Article Analysis Essay on 'Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior' by Amy Chua

Published: 2023-01-28
Article Analysis Essay on 'Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior' by Amy Chua
Type of paper:  Critical thinking
Categories:  Writing Analysis Parenting
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1480 words
13 min read


'Why Chinese Mothers are Superior' is an article by Amy Chua written in the Wall Street Journal on the 8th of January 2011 (Chua, 2011). It is an excerpt from the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Though the article can be of interest to the general public, it was mainly meant for parents and teenagers. The article explores the differences between the way that Chinese and Western mothers (parents) bring up their children. She advances that the Chinese style of parenting results in more successful children as compared to the Western style of parenting. She gives examples of things that her children were not allowed to do, such as attending sleepovers, taking part in a school play, getting less than A, among others. Most of these things, according to her, are allowed by Western parents (Chua, 2011). Though some western parents think of themselves as strict, the article paints the Chinese parents as stricter. For instance, while western children are made to practice their instrument for an hour at most, Chinese children have to practice for at least three hours. Three differences emerge between the Chinese and Western parents from the article. First, while the Western parents are nervous about their children's performance, the Chinese parents see their children as powerful. Second, while the Chinese culture holds that children owe their parents, Western parents believe that children have their distinct duty. Third, while the Western parents focus on their children's self-esteem, the Chinese parents believe that they know what their children want and hence lead them towards that path.

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The comparison-contrast structure is the most prominent structure used in the article. The article is entirely on parenting. Parenting remains a contentious topic around the world. Different people and cultures have different views and opinions on how children should be raised. Therefore, to present a solid argument, Chua compares and contrasts Chinese and western parents. This organizational structure helps magnify the differences between the two sets of parents and their different styles of parenting. The article could arguably not have come across better using any other structure. For instance, by comparing the activities that Chinese and western children are allowed to take part in, the differences in the styles of parenting and the strictness of the parents are bared (Chua, 2011).


The writer uses both testimonies of her children's upbringing and statistics acquired from various studies to support her argument. To enhance the credibility of her argument, she points out that the Chinese parenting style presented in the article is also seen in some Indian, Korean, Irish, Jamaican, and Ghanaian parents too. She also states that the western style of parenting presented in the article does not apply to all western parents. Some of her testimonies include the things that she prohibited her daughters, Sophia and Louisa, from doing. They include attending sleepovers, having playdates, taking part in school plays, watching TV, playing instruments other than violin or piano, among others. She also brings up an incident where she called Sophia garbage for behaving disrespectfully. This event upset her western colleagues. Ironically, such events and incidents are common in Chinese homes (Chua, 2011). To further show the difference between the parenting styles, she narrates how she once employed the Chinese style to have Lulu master a piece she was having difficulties with. Jed, her husband, thought that a western-style was more appropriate in the circumstances. The Chinese style finally won according to her narrative. The testimonies add a personal touch to the article. However, they cannot be verified.

To counter the above downside, the author gives statistical evidence pointing towards the same. She cites a study carried out to show the differences between the Chinese and western styles of parenting. The study was carried out among 48 Chinese immigrant mothers and 50 Western American mothers (Chua, 2011). 70% of the western parents held that overemphasizing academic success was not suitable for the children and that learning should be fun. On the other hand, 0% of the Chinese agreed with this stand (Chua, 2011). On the contrary, Chinese parents argued that academic achievement was a reflection of successful parenting. Bringing in this study does not only enhance the credibility of the article but also helps shed more light on the causes of the different parenting styles between the two sets of parents. Looking at this study, it can be concluded that the Chinese parents are stricter and push their children more since poor performance on the children's side would question the quality of their parenting. Moreover, unlike the testimonies, the study is more representative since it involved many Chinese parents. The evidence is also verifiable. Other studies have also confirmed that greater parent involvement leads to better academic performance among Chinese children as compared to their western counterparts (Shout Out UK, 2018).

Looking at the evidence found in the article, it is clear that the author has achieved an almost perfect balance of logos, pathos, and ethos. Other than the facts presented above, the author also makes various authoritative statements. For instance, at the start of the article, she states that Chinese parenting produces more music prodigies and math whizzes than western parenting (Chua, 2011). Later in the article, she says that a Chinese child would never get a B (Chua, 2011). This is aimed at strengthening her stand that Chinese parenting results in better performance. She uses personal accounts to create an emotional appeal and give a personal touch to the narration. The credibility of the article is ensured through the use of statistical evidence. The effective interplay of the three leads to the creation of a story that is exceedingly informative, personal, and credible.


Chua uses various techniques to create a persuasive article. A powerful tone is prevalent throughout the article. As mentioned earlier, she makes assertions that present the Chinese style of parenting as a more effective style. The personal experiences she gives paint her as a serious parent, and hence the tone is majorly serious albeit interrupted occasionally by light moments. Her tone can also be described as argumentative since she aims to argue that the Chinese style of parenting is superior. However, considering that the article was published in an American newspaper, the tone of the article may be seen as condescending. Moreover, some of the words used in the article, such as garbage and fatty, might be seen as offensive (Chua, 2011). However, this does not negate the fact that Chua is an excellent writer who brilliantly used various writing skills to pass her message. Since the article was published in the Wall Street Journal, one would expect that the writer would use the fancy language often associated with the publication. On the contrary, she uses simple words to pass her message. This is meant to get the article close to its target audience - parents and teenagers. The author also uses conversations and quotes to make the article livelier. For instance, she presents the conversation with her husband, a Westerner, to amplify the differences that she is trying to pass to the audience. Rhetorical devices such as irony and sarcasm are also widely used in the article.

Author Credibility

Though the article faced criticism from different quarters, the author's ethos cannot be questioned. That she is intellectual is undeniable. She is a lawyer, a writer, and a scholar. She holds a law degree from Harvard Law School. She is a professor at Yale University. She has written five books on international affairs, parenting, and ethnic-American culture. This article is drawn from her parenting memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Regarding the subject of the article, she is Chinese-American. She can, therefore, not be considered an outsider. She has lived both worlds, and hence, her opinion should be respected. Her upbringing in a Chinese home did not break her but instead propelled her to excellence. She is proof, therefore, that the parenting style she is advocating for works. Though her personal experiences may be seen as subjective, the statistical evidence offered in the article enhances its credibility.


Chua's argument throughout the article is that the Chinese style of parenting is superior. Though she manages to pass the message effectively, the argument is not enough to settle the debate on parenting that has raged on for years. Every parent has the right to bring up their children in the way they deem best. Moreover, what works for one child may not work for another. Not all children under the Chinese style end up successful. Similarly, most children under western style are successful. Therefore, the most important thing is that a parent should mentor their children.


Chua, A. (2011, January 8). Why Chinese Mothers are Superior. Retrieved from The Wall Street Journal:

Shout Out UK. (2018, March 6). Why Chinese And Asian Students Do So Much Better In School, Or Do They? Retrieved from Shout Out UK:

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