Unlike today`s juvenile, the Korean juvenile during the Japanese Colonial era was a laboring being and they were called 'Juvenile Labor'. Most protagonists of modern juvenile novels were working juveniles rather than students. It is safe to say that it was not only the reflection of social contradiction but also the result of pursuing its imaginary solutions. Focusing on it, in this study I analyzed the aspects of juvenile labor and the descriptive manner of it in modern juvenile novels, and considered the inconsistency and limit of juvenile image depicted by contemporary authors.
In the process I witnessed the ambivalent view on the juvenile labor. In terms of idealism, juveniles are ones who should be taken care of and prepare for their future in schools. On the other hand, in the real world they are the breadwinners without their parents. As a laborer in the workplace, they are seen as an opponent, a threat to employers or adult labor. Nevertheless, the narrator forces us to see them as a victom by describing the defeated juveniles in a competition with adults with a sympathetic tone. At the same time, though they still need their parents` care, they are called for a role of supporting his family on the ground that he is an orphan or has a single parent with illness and poverty. Whereas the narrator insists on the protection of juvenile labor in the workplace, he puts an emphasis on a role of juveniles as a supporter of his family. In addition, though it was thought that working juveniles were inferior to students only because they didn`t go to school, the narrator asserts that they are superior to students, pointing out the illusion of school education and suggesting an alternative such as evening classes.
In short, even if the working juveniles shown in modern juvenile novels are the victims of a society and an era, they also hold a proud and desirable position in the social condition where both national contradictions and class contradictions coexist. Furthermore, they put aside the protection and growth for themselves and are entrusted with the task which should be carried out by adults. In other words, the image of working juveniles represented in juvenile novels is seen as that of the delegate of helpless adults.