본문 바로가기
  • Home

Diaspora and Identity in Korean-Canadian Essays

  • Korean Language & Literature
  • 2009, (70), pp.321-353
  • Publisher : Korean Language & Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature

Song, Myunghee 1

1부경대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article examines the life of Korean immigrants by referring to "Korean Canadian Literature" published by the Korean-Canadian Writers' Association and the individual collections of essays written by first generation immigrants. Korean-Canadian Essays are more honest than any novel or poem. Since they keep a dual identity, Canadian and Korean, they cannot be grouped solely into one country. Therefore, they consider their literature to be 'immigrant literature'. They acknowledge that Canada is a multicultural society which has a wonderful medical welfare system and a social welfare system. Although they were not born in Canada, they accept Canada as their second native country. That is, it seems that they are satisfied with their immigration in general. However, some immigrants confess that behind the multiculturalism, there is some invisible superiority complex and discriminative treatment. Also, it seems that they feel uneasy about unfair and discriminative treatment their children maybe undergo in the society. Although they call themselves 'Korean-Canadian', many immigrants, especially the first generation reveal their emotional connectedness to their Korean origin. They feel uncomfortable about different complexion, language, custom and a way of thinking. On the other hand, they feel a sense of unity and emotional easiness about their mother country because of food, culture, ancestor and history. They occasionally request that their mother country take a more flexible attitude toward nationality problems and problems concerning Korean immigrants. Characteristics in their essays are as follows : First, their essays express calm matters about immigrant, for example, engaging in an independent enterprise or a service industry of sale nevertheless the higher education level, economical difficulty, and skepticism about immigration. Second, their essays show typical symptoms about cultural shock that appear by moving into a completely different cultural area. That is, a feeling of helplessness about themselves, loneliness, hatred toward white races, regret about immigration, difficulty of communication, a point of difference of thinking, confuse of values, a sense of humiliation about realistic, frustration, etc. are well expressed in them. They frequently describe about homesickness in their essays, it is associated with protecting themselves from cultural shock. On the other hand, their essays sometimes reflect their urge to adapt to the Canadian culture by fusing the cultures of the East and the West. Writing Korean of Korean-Canadian is very significant because it awakens the Korean identity inside the Korean and consciousness of the Korean race. Besides, Korean-Canadian literature itself is readily a respectable spiritual property of Korean-Canadian. Therefore, Korean-Canadian writers need to write with a sense of duty to inherit the Korean heritage and preserve their Korean identity.

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.