Then and Now: Finding My Voice – Four Levels

Four Levels of Then and Now: Finding My Voice

The following are the four levels of “Then and Now: Finding My Voice”:

Literal Comprehension

Elaine H. Kim, a Korean-American writer, recounts her experiences growing up in the USA, where she faced challenges due to her cultural identity. She discusses her encounters with fortune-tellers, who offer conflicting predictions about her future.

Kim reflects on her teenage years spent in the USA, where she faced discrimination and felt like an outsider. Despite her efforts to assimilate, including becoming a cheerleader, Kim continued to face prejudice and marginalization.

However, through her studies of history and experiences with racism and sexism, she gained a deeper understanding of herself and her identity, inspiring her to fight against discrimination.


The essay explores the struggle of an immigrant to find her identity in a foreign country and the challenges of cultural assimilation. It highlights the importance of embracing one’s true identity and the difficulties faced by those who try to fit into a society that marginalizes them.

Kim’s journey serves as a reminder of the resilience and strength required to navigate a world that often discriminates against minority groups.

Critical Thinking

While the essay provides valuable insights into the immigrant experience and the persistence of racism and discrimination, readers may question the broader implications of Kim’s narrative.

They may consider the extent to which her experiences are representative of systemic issues within American society and examine the complexities of identity formation and cultural assimilation.

Additionally, critical analysis may explore alternative perspectives on the challenges faced by immigrants and the role of education and activism in combating discrimination.


The essay prompts readers to reflect on their own experiences of cultural assimilation and identity formation. It serves as a reminder of the importance of embracing one’s cultural heritage and resisting pressures to conform to societal norms.

Readers may relate to Kim’s struggles and find inspiration in her resilience and determination to assert her identity. Ultimately, the essay encourages readers to question societal norms and advocate for equality and social justice.

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