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A Concept of Truthfulness and Righteousness in <Majangjeon>

  • Korean Language & Literature
  • 2013, (84), pp.177-196
  • Publisher : Korean Language & Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature

Kim,Su-Jung 1

1조선대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Truthfulness has been generally used as being part of justice, in particular, it has been considered as relating to righteousness among friends. The righteousness in a neighborhood and among friends refers to an equality- oriented virtue worldwide. The Confucianism which prevailed in the Joseon period put an emphasis on having a noble mind and proper friendships. However, it was hard to find true friendships and truthfulness was distorted or disappeared. Although Yeonam Park Ji-won was born from a noble family, he poignantly criticized noble society where truthfulness had disappeared. He parodied society in <Majangjeon>, the first of his nine early stories. Through the debates of three lunatics living as beggars near Cheonggyecheon Stream, he leads us to the conclusion that friendship and honor cunningly used hypocritical feelings with power, honor, and hidden interests. He suggests that it is natural to ridicule the noble class who are without truthfulness and the behavior of men of distinction in history are just the skills of brokers if they are not truthful. Yeonam organized the concept of truthfulness at a time when he began to build a friendship with Damheon Hong Dae-yong, who visited him a few years after the <Majangjeon> was written. After he understood the righteousness of friends suggested by Damheon, he realized what it really is. Then he was wary of those who followed power, honor, and interest, and made efforts to communicate with common people. Through this, he came to a profound realization that truthfulness is the base of righteousness among friends and it is a means to awaken humanity. He recognized that a society without truthfulness would lead to secularization as the justice of humanity would collapse. The concept of truthfulness examined through <Majangjeon> is summarized as follows:truthfulness can not be expected from brokage. However, the nobility and brokers seemed to be alike in their skills in dealing with friendships or love. Even lunatics begging for food in Hanyang ridiculed how hypocritical a friendship of honor was. The noblemen flattered to gain fame and wealth while pretending to be indifferent to them. If true friendship, which is oriented toward equality is achieved, it should be followed by truthfulness. It is a righteous concept derived from the awakening of humanity.

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