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Gyubanggasa in modernization age and school as a public system - Focusing on <Saengjogamguga>

  • The Research of the Korean Classic
  • 2015, (31), pp.275-307
  • Publisher : The Research Of The Korean Classic
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature > Korean Literature > Korean classic prose

Jeong-Sun Yu 1

1홍익대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examines perception of school by women in modernization age, by focusing on gyubanggasa created in the time, <Saengjogamguga>. Beginning to be established at the end of 19th century, school was a product of modern system, where knowledge and culture was educated. Therefore the keyword “School” in this age reflects the passion of women for knowledge, as well as understanding of public system and desire for social activity. In <Saengjogamguga>, where the writer Sa-ho Lee looks back at her life, she as a woman of old age understands school in standpoint of a female student. School, an aspect forming the social customs of the time, was one of new cultural elements in comparison to the ‘old ways’. School was understood as a symbol that could be identified with the existence of female student, a new woman. Consequently school was perceived as a place combined with social life, such as free love and divorce, resulting people to look at school in ethical point of view. At the same time, being conscious of existence of female student was also awakening intellectual desire and awareness of relative deficiency. As a result, school as an idea was overwhelmed by the symbol of female student existence, and people had double perspective when understanding school. Because of this, emergence of school did not have significant influence in consciousness of Old Women, but it did not cause stagnation of their craving for social activity. Women of old generation was symbol of sacrifice and obedience, and was understood as stagnant female. Especially in the 1930s, under wartime mobilization system of imperialism, virtue of wise mother and good wife was purposely encouraged. However, Old Women intended to realize their individual social recognition while maintaining the collective value of tradition and family. Consequently they expressed social responsibility and anti-Japan consciousness. This is different aspect from wise mother/good wife trapped inside private area, or sacrificial maternity as a means.

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.