In her essay “Facing Poverty With a Rich Girl’s Habits” Suki Kim discusses the way one’s life may totally change in just one moment. Thus, from a wealthy girl who had a millionaire father and didn't have any problems in life, Kim turned into a girl who had to suffer from poverty. In general, it is possible to say that the main purpose of the article is to explain the audience that everything may change at once and that people should be prepared to accept such changes and to be able to adjust to them.
First of all, the author starts her essay by describing her wealthy way of life. She lived in a huge house in Korea and had everything in it. However, everything changed when her father went into bankruptcy. Since then, her family had to move to America and to live in a poor neighborhood. As Kim states, her life was totally different there and it was rather difficult for her to adjust to it. Thus, she has never known what it is like to go to school by public transport or to do homework without the governess’ help. According to Kim, “each week, I found it humiliating to wheel our dirty clothes to a bleak place called Laundromat” (Kim 2004). Moreover, the girl had problems not only with adopting an entirely different way of life, but also with adjusting to a new culture and a new language. She was separated from Americans by her identity and the color of her skin. She was also isolated from other Korean children who came from wealthier families and lived in such neighborhoods as Manhattan or Westchester. Kim had also numerous problems with learning the English language. She tried to learn it with the help of such shows as “Three’s Company” and “Great Expectations”. However, she could hardly understand a word. It should be also noted that it was hard for the girl to see her parents adapting to a totally different way of life. Thus, according to Kim, “I had watched my glamorous mother, not long ago a society lady who lunched, taking on a job as a fish filleter at a market” (Kim 2004). All in all, such situation taught Kim to be ready to accept different changes in life and to deal with any problems that may appear.
It should be noted, that one of the major purpose of this article is to understand that life may change very quickly and that it is essential to be ready to such changes. Thus, one day she was a girl from a wealthy Korean family and the other day she was a poor immigrant. In such a way the author emphasizes the fact that money does not mean everything. On the contrary, it is essential to be united with one’s family and to be ready to overcome any difficulties together. With the help of her essay, Kim also puts attention to the life of immigrants. It is rather difficult for them to leave their homelands and to adjust to a new culture and new society. They face numerous difficulties and often suffer from the feeling of “otherness”.
Al in all, it possible to classify the author’s essay as being a narrative. Moreover, it may be called an explanatory as in it Kim explains to the audience all the changes that happened in her life. She also explains the way she could overcome all the difficulties she faced in her life of an immigrant.
It is possible to state that Kim’s main audience is Korean immigrants who faced the same problems and will surely understand the things the author mentions in her essay. They probably have overcome the same difficulties and understand what it is like to be an immigrant. Nevertheless, one can mention that Kim’s narrative will be useful for general audience as well. It may teach people to accept different changes that may appear in their lives as well as to be ready to face and overcome any difficulties.
Talking about the tone of the essay, one could notice that at first it is rather sad and frustrating. The author presents all the changes that she faced in her life in a rather negative light. However, closer to the end of the essay the tone becomes more cheerful. Kim concludes that she finally managed to accept the challenge and to adjust to a new life.
Kim, S. (2004). Facing Poverty With a Rich Girl’s Habits. The New York Times. Retrieved from http: // www.nytimes.com