Study Guide

A Step from Heaven Chapter 31

By An Na

Chapter 31

Epilogue: Hands

  • You can probably tell from the chapter title that this chapter's all about hands, so get ready for a bunch of descriptions about hands—Uhmma's hands, Young Ju's hands, Joon's hands.
  • Uhmma's hands especially are the stars of this chapter.
  • They're old and lined because they've done so much, like: smooth the kids's foreheads; woken them up for school; sewn and boxed tons of jeans for one job before going to her night job at Johnny's Steak House; made a medium-rare steak with a baked potato on the side in ten minutes for hungry customers; washed dinner dishes; cleaned their kitchen floor; folded laundry; raised hems of dresses; held a Bible; set out doughnuts and coffee at church…You get the point, right? Her hands never rest.
  • But sometimes Uhmma's hands used to open up like a flower and Young Ju and Joon would take her hands and Uhmma would read their palms.
  • Okay, not exactly—she would tell them these stories about their futures over and over again for fun, which was a big hit with the kids.
  • Cue: major life lesson…
  • Uhmma used to tell Young Ju and Joon Ho to use their heads, not their hands.
  • You can tell that Young Ju and Joon Ho have done just this because their hands are smooth and tender—they're what Young Ju calls "the hands of dreams come true."
  • Now Young Ju's tracing the lines on Uhmma's hands.
  • They're walking along a beach.
  • Young Ju can pinpoint all the things Uhmma's done with her hands, even the time a knife cut her; Uhmma's hands, according to Young Ju, "have lived many lives."
  • But Young Ju wants to erase all of these lines because they're reminders of some serious history.
  • Uhmma though, tells Young Ju that they are Uhmma's hands.
  • Uhmma tucks Young Ju's hair behind her ear, and they continue their walk along the beach.