Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother bears a disclaimer on the cover that it was originally meant to be a book about the clash between Chinese and Western parenting practices but instead is about Chua's own humbling experience with raising her daughters. As the book begins, Chua describes the strict rules that she established early on for her two daughters, Sophia and Louisa. The rules primarily address forbidden activities such as attending sleepovers, getting less than an A in classes, and being involved in school plays. The author admits that while her standards might seem rather stringent to most, they are common among Chinese mothers.
In Chapter 2, Chua introduces her firstborn child, Sophia, and with her description of Sophia's rather passive personality and ability to learn quickly, it seems that Chua's strict Chinese parenting methods will prove to be successful. Chua's husband Jed is Jewish, and they decided upon marrying that they would bring up their children Jewish, instead of focusing on Chua's Catholic religious heritage. For Sophia, this decision seems to work perfectly. She demonstrates the questioning nature of her father's ideology along with her mother's obsession with rote and drill.
Chua's second child, Louisa (nicknamed Lulu), possesses completely different attributes. The author admits that Lulu inherited her "hot-tempered" and "viper-tongued" personality. That commonality is most likely the impetus for their "nuclear warfare" relationship. Chua also points out that according to the Chinese calendar, Lulu was born in the Year of the Boar, which supposedly predestines one to be willful and obstinate. The author herself was born in the Year of the Tiger, which causes one to be powerful and authoritative. The first recorded clash between the Boar and Tiger occurs when Lulu (the Boar) is three. Chua, who has already obtained a piano teacher for Sophia, attempts to begin Lulu on the piano at a very young age. Lulu refuses to do anything that her mother asks of her in regards to the piano and eventually wins the face-off. At this point, Chua admits that she might have to try different tactics with Lulu, but she is unwilling to change any of the goals or rules that she has set for her two daughters.
While Chua's standards for her daughters might seem unreasonable to most, she inherited her ideology from her parents. Her mother and father were raised in the...
(The entire section is 2881 words.)
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