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A Comparative Artistic Approach to the ‘Rice Eating Scene’ in <Heungbujeon>

  • The Research of the Korean Classic
  • 2024, (65), pp.153-194
  • Publisher : The Research Of The Korean Classic
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature > Korean Literature > Korean classic prose
  • Received : April 9, 2024
  • Accepted : May 8, 2024
  • Published : May 31, 2024

JEONGWON LEE 1

1서강대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In order to deepen our literary understanding of the rice eating scene in <Heungbujeon>, this paper compares <Heungbujeon> with paintings depicting a meal scene. The paintings of The Last Supper, which recreates the event of the Last Supper as recorded in the Christian Bible, and <Peasant Wedding>, painted by the 16th century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel, were examined. Eating is both a material cycle of nature that mediates life and an act of human civilization. I considered this duality as an important clue to understanding the uniqueness of the work, which deals with the overcoming of materiality and the isolation of the figure. ‘Overcoming Materiality’ is a discussion of how the figures overcome the materiality of the act of eating to achieve a level of civilization, and what that means. In the paintings of The Last Supper, the figures are reverent in the presence of food and isolate the betrayer Judas. The paintings of the Last Supper thus suggest that humans, as spiritual beings, should be oriented toward a community of faith. In <Peasant Wedding>, people eat, drink, and rejoice. In this way, human beings are not limited to spiritual beings, but physicality and social solidarity are affirmed. In <Heungbujeon>, Heungbu's family members cut gourds and eat gluttony. As such, they are seen as regressive beings. However, unlike Imugi and Nolbu, Heungbu's hunger is inherent in a moral tension, as Heungbu's family is committed to ethical eating. Thus, gluttony is understood as an act of satisfying the moral hunger inherent in hunger and rejoicing in the rewards of morality. If eating is an act of expressing and pursuing civilized meaning, that meaning will be realized differently for different people. This is because civilizational meaning belongs to the realm of the mind, and people are in different situations. In Leonardo da Vinci's <Last Supper>, Jesus is isolated. Jesus' calmness expresses that he is the savior and divine providence is transcendence. In Pieter Bruegel's <Peasant Wedding>, the bride is isolated. However, the distinction between the bride and her guests is only temporary, and the bride's smile expresses that the reception in the peasant community is an embodiment of humanity that should be respected. In <Heungbujeon>, Heungbu is isolated. He does not find sympathy from the rest of the family for his family's integrity, his belief in humanity, or his ethical obligation to wait for the wicked to be reformed. However, the good fortune of his brother shows that his isolation is not in vain. His isolation expresses his simple trust in humanity and the difficulty of that trust.

Citation status

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