This paper has examined the characteristics of female intellectuals in proletarian literature, focused on Ryeo-sun in Han Seol-ya’s Hwang-Hon ‘sunset.’ What has been discussed can be summarized as follows.
From the viewpoint of socialism, laborers and women fall within the class that is representatively exploited in capitalist society. As such, socialism has recognized women as sharing the same destiny with laborers in the same dimension as the class liberation movement. Consequently, the problem of women has been given focus from the perspective of struggle for action rather than dealt with on the side of their nature including identification of gender.
The first half of the work Sunset is focused on the triangular relationship among Gyeong-jae, Ryeo-sun, and Hyeon-ok. Ryeo-sun turns out to be a victim in her love narrative. Her expectation for Gyeong-jae serves as a chance to recognize the Bourgeois’ egoism. Through the course of this narrative, she gives up her unilateral relationship with Gyeong-jae and establishes an independent relationship, which she achieves by declaring to quit against his egoistic desire for maintaining his meaningless love. This is the starting point from which she has seen humans and society from the viewpoint of classism.
Ryeo-sun, as she is, is clearly distinguished from the female figures in previous pro-literary works. For her, the ordeal is an object for overcoming rather than for frustration. Such a rational attitude is closely related to intellectual training. However, this is far from being a figure crystallized on the aesthetic side though it can be an educational model for socialist revolution. In this sense, the love aspects of Sunset has not only a new possibility of pro-literature but also certain problems to overcome simultaneously.
The last half of the work reveals a tendency to emphasize the necessity of class struggle. This is crystallized through the opposition and conflict between employers and employees. During the course, Ryeo-sun’s classist shift to laborer implies complex meanings. She realizes contradictions of Capitalism through her labor experiences. Here, the struggle against Bourgeois reduces to the problem of knowledge rather than of assets or capital. This means that the gist of pro-literature lies in the education for awakening the sleepy awareness of the proletariat.
The fact that Ryeo-sun has received higher education serves as a crucial social force in the course of the struggle against An Jung-seo. The education works as an important element in the recognition of ego and society. Furthermore, it comprises a theoretical basis for emphasis on the necessity of class struggle. This means that the success of labor movement is directly connected with the education of laborers. The fruit of her education is crystallized by labor disputes. Through them, Y Spinning Mill happens to be turned from a lethargic field of labor into the space of struggle for labor liberation. Thus, the emergence of an intellectual female like Ryeo-sun can be evaluated to have open a new horizon for pro-literature despite the novel’s artificial structure.