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A study of the structuralization of moral anxiety and emotions in the ‘dispensation of sexual relationship (sexual intercourse with compassion)’ motif of Korean folktales.

HONG NARAE 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

As reinforcing patriarchal gender politics in late Joseon Dynasty, a single woman who can’t marriage is the typical symbol of a miserable person. People believe a single woman harbors a grudge and it causes plague and drought, or a poor catch of fish and so on. The presence of these women warns the situation that the community does not guarantee the basic rights of human beings. So the main agent of the society always concerns about it. In this thesis, I have studied the ‘dispensation of sexual relationship’(the man has sex with a widow for compassion) themed narrative focusing on two stories which had formed in late Joseon Dynasty, containing a young widow character who has no sexual experience. Though these stories, I pay attention to the narrative structure how it accepts women’s desire and how it makes the gift relationship between man and woman. In the Korean folk narrative, sexual relationship can be an essential mechanism which poor women overcome her situation. But in the case of young widow, their remarriage was prohibited by the system and norms, so even in these stories sexual intercourse motif could not change their life dramatically. On the other side the characters in these stories claim that sexual intercourse and sexual pleasure are the most important thing in the life, consequently these stories interpret the young widow’s desire to sexual stuff only. As the stories arranged the widow’s emotion simply, it is easy to handle her resentment. The man who has sexual relationship with this young widow was valued as a donator who gives her sexual knowledge and pleasure. The narrative transmission group intended to eliminate the moral anxiety easily even structuralize the gift relationship system, disregarding the social responsibility. But these stories was concluded the widow’s suicide, this point ruminates on the purpose of the menfolk and doubts their morality. It is instructed that the leadership class of late Joseon Dynasty was powerless to change the society but aggressive to make a ruling discourses. This kind of narrative are also full of suggestions to understand the contemporary cultural discourse.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.