Study Guide

A Step from Heaven Chapter 1

By An Na

Chapter 1

Sea Bubble

  • Someone's speaking, but we don't know who it is. In fact, the only person who's named is Young Ju, our little heroine of the book.
  • What we do know is that this person really wants Young Ju to experience the edge of some seriously cold water.
  • Yes, they're living on the edge. Literally. Haha.
  • Young Ju's not really focused though—she's way more into pretending her toes are fish swimming in the sea.
  • Whoever the other person is seems pretty patient; that person goes right along with Young Ju's whole toes = fish thing and says that the toes are "fat piggy fish."
  • Okay—now the scene is getting clearer. The person is definitely someone who's bigger than Young Ju (and probably older too) because they want to carry Young Ju into the ocean waves and swim.
  • The person tells her to keep her legs tight around the person's body because they're about to go into deeper water.
  • But Young Ju is not feeling this idea—she really doesn't want to go deep because she's scared.
  • The other person is super-calm and reassuring though. They ask Young Ju to be brave, and reassure her that she will be held tightly the whole time.
  • Young Ju totally responds to this super-cool and loving person, so she says she'll try.
  • The two of them manage to swim one wave, and lo and behold, Young Ju wants to do it again.
  • The person calls Young Ju "my courageous girl," and they body surf the waves together.
  • By the way, just so you know, this whole scene is without quotation marks; it's just back-and-forth dialogue without the usual markers of a dialogue.
  • In other words? You're going to have to figure out who's speaking through context. Worry not, though—Shmoop is here to help.
  • Anyway, cue literary moment: Young Ju ends the chapter with an italicized line (in case you miss the whole literary-ness of the line, you know) from her perspective: she's a "sea bubble floating, floating in a dream. Bhop."