Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tiger Mom

I was reading an article at physorg today, when a related thought occurred to me. The article was about a new scientific method for figuring out the shared origins of seemingly diverse fairy tales. It sort of looks for the common ancestor of fairy tales, the way biologists look for ancestors of various species to discover a common progenitor.

Here's the paragraph that struck me:
The Wolf and the Kids, popular in Europe and the Middle East, is a story about a wolf who impersonates a nanny goat and devours her kids, whereas Little Red Riding Hood is about a wolf who devours a young girl after impersonating her grandmother. Variants of the story are common in Africa and Asia, for example, The Tiger Grandmother in Japan, China and Korea.
This means the woman who wrote Tiger Mom, a parenting manual, knew that Asian readers would see the book's title as a reference to "The Tiger Grandmother". This strikes me as very odd. Surely this would produce a negative reaction in the minds of Asian readers. "She eats her children?!" Strange.