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Then and Now: Finding My Voice – Four Levels of Interactions | Flax Golden Tales

Then and Now: Finding My Voice – Four Levels of Interactions | Flax-Golden Tales

Then and Now Finding My Voice - four levels

Then and Now: Finding My Voice – Elaine H. Kim, Korea

Literal Comprehension

It is an autobiography writing in which Korean writer; Kim expresses her personal feeling, experience, hope, faith while bringing up in America. In America, she had faced the problem in culture. At home, her parents spoke Korean language but outside, she was forced to speak English. Even in her school, she has badly behaved. Many Americans called her “Jap” or “Chink” because they thought that Korea was one of the states of Japan or China. So she felt that she had lost her identity. Actually, she also wanted to be the real citizen of America, for that she wanted to do something extra, so she had participated in cheerleader in school to prove that she was the real citizen of US and can do many things like white America.

In the essay, she also talks about the Korean War that had happened in the 1950s. in fact, that war took many Korean lives and separated them from their own homeland. Due to that ware impact, may Korean started living in American as refugees.

Similarly, she had also the great faith in fortune telling. She had also visited many Buddhist temples and shamans in Korea. One of the fortunetellers had told her that her goals and achievement of the future had been shaped between the ages of 12 and 17. That time she had expressed her doubt in his prophecy. But she now realizes the past experience of difficulties and hardship, she chose the field of history. She studied US racism, color discrimination, and social injustice. By the help those studies, she got an opportunity to understand herself.


It tells us the problem of living in the bicultural situation. Many kids who bring up in a foreign country are facing the same problem as the writer had faced. They faced the problem of culture, language, customs, and identity in a foreign country. Such kids are obliged to speak other languages outside of their home but at home, they speak their own language. They have behaved as if they are non-living things. In the essay too, the writer faced the same problems. She was U.S born Korean, so she had to speak tow language according to the situation. Firstly, she was Korean so she had to speak Korean in front of their parents while outside of the house, she had to speak English. Not only this much white behaved her a foreigner and even they call her “Jap” or “Chink”.

So in the bicultural situation, one can feel dominated by others and also becomes confused with two cultures.

Critical Thinking

In fact, this essay is not only the problematic situation of the U.S living girl, but it shows all people’s problem who have to spend their lives in other countries. It can be also an American problem if the sands his life in a foreign country. In the text, at first, the writer faced the problem of language. She has to speak two languages: American and Korean language. But that problem by the American may not face because English is an international language and it is spoken all over the world.

So with the help of it, they may express their ideas in a foreign country. Similarly, he/she also may not face the problem of money in an Asian country but in terms of culture, custom, habit, they faced the same reality as Kim faced in America. Similarly, from Kim’s note, the reader can notice the boastful natural of Americans. They without knowing the reality, give the wrong nationality like “Jap”. Likewise, to maintain their superiority, white still do not allow poor Asian to enter their hotels.


After reading this essay I remembered Nepali brothers who go to earn money in a foreign country. Though they love our Nepal and want to contribute for it, due to various problems, they are compelled to go abroad. In a foreign country, they faced the problem of language. They don great effort to learn other languages. For example, they work hard there but get a low salary. Not only this much, without any good reason, they are abused, beaten and also killed. Similarly, a few years back, 12 Nepali boys were beheaded by Iraqi. They had not made any mistakes but lost their lives in the hand of a terrorist.

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