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A Study on the Expressive Aspect for Sense of Guilt and Reappearance Problem of Past Memories Displayed in the Novel 『The Memory of Sad Times』 by Kim Won-il

  • Korean Language & Literature
  • 2013, (86), pp.299-324
  • Publisher : Korean Language & Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature

Park Chan Hyo 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

『The Memory of Sad Times』(2001) by Kim Won-il is a chain novel which deals with four elderly men who live in a nursing home and are awaiting their deaths after reminiscing on their painful past. This study focused on the expressive aspect of ‘sense of guilt' of the four elderly men and observed the reappearance of past memories displayed in the work. The comfort woman who is the protagonist, foreigners' whore, a woman confined in patriarchal ideology, a teacher with cleft lip, and a weak intellectual are portrayed as historical marginal figures as well as the victims. However, through the ‘sense of guilt' and compulsive acts which bothered the protagonists, this work displays individual story excluded in public history as well as showed a mechanism where the representation of inflictor/victim was surpassed and the past became reconstructed. Madame Han and Maam Cho Jung distort their past through self-focused confession and do not consider others such as their son or husband. In contrast to this, Scholar Yoon of 「I am afraid」 and Joong Ho Kim of「I do not exist」utilize the strained relations displayed in public history and in between the memories of others to break away from self-justification and view the past in an introspective manner. The past cannot be help but become reconstructed from the current time according to the external and internal perspectives. However, in this work, the elderly-men stutter or speak in an illogical way due to their old age and a moment is suggested when they face their original sin in a paradoxical manner. Additionally, the return of the past is experienced through non-verbal phenomenon of ‘physical body where original sin is imprinted' such as the body diagnosed with dementia, abnormalities in bones of lower body and stuttering symptoms, body fighting against disease, and loss of eyesight. Here, the reader is able to encounter the history of individuals who were excluded from the public discussion as well as the pain in the past history of Korea.

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