Study Guide

A Step from Heaven Women and Femininity

By An Na

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Women and Femininity

While some parts of A Step From Heaven come down pretty hard on the male half of the human race, this novel is more interested in how grandmothers, mothers, daughters, girlfriends—a.k.a. girls and women—deal with each other in a man's world. And surprise, surprise, the result isn't always pretty. Not that things get violent or all that testy between the females in the book—it's just that the book makes you realize how much females pressure each other to be a typical girl/woman.

Questions About Women and Femininity

  1. Can women be sexist toward each other?
  2. What does the American setting have to do with Young Ju's growing feminine identity?
  3. Why is there so much emphasis on being a "nice girl"?
  4. Is being a tomboy just another way of favoring a patriarchal system?

Chew on This

Being a tomboy in a man's world is a totally radical thing because it totally upsets the way we view girls and gender expectations in general.

Sexism doesn't just come from men; women can be just as sexist and damaging to other women.

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