An Analysis of Chrysanthemum Image in Korean-American Writer Hong Eurn’s Sijo
When Korea was under Japanese colonial rule in the first half of the 20th century, Hong Eurn (1880∼1951) was a first-generation ethnic Korean in the United States. He worked as a Korean-American writer at The New Korea (Sinhanminbo; founded in 1909), and wrote sijo, gasa, Chinese-letter poems, novels, plays, and literary reviews for The New Korea.
This paper has examined Hong Eurn’s sijo based on chrysanthemum dealt with at The New Korea, which reported the chrysanthemum image. As a result of the analysis, firstly, this paper has figured out that the chrysanthemum traditionally symbolized “constancy and endurance.” He emphasized that people keep their constancy when they were resisting against Japanese imperialism and engaging in the independence movement. Through this, constancy and endurance had been incorporated in his experiences with which he fought against Japan for Korean independence movement.
Secondly, this paper has explored “an autumn flavor and the richness” which is represented by the chrysanthemum. An autumn flower, the chrysanthemum has heightened excitement of season. And the chrysanthemum has co-existed with liquor, the moon, and friends. So “an autumn flavor and the richness” has followed the tradition of Korean sijo.
Thirdly, this paper has proved “the death of the chrysanthemum” is converted into “the rebirth of the chrysanthemum.” This paper, thus, has found that “the rebirth” of the chrysanthemum is shown only in Hong Eurn’s sijo.
This paper, therefore, has drawn several conclusions from the discussions described above. Firstly, Hong Eurn chose the form of sijo to express his lyricism through the image of chrysanthemums. Secondly, he developed a unique form of chrysanthemum image, he deviated himself from the conventional Korean literary circles. Finally, he wrote sijo based on chrysanthemums in order to preserve his Korean identity and pursue his life of a patriot who fought against the Japanese imperialists.