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The Meaning of the Bear's Desire and Drowning in the Legend of Gomnaru

  • Cross-Cultural Studies
  • 2024, 71(), pp.1-15
  • DOI : 10.21049/ccs.2024.71..1
  • Publisher : Center for Cross Culture Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Literature
  • Received : January 10, 2024
  • Accepted : February 6, 2024
  • Published : February 29, 2024

Jiyoung Kang 1

1경상국립대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to analyze the desire of the bear in The Legend of Gomnaru, considering the possibility that the group comprised bears, humans, and cubs could not be a family. The scenes in which the bear throws herself with his cubs after the man leaves her are analyzed. Three versions of The Legend of Gomnaru are used for this analysis. The desires of the bears are divided into three groups: the bear that immediately throws herself with her cubs after the man leaves; the bear that throws herself after throwing her cubs in the river, and the bear that shows her cubs to the man to make him back and waits for him to come back then throws them into the river and finally drown herself. In all three versions, the bear recognizes their cubs as independent beings, in that she causes her cubs to die due to the frustration of her desires. The cub comes into existence as a separate entity from the mother through the mother's childbirth, and in all three versions, the mother's death is read as a failure to accept the cub as a deterritorialized entity from the mother's territory. From this, it is clear that the typical family structure consisting of father, mother, and children, does not appear in The Legend of Gomnaru. This could mean that the bear's desire is centered on a man, not her family. In all three versions, the death of the bear shows that she has been deterritorialized from the territory of her desire for a man and has not reached the reterritorialization of building herself. One of the versions showed that the bears attempt to get the man to return by showing the cubs to the man, which suggests that the bear's view of family organization can be read differently from the other two versions. In the version where the bear witnesses the death of her cub, the bear's behavior is interpreted as a kind of self-inflicted harm caused by depression or melancholy due to the failure to fulfill her desires on the man as the territory to reterritorialize herself. The difference in the bear's perception of the family demonstrated the possibility of reading desire as a way to fill a deficiency, and the possibility of reading it as a kind of operation outside the category of the family. Through this, this study aimed to show a new view of the establishment of family and the operation of the bears’ desires to the existing studies that had analyzed The Legend of Gomnaru compared with myths.

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