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A Study on the Social Critical Consciousness and the Way of Resolution of Social Conflict in <Seong Jinsa-Jeon>

  • The Research of the Korean Classic
  • 2024, (65), pp.195-222
  • Publisher : The Research Of The Korean Classic
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature > Korean Literature > Korean classic prose
  • Received : March 19, 2024
  • Accepted : May 8, 2024
  • Published : May 31, 2024

Jung Inhyouk 1

1가톨릭관동대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

<Seong Jinsa-Jeon> was written by Lee, Ok, a writer in the late Joseon Dynasty. It deals with a fraud case that Jinsa Seong, Hui-ryong in Sangju went through. However, the social critical consciousness of <Seong Jinsa-Jeon> draws attention to the serious economic imbalance in late Joseon society and class conflicts between the yangban and the common people, the rich and the poor through the appearance of refugees caused by famine, not just in fraud cases. In particular, the essence of <Seong Jinsa-Jeon> lies in its approach to resolving societal conflicts. The purpose of this study is to the perspective on and proposed solutions to conflict within <Seong Jinsa-Jeon> with a particular focus on the relationship between its two protagonists, Seong, Hui-ryong and a beggar. The narrator argues that Seong, Hui-ryong's self-refinement[謹身] was instrumental in resolving the conflict, exploring the broader connotation of such self-refinement. Within <Seong Jinsa-Jeon> the ‘door’ represents both the starting point of the incident and is the boundary that separates the space between Seong, Hui-ryong and the beggar. The space in <Seong Jinsa-Jeon> is divided into a rich inner space inside the door where the rich reside along the boundary of the door, and an outer space outside the door of the refugees who become beggars and wander after losing their homes. Therefore, it is recognized that the ‘door’ should be closed and protected for the rich, and open for the beggars. Nonetheless, the door also serves as a conduit that connects and associates the two worlds inside and outside. By opening the door and recognizing the beggar as another subject, Seong, Hui-ryong facilitates conflict resolution through dialogue. Face-to-face communication fosters empathy centered on the other, paving the way for conflict resolution. In other words, ‘face-to-face’ is to recognize the other outside the door as another subject like me. ‘Self-refinement’ encompasses not only self-cultivation but also placing others at the core of one's concern. The possibility of resolving such conflicts offers insights into bridging the gap between the reality of laws and legal sentiments. In a space governed by legal standards, endless opposition between legality and illegality persists due to a binary perception that merely seeks a stronger law to satisfy one's legal sentiments. Recognizing the other as a mutual subject through communication allows for attentiveness to one's conscience, unveiling hidden truth, and enabling forgiveness through empathy. This is the way to resolve conflict suggested by <Seong Jinsa-Jeon>. Although it is a short work, what <Seong Jinsa-Jeon> has achieved is truly great.

Citation status

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