Study Guide

A Step from Heaven Chapter 7

By An Na

Chapter 7

A Step From Heaven

  • Okay, now that Young Ju's in Mi Gook, it's time to get busy… As in, it's time to find Harabugi.
  • Yeah, he's dead, but Mi Gook is heaven remember?
  • So Young Ju's all over Gomo's house hunting for her dead grandpa.
  • Uhmma's looking for her, so Young Ju stops looking into all the rooms of the house and goes with Uhmma to the living room.
  • Lo and behold, she has an uncle and his name is Uhing Kel Thim, a.k.a. Uncle Tim. (That first name is just Young Ju trying to pronounce English, by the way.)
  • He's white, as in all blond and blue-eyed, and he tells her that she can call him Sahmchun (Korean for uncle) until she figures out how to speak English.
  • Small talk ensues, like whether or not Young Ju likes Gomo's house.
  • Young Ju isn't one to lie though, so she spits out that she can't find Harabugi… which of course means that she ends up revealing that she believes Mi Gook is heaven.
  • Apa's not about to let that nonsense go, but Uncle Tim tells Young Ju the truth—that Mi Gook is definitely not heaven and that Harabugi's with God.
  • Young Ju wonders how this isn't heaven since Gomo's house has carpeting and wooden doors—everyone seems happy and rich.
  • This leads Uncle Tim to tell her that Mi Gook is more like—deeper meaning alert—"a step from heaven." You know… the title to the book.
  • Young Ju's not down with Uncle Tim's spin on Mi Gook, and she wants to go home to Halmoni if she can't find Harabugi.
  • Apa's not going to take that attitude from Young Ju though; he tells her to sit down.
  • Uhmma tries to talk the whole situation down by saying Young Ju's got an imagination.
  • Gomo tries the whole comforting route and offers her Coca-Cola, the drink everyone in Mi Gook loves.
  • Young Ju's not so sure about this fizzy drink, but she drinks it because Apa tells her to.
  • And… she hates it. It hurts because the bubbles make her feel like she's swallowing fish bones, but she doesn't say a word.
  • Apa's finally happy with her.
  • She just sits there with wet eyes and a painful mouth while the grown-ups talk about all the typical adult stuff (making a living, schools, etc.).
  • Young Ju doesn't get why everyone's so happy—she's still wondering why they aren't upset that Halmoni and Harabugi aren't there and that Mi Gook isn't heaven.
  • She takes another sip from her Coke. Yep—definitely not heaven.