way is to be the strict, authoritative parent, where enforcing rules will lead to success. A deeper goal of the essay may be to convince parents to change their parenting methods, especially because throughout the text, she refers to times where she pushed her child and then lists reasons to make it sound positive. The author appeals to the audience in many different ways, displaying different kinds of Pathos, Ethos and Logos. With the different rhetorical devices used throughout the text, Amy Chua proves the importance of parenting and how Chinese parenting is the most effective and superior type of parenting compared to all others.
Chua, Amy. "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior." The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal, 02 2012. Web. 10 Dec 2012. .