Saturday, May 4, 2013

Literature Review #4

"America's Top Parent: What's Behind the "Tiger Mother" Craze?" - Elizabeth Kolbert

Kolbert, Elizabeth. "The New Yorker." America's Top Parent: What's Behind the "Tiger Mother" Craze? 31 January 2011: 1-3.

This article, from The New Yorker, talks about a recent book written by Amy Chua, pictured above, and how she is a "tiger mom". She feels that in order to give her daughter, also pictured above, the best opportunities in college and future careers, she needs to be ruthless in their academic, social, and cultural activities now. They have strict rules that may seem absurd such as no sleepovers, no playmates, no grade lower than an A on report cards, no choosing your own extracurricular activities, and no ranking lower than No. 1 in any subject, except for gym and drama. She argues that the steps that she has taken to groom her children is what will help them succeed academically and in their future careers. 

What makes this mother knowledgable about the topic the fact that it is a true story about her life. Also, the accomplishments that her children have made show that there may be something behind her parenting style. For example, her one daughter has performed at Carnegie Hall. This shows that the hard work, dedication, and constant pushing is making a stage for a profitable and prosperous future for her children. 

The two key terms that she used largely throughout this piece was the idea between "Chinese mothers" and "Western mothers". As quoted in this article, "In Chua's binary world, there are just two kinds of mother. There are Chinese mothers, who, she allows, do not necessarily have to be Chinese. 'I'm using the term Chinese mothers' loosely' she writes. Then there are Western mothers. Western mothers think that they are being strict when they insist that their children practice their instruments for half an hour a day. For Chinese mother's the first hour is the easy part".

This information helps explore my research question because it is a primary example of cultural capital that is held within the upper-income students and how they are using it as an advantage for college and beyond. Although this an extreme form ruthless parenting, it is an example none the less. 

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