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The Experience of a Foreign Land and a Foreign Existence Depicted in the Novel Yukmidanggi

  • The Research of the Korean Classic
  • 2012, (25), pp.205-232
  • Publisher : The Research Of The Korean Classic
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature > Korean Literature > Korean classic prose

Jeung Sun Hee 1

1목원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Written in the mid-19th century, Yukmidanggi presents the foreign land of China as a place for a rite of passage that enables the protagonist to grow into a mature and successful man. It is also a place that ensures freedom for the women whom he meets and marries throughout his journey. The story’s setting changes from the Silla Dynasty to China and back to Silla in the end. Unlike most classical Korean novels, in which foreigners are ostracized or sacrificed, this story is special in that it portraits the protagonist’s foreign existence as a cause for him to be protected, accepted and assisted to recover his self-reliance. The logic of this narrative reflects an idea that must have been prevalent among the people of the time: that a nice person who is earnestly devoted to his parents is bound to be fortunate and that even a throne can be bestowed to such a person. The protagonist’s blindness and foreign existence seem to express the author’s own feeling of alienation, which is soothed in the story by the protagonist’s successful journey through the foreign land and his sincere courtship and union with the women from the country.

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