The Summary of “Facing Poverty with a Rich Girl’s Habits” ENG115061VA016-1126-001 (English Composition) July 22, 2012 According to Suki Kim, the author of “Facing Poverty with a Rich Girl’s habits, learning how to survive physically, emotionally, and educationally in a world that was far removed from the style of life she was accustomed to was one of the biggest challenges of her life. Kim went from having a father who was considered a millionaire, living in a mansion complete with a governess to living in a small apartment in another person’s home within a short period of time.
While reeling from the shock and devastation of losing all that was familiar to her, she also had to learn English, how to do everything for herself that was originally done for her, and get used to a new school and way of life. In her essay, she discusses the various challenges that rose up to face her almost daily. As a young adolescent, Kim was ostracized due to her being from Korea, being made fun of and called names. Even while she was in her E. S. L. classes and having the ability to communicate with those who spoke Korean, she was an outsider.
At one point in her essay, she describes the first English word she had learned as being “fresh off the boat” (Roen, Glau & Maid, 2011). Kim, not understanding English, didn’t realize that the joke was on her until much later when she had a better grasp of the language. Kim was also amazed at the differences in Korean schools and those in America. In Korea, she describes school as being quiet and respectful, using examples of bowing to teachers and wearing slippers to avoid making marks on the flooring.
In one particular example she talks of youngsters kissing in the classroom while the teacher calls out attendance, something that surely didn’t happen in Korea. A hard dose of reality soon came to Kim when she realized just how much of her life was going to have to change. Her mother, who was considered an elite citizen of Korea, was now working in a fish market just to make ends meet. The changes and challenges in which Kim had to go through just to survive school seem to carry with her even into her adulthood now as she reflects on her past life.
From the tone of Kim’s essay, it sounds as if she is talking amongst her peers trying to paint a picture of her life before the fall of her family empire and during the tumultuous years of her school life. It is a reflective time in her life and she is going back over it trying to make sense of everything in a more mature manner than that of a child. Her purpose doesn’t seem to make someone feel guilty about her past but to teach others that nothing is forever.
She believed that everything was going well in her life and that nothing would change, and when it did, she had a lot of adaptation to go through. Kim’s attitude is one that is accepting of her past and she seems to understand that what happened then has made her the person that she is now. She doesn’t seem resentful but at peace with her life. After reading the essay multiple times, at first, I felt sympathy for her because of her being a child accustomed to the finer things and having that taken away from her suddenly.
Then, as I began to think about her situation, I began to be proud of her for enduring what she did and still coming out a powerful person. It takes a strong person to discuss personal things that have occurred in their life as well as show their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I was impressed with her capability to provide as much vivid detail as she did. I can’t honestly say that I could do the same had I been in her shoes. Reference Page Roen, D. , Glau, G. , & Maid, B. (2011). Facing poverty with a rich girl’s habits. (2 ed. , p. 62). Boston: McGraw-Hill