“Social Policy must adapt to a world in which everybody is different,” Ridley wrote in his book “Nature Versus Nuture.” Ridley believes that everyone is different; some are naturally smart, while some lack intelligence – yet people should take such individuals for whom they are and not force everyone to be the “perfect person,” as our current society dogma. “Two Kinds,” a short story by Tan, and “Under Pressure,” a story by Honore both explore the issue of undue expectations people have on other children, in this case a mother to her child. The prevailing theme in both of these extracts is of the parent’s vexation when the child cannot perform to her standard, and the child’s reaction to their parent’s feelings. In essence, both these texts explore the effects of parental pressure for the children to succeed, and their effects on their children. However, the extracts differ in that their purpose and context are rather disparate. “Two Kinds” is a story set in the modern age; we know this because it is stated that Tan published this book in 1989.
Hence, her audience is rather contemporary compared to the “story-within-a-book” set by “Under Pressure” by Honore, in which the protagonist, Thrale expresses to her audience the frustrations she encounters with her prodigy. Their contexts are also very distinct; Amy Tan was a Chinese-American living in America who with her novel reminisced about her mother-dominated childhood, while Honore wrote his book as a self-help guide to Parenting and hence used Thrale as an example of why childhood is being lost due to the “Culture of Hyper-Parenting.” These two extracts however both examine the children’s point of view from an adult point of view, and both attempt to explain the problems associated with over-protective parenting and their effects on the children. Thrale comments on this issue using historical case examples as support; all in a detached, analytical perspective, while Tan chooses to use an individual first-person perspective to appeal to the reader’s emotion. Tan’s usage of tone, structure, narration, and imagery greatly differ to as of Thrale, yet their overall common theme prevails clearly to the reader.
Tan effectively uses tone and perspective in her book to demonstrate how over parenting affect the children and their emotions. Tan sets the tone and perspective in her book with writing in a first-person point of view. She sets up the story by appealing to the reader with her feelings and emotions upon her mother’s actions to her. This is especially evident on Line 21, when she says “…after seeing my mother’s disappointed face once again, something inside of me began to die. I hated the tests, the raised hopes, and failed expectations.” Note that Tan here says “I” and “me,” effectively making this connect to the reader in a first-person point of view. Tan wants the direct personal connection to appeal to the reader’s emotions in order for them to understand her perspective. Tan here also uses emotions to her advantage; expressing her hatred, sadness, and most of all the point that she failed her mother, to demonstrate the extent she claimed to be pushed by her mom to be a “genius” at everything.
On the other hand, Honore’s tone and perspective is drastically different to Tan’s. Thrale’s purpose is to teach readers about parenting methods; hence he describes is a case study and how it applies to parenting. Thus, we can see from the text that Honore has a detached, neutral tone to his writing. He makes many knowledge claims; one being “We have to cherish children for who they are instead of for what we want them to be.” It is evident from both of the quotes that even though Tan and Honore have very different tones within their speech; they both carry the same theme; that over-parenting causes trauma to the children; and that children should be appreciated for who they are currently, and not their potential performance later In life.
The narration and structure within both of the texts vary; from Tan’s personal viewpoint to Honore’s third person viewpoint. Tan places herself within the protagonist of that girl who always attempts to make her mother happy. We can note from the passage that the family is not moneyed; Tan notes within her passage, “And since she cleaned many houses each week, we had a great assortment” that the mother is working many hours by being a house-cleaner to boost the finances. We later see the girl’s repeated attempts to please her mother; for example, when her mom quizzed her on the world’s capitals, the girl guessed “Nairobi! … saying the most foreign word I could think of.”
When her mom was disappointed with the turnout, the girl effectively started to cry and lose confidence in herself and her mom’s expectations. The passage’s structure demonstrates Tan’s attempt to demonstrate parenting shortcomings. Honore on the other hand talks in a “professional, scholarly” tone demonstrate his authority and knowledge over the issue of children. He backs up his claim, “…Thrale’s failure of making her daughter a prodigy is a reminder of how futile and ruinous this quest can be – in any century,” with his short story of Thrale and her daughters.