Study Guide

A Step from Heaven Family

By An Na

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If you're looking for a father-knows-best-type of story, then you've picked up the wrong book—A Step From Heaven is about as far away from the classic, suburban, American household as you can get. Instead what you have is an immigrant Korean family with an abusive father, a submissive wife, and two kids just trying to pass into American society. It's a family broken by both internal violence and by the stresses of immigration.

Questions About Family

  1. Does a family really need a father figure to function well?
  2. Does the American setting have any influence on how Young Ju's family manages to survive without Apa?
  3. What dynamics help to create a patriarchy within Young Ju's family?
  4. Would Young Ju's family have had a better chance of staying together if they had stayed in Korea?

Chew on This

Fathers aren't necessary for a family to thrive.

A family that loses a member is always at least a little bit broken.

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