A Summary of “Facing poverty with a rich girl’s habits” by Kim
April 17, 2016
A Summary of “Facing Poverty with a Rich Girl’s Habits” by Kim
This is a brief summary of Suki Kim’s essay, “Facing Poverty with a Rich Girl’s Habits” in which she reveals how she came from riches to rags. Beginning with how she grew up in an ugly house in Queens, New York in the 80’s, which was clearly a downgrade from the mansion in which she stayed in up until the seventh grade. This was quite a shock to her considering her father was millionaire and lost his fortune literally overnight. Her father’s business had gone bankrupt and since this was an offense punishable by jail, she and her father packed up and fled to America.
They came to America nearly penniless and while doing so still managed to secure a residence from another Korean family at the aforementioned ugly house in Queens. Even this posed quite the ...view middle of the document...
Unlike in Korea where they showed teachers the utmost respect she soon realized that in America teachers did not receive the same degree of respect. She speaks about how in class in America while the teacher is taking roll another boy and girl in the front row were French-kissing and wearing some inappropriate clothing in her eyes. Kim received quite the culture shock when coming to America.
She also realized even in her English as a Second Language class that she had little in common even with the other kids who spoke her language. The kids that she was in the class with were not a part of the wealthy upper class of Korea that she had been a part of for so long. She would indeed begin to forge relationships with this group of students. They were part of a class of people who came to America with some traditional Korean ways and language. They often times ran into generational gaps with some of the other Korean teens around them due to the fact that some generations were not adapting to American life.
Kim realized that the life that she had come from with having a chauffeur and a governess was the life of a fairy tale to the people in the neighborhood she was now residing in. She also came to the realization that she would have to adapt. The life of a princess that she had grown accustomed to was no longer. This task proved even harder than her struggle to learn the English language. Having to see her mom take a job as a fish filleter at a market was the humbling experience that brought this to clarity.
As her family began to search for better housing and jobs they were soon able to move out of the neighborhood that they once called home. The family that was once considered almost royalty went from riches to rags nearly overnight.
This essay by Kim showed a lot of insight into the divide that many people may experience when being introduced to another culture. Even though she was surrounded by people from the same country that she was from the difference in the way they lived due to their financial class caused a divide. This divide made a difference in how long it took for her to find common interest with the people in her society and community.
1. The McGraw-Hill guide: Writing for college, writing for life:
(2nd ed.)pages 62-64