Characteristics and Meanings of Women-Centered Relationships Shown in <Jagirok>
<Jagirok> is a material that shows the deep “relationships among women,” which was uncommon in the men-centered Joseon society. This thesis examines the characteristics of the relationship between mothers and daughters, sisters, and mothers-in-laws and daughters-in-laws, as shown in <Jagirok>.
The author’s mother was described as an “ideal person” in every aspect, including her appearance, character, and intellectual ability. The author’s mother was not only a “lifetime model” to the author, but also had a significant influence on her view of life. Within a few months of losing her mother, when she was only ten years old, the author had to accept a stepmother. The shock and sorrow had a decisive effect on the author, causing her to view of life negatively.
Meanwhile, there was a strong “sense of solidarity” in her relationships with her elder sister and mother-in-law, as they shared “lifetime experiences.” The author and her elder sister shared a sense of exclusive solidarity from sharing grief and condolences after losing their mother. Later, the elder sister helped to care for her brother-in-law, which provided them with the opportunity to build a stronger sisterhood. In the author’s relationship with her mother-in-law, they felt a little bit of distance from each ther during the early days of the marriage. However, they gradually formed a sense of solidarity by jointly and implicitly responding to their irrational parents-in-law. After the death of her son and husband, the author actively stopped her mother-in-law’s suicide attempt and built a new relationship by sharing the position of women in the men-centered society.
In the men-centered and patriarchal Joseon society, <Jagirok> emphasizes the importance of “women’s position and experiences,” maternal care, and sisterhood relationships. Moreover, it shows that a woman, through writing, could record and transmit memories about other women. This was something beyond the imagination and planning of patriarchy regarding relationships among women. <Jagirok’s> value as women’s literature may lie in this.