본문 바로가기
  • Home

Multilayers of Masculinities and Male Gender Practice in the ‘Hwejeol Fiction(Stories about Men Breaking His Faith)’ of the Late Joseon Dynasty

  • The Research of the Korean Classic
  • 2024, (64), pp.261-300
  • Publisher : The Research Of The Korean Classic
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature > Korean Literature > Korean classic prose
  • Received : January 15, 2024
  • Accepted : February 7, 2024
  • Published : February 29, 2024

Lee Chae-Eun 1

1서강대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the late Joseon Dynasty, a group of novels called ‘Hwejeol Fiction(Stories about Men Breaking His Faith)’ appeared. They shared the narrative that the heterosexual sexuality of the male character is confirmed through tests. This narrative means the process of confirming the heterosexual sexuality of individual men and granting them membership in the homosocial communities. This work was examined the homosocial between mens through three works of Hwejeol Fiction: ‘Jibong-jeon’, ‘Oyuran-jeon’, and ‘Samseon-gi’. First, in ‘Jibong-jeon’, a dominant man who rejects heterosexual sexuality and has the potential to discord with homosocial standards appears as the main character. In this text, as the relationship between the dominant men is focused, the virtue of the public relationship between them is particularly emphasized to sustain the male bond. The dominant male protagonist never becomes profanity in the process, and is embraced into the community after the interruption. Next, in ‘Oyuran-jeon’, an immature man who pursues hegemonic masculinity appears. The narrative deals with the process of growing these immature men into true dominant men. He grows up with the help of men in private relationships such as family and friends, and in the process, a humorous episode in which they are shown there naked bodies. At the end of the narrative, they transforms into a being who embodies full hegemonic masculinity and lives happily as a member of the homosocial community. Lastly, ‘Samseon-gi’ is distinguished from the previous two types in that it shows the practice of a newly adjusted ‘alternative masculinity’ rather than actively incorporating into the homosociality by breaking personal beliefs. Here, women have much more active voices and self-awareness than in the previous two types. Since the gender practice of the male protagonist poses the greatest threat to the maintenance of male same-sex society, unlike other narratives, hostile forces that block him appear, showing explicit hostility toward the protagonist. In the end, the protagonist is not fully incorporated into the existing homosocial society but is incorporated into a different world. The fact that most of these narratives written in Chinese characters, have been mainly enjoyed between male readers. It suggests that the enjoyment of narratives itself can be an practice for male readers’ homosocial solidarity. The existence of a long-running these narratives clearly reveals that the concept of masculinity, which on the other hand seems to be a firm power, is only a fragile component that is constantly challenged, but it also has great implications today in that it also tells us how difficult and can have a great influence on the existing male model holding hegemony.

Citation status

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

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