Study Guide

A Step from Heaven Foreignness

By An Na

Foreignness

Foreignness in A Step From Heaven isn't just about being an immigrant and a minority in America, although it is definitely a lot about those two things. The novel goes deeper, though, and explores how a young Korean girl can go from viewing America and Americans as foreign to viewing herself and her Korean family as foreign. Pretty heart wrenching stuff, if you ask us.

Questions About Foreignness

  1. How does Young Ju's sense of her foreignness change and develop?
  2. Is Young Ju's feeling of foreignness just a teenage thing that she'll grow out of or is it something she can't grow out of because of her race?
  3. Does the novel favor assimilation into American culture or does it try to integrate the Korean with the American?
  4. How do stereotypes create a sense of foreignness?

Chew on This

If immigrants embrace American culture and forget their own culture, they won't have to worry about being or feeling foreign.

It doesn't matter how much an immigrant tries to fit into America; the immigrant will always feel like a foreigner because mainstream American culture doesn't make immigrants feel accepted for who they are.

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