A Step From Heaven Analysis

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A Step from Heaven accurately depicts several struggles that immigrants commonly face when coming to America. One of the first obstacles Young Ju must resolve is the language barrier – she knows absolutely no English and cannot communicate with her teacher or the other students. Although she learns quickly in school, her parents do not have the opportunity to learn much English at all. This situation is true for many immigrant children who are forced into the position of translator, which puts a lot of pressure on them because they must constantly help their parents navigate simple situations. Young Ju’s parents also must deal with the financial issue that many immigrants face. Both her mother and father are working constantly just to pay for their rent and food. The children do not get fancy clothing, expensive meals, or new toys. They are…show more content…
They may begin to feel that they identify more with American culture than with the culture of their parents. This book also deals with the idea of gender inequality within families. Young Ju’s father is treated as the most important member of the family, and everyone must constantly obey him. This is true even when he resorts to physical violence. Although respecting elders is a large part of Korean culture, the novel juxtaposes this idea against the American value that authority figures should not abuse their power. Furthermore, Young Ju’s younger brother is given special privileges simply because he is male. Although Young Ju never explicitly discusses the larger implications of this, she does recognize that this idea is not consistent with American culture. This novel does a good job of looking at how Korean immigrants, and immigrants in general, feel when they arrive in a foreign land. They have issues communicating with others, understanding American culture, and integrating this culture with their
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