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Return of the Ghosts: A New Trend in the Plays of Korean-American Playwrights

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2007, 20(2), pp.155-180
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

이형식 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Lee, Hyung ShikThe emergence of the new generation of Asian-American playwrights has drawn critical attention from both the critics and audience with their distinct dramatic techniques and themes. Whereas the first wave of Asian-American theatre concentrated on the realistic truth-telling mode of theatre, these contemporary playwrights employ postmodern and magic realism to explore the traumatic experience of Asian-Americans, whose 'in-between' existence has suffered from marginalization, discrimination, and obliteration. This paper argues that Sung Rno and Julia Cho, two prominent Korean-American playwrights, delineate and liberate the "buried, repressed, or otherwise erased traumas" of Korean-American immigrants, their children, adoptees, hybrid kids, and Korean wives married to American husbands, by letting the ghosts return to their loved ones. In Rno's Cleveland Raining, the ghosts of father and mother return to their children and urge them to "remember to forget" the past and move on to the future with a new concept of family. Julia Cho's The Architecture of Loss traces the suffering of the family to its origin, Richard's traumatic experience during the Korean War. All the members of the family hurt one another in the name of love. However, the return of the father triggers the return of Nora's and David's ghosts in the form of fantasy and dream to assuage and heal the wounds of the family.

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