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A Study on the meaning and function of "the Korean Remedy Folktales"

  • Journal of Korean Literature
  • 2011, (23), pp.195-226
  • Publisher : The Society Of Korean Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature

Inkyung Lee 1

1인제대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The Remedy Folktales reveal the pain and fears of diseases that men of old times always suffer in their lifetime, and desires to get away diseases. This study tried to analysis the literary features and socio-cultural implications of the Remedy Folktales, which show the public consciousness of disease and remedy in traditional society. Eventually it tried to grasp the meaning and function of "the Korean Remedy Folktales."In the stories, the features of the doctor and his remedy for the sick are shown in various and symbolic fashions. Some doctors tries to adapt theirselves to nature's law and human’s destiny, in saving one's life. Other doctors have been embodied as humanitarian persons who exercise humane medical practises. Such as, they show their compassion for and console the mind of the sick, before care about the illness of the patient itself. The good doctor has a insight into his patient's character and lifestyle, and cures the patient individually and carefully on the basis of the data. In this case, the patient's self-treatment is emphasized as well. It is discussed that doctor's sincerity was more important for curing patients than his medical skills, and diseases could be cured only on mutual trust between the doctor and the patient. And the Remedy Folktales have a significant implication for the warm-hearted doctors who demonstrate humane medical services in the various remedies. The good doctors show medical skills are used as means for practicing perfect virtue. On the other hand, This study explored the symbolism of the medical treatment and the disease, according to "Yin-Yang and the Five Elements theory(陰陽五行說)." The stories emphasize the importance of balance of yin and yang, which exists on all things in heaven and earth. And they give us a severe warning about the great imbalance between yin and yang such as sexual disharmony. Imbalance of yin and yang is very dangerous and undesirable situation that upsets the social order and personal life. Especially, the diseases of the governing class are interpreted as the signs of moral degeneracy and the social corruption. The stories tell us that the best doctor is who cures the social diseases, as well as the body's illness.

Citation status

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