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A study on the labor reality in Lee Buk-myeong’s novels -Focused on the process of change in social situation and labor reality-

  • Korean Language & Literature
  • 2022, (121), pp.141-174
  • Publisher : Korean Language & Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature
  • Received : June 29, 2022
  • Accepted : July 27, 2022
  • Published : July 31, 2022

Kim Jeong-Nam 1

1가톨릭관동대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to examine the changes in the labor reality in Lee Buk-myeong's novels according to social situations. Novelist Lee Buk-myung started as a literary writer who embodies the vivid reality of workers lives in relation to the Bolshevik line of KAPF in the colonial era. His literary flow can be brought up by the following periodical segmentation. First, in the novel by Lee Buk-myung, the oppression mechanism that he directly or indirectly experienced while working as a worker at the Joseon Nitrogen Fertilizer Factory in Noguchi(野口) Konzern for three years from 1927 is concretely embodied. This is embodied labor reality of factory environment full of noise and stench, industrial accidents related to injuries, diseases and deaths, layoffs and unauthorized dismissals through physical examinations, and ethnic discrimination resulting from duties, wages, and various types of treatment. Second, it is possible to find the labor reality symbolized by the accumulation mechanisms in which capital and imperial ideology continuously tame workers and the aspect of worker resistance at the points of awakening that reject it. These acclimation mechanisms are achieved in the Joseon Nitrogen Fertilizer Factory through religious magazines that exhort integrity and diligence based on Protestant ethics. However, the tragedy of a colleague who eventually dies due to an industrial accident and unlawful dismissal becomes a trigger for the workers to start the May Day struggle. In addition, it criticizes the acclimation mechanisms of the imperial educational ideology through the narrative in which an individual who has been disciplined by the ethics of integrity and honesty under the general education system of Japanese imperialism quickly turns to an action based on traditional and instinctive agent in a dramatic crisis situation. Third, Lee Buk-myung's work, written as part of a production novel, a national literature that was forced on writers under the wartime mobilization system at the end of the colonial period, was intended to be a narrative of irony in order to indirectly criticize it under the oppressive situation of patriotism in the rear. It seems to follow the logic of the Japanese imperialist patriotism in the rear by using a sick engineer with no field experience, but implicitly, not only was I touched by the tenacious life of grassroots, not the spirit of protecting the country with electricity. Ironically, he criticizes the labor reality of wartime mobilization under the new system of Konoe(近衛)'s cabinet by causing bitter laughter by his weak and sloppy behavior as an engineer. Fourth, the period of peaceful construction that came along with the liberation and the rapidly changing labor reality under the post-war reconstruction construction and socialist political system is eloquent as the typical form of labor ethic of state socialism. This leads to the strengthening of a work ethic of selflessness that taboos individual desires and turns all labor into social work, and leads to a monolithic leadership system that follows it like a halo. Therefore, whole society is transformed into a factory state in the state of unity of ‘life=labor’ and ‘individual=nation(people)’ by driving all individual lives into a social plaza. In order for this work ethic to permeate all parts of society and for the state to become a factory for production, education and agitation work must start from the family, the smallest unit of society, and the ячейка unit within the factory. Public labor as a product of forced ideology and refinement, and propaganda novels written in the dimension of public-refinement, to reinforce it, can be said to be another acclimation mechanism that forms the fundamental basis of North Korea's view of labor and art.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.