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The Traces of the Loss of Paternal Rights in Korean Classical Poetryin Late Choseon Dynasty

  • The Research of the Korean Classic
  • 2019, (45), pp.33-74
  • DOI : 10.20516/classic.2019.45.33
  • Publisher : The Research Of The Korean Classic
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature > Korean Literature > Korean classic prose
  • Received : March 29, 2019
  • Accepted : May 20, 2019
  • Published : May 31, 2019

Park, Sang-Young 1

1대구가톨릭대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examines the traces of the loss of paternal rights in the late Choseon dynasty (especially Saseolsijo, Gasa) and its cultural meanings. In recent years, ‘fathers’ have emerged as an important icon in cultural discourse as much as women, but the research interest in classical poetry is one-sided. Paternal authority is generally used to refer to the male dominance of a woman and includes both the domestic discourse “father / husband” and the national and social discourse “King/the law of the father”. The concept and meaning of ‘father’ were different according to the times, but in the traditional society, these distinctions were rather mutually compatible and recognized rather than distinct. In the concept and category of these rights, we can see traces of loss of paternal rights in devoted characters, rebellious sons, the loving father, the subject who feels the weight of reality, and the regretful fathers. Generally, deviating characters are the ‘wives’ who commit adultery or the daughter-in-law who are lazy and eloquent. They tend to think the absence of the ‘an able body man’ seriously as the symbol of the loss of masculinity, and abandon the fathers/husbands. The rebellious subjects are mainly minorities, and they also produced ‘the father of pleasure’ on the spot by shaking the powerful father. In addition, they had to confront realistic problems of household management with the loss of paternal rights. The loss of paternal rights caused by ‘pain/sickness’ was also linked to the self-consciousness of the father-in-law and shows the sentiment of regret. The traces of this loss of paternal rights show the duality of ‘escaping from the father’ and ‘rushing toward him’, raising the huge aesthetical problem of resistance, desire, and modernity in the culture of the late Choseon Dynasty. Particularly, the latter shows a desire for the recovery of the paternal rights which put the escaping subjects from the father into the system and it appears in the manner in which the third person admonishes, the way the subject experiences internalizing and disciplining of the “Father’s Law”, and the dogmatic manner of admonishing the marrying daughter. Considering that ‘the father’ is a cultural component, and is a meaningful entity that brings humanity from the natural life of survival into the human life of culture and shows a constant network with society, it is meaningful to examine the trace of the loss of paternal rights. This is because it is the basis for revealing the transforming cultural history of the present day besides how the family is collapsing. It is also linked to the process of restoring the lost father and seeking a new father figure.

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