Study Guide

A Step from Heaven Duty

By An Na

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Duty: if that sounds like a heavy concept to you, then you're on point—especially in regards to A Step From Heaven. Duty is the opposite of fun and games in this book because it's all about what is owed in relationships with other people, especially family members. Duty is what keeps a wife and her kids loyal to an abusive, alcoholic, and very undutiful husband/father; it's that necessary bond that keeps a family together, but it's also a bond that An Na tries to push to its extreme limit. What should duty look like, especially if someone betrays the fundamental foundations of a loving relationship? A Step From Heaven shows how hard it can be to answer that question.

Questions About Duty

  1. According to Uhmma, what are a parent's duties to his or her children?
  2. Why is obligation and duty a bad thing in a relationship, according to Uhmma? Is it really all that bad?
  3. Does the book make being dutiful and responsible into a female thing?
  4. At the end of the book, Uhmma gives Young Ju a picture of when Young Ju and Apa were happy together. What sense of duty to Apa does Uhmma show Young Ju?

Chew on This

Society makes it easier for women to be more responsible and dutiful than men.

Women need to redefine duty so that it serves women more and men less.

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