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On the Characters of 'Sassi Namjeong-Gi' and Its Intention

  • Korean Language & Literature
  • 2009, (70), pp.181-210
  • Publisher : Korean Language & Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature

ByungHeon Chung 1

1숙명여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

'Sassi Namjeong-Gi' is said to be a work suggesting the model of domestic novel. The reason why it may be a good example of a fiction concerning affairs of family members is the author shows not only his intention of writing the novel but also how to make readers to consider characters as real human beings to his followers. There are three major characters in this work; A lady from a noble family, called 'Jeongok Sa', the lawful wife of 'Yeonsoo Yoo', the only male character playing major role in this novel, unwilling to be take his responsibility of balancing between the first wife and his vicious concubine, named 'Chaeran Gyo', the third character of those three. Jeongok Sa, the virtuous woman as a wife of Yeonsoo Yoo, represents the ideal type of housewife in medieval society. She is well-educated enough to be ready for giving up everything she has for fulfilling her obligation as a noble woman in the most difficult situation she may meet. On ordinary occasion when that kind of situation hardly happens, pretending like her seems pretty easy to ordinary females and this seems one of author's intention to educate ladies in Yi dynasty. The vicious concubine, Chaeran Gyo, can be described as a materialist persuading wealth. Apparently, she looked more real human than Jeongok Sa to the ordinary readers lower than noble class in Yi dynasty. However, this is true that she is a woman forced to do like that way by the unseen force of social framework in that era. That is not a personal issue but a public issue. Despite of the fact that social system is to blame, the author tries to hide the real problem of that society by charging her, herself alone. She can be considered as a scapegoat. The head of Yoo's family, Yeonsoo Yoo, has a power over his family but he has no ability to mediate between his wife and concubine. He abandons his authority as a leader. He locates himself as an on-looker. We can discover the fact that whether a family's issue is revealed or not is not the matter of ability of the head of that family from his failure as a husband. He is a stereotyped husband which social framework of Yi dynasty makes. Through the creation of human style that a society demands, this novel not only suggests the goal of the society, but also it reveals problems of that society. The humble lives of concubines and cruel treats toward 'Seoeul' (children from concubines) are generally accepted in Yi dynasty. The characters in this novel may be created from author's purpose of keeping social status of upper-class by presenting the goal and idea of the society with intentional distortion of the reality. Meanwhile, we may find, from the novel, the intention of the author for his own protection against any possible accusation of his criticizing the problems of social systems by elite class which he belongs to in his society.

Citation status

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