본문 바로가기
  • Home

The Generational Differences of Korean American Diaspora in the Plays of Sung Rno, Julia Cho, and Mia Chung

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2020, 33(1), pp.153-182
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : March 6, 2020
  • Accepted : April 14, 2020
  • Published : April 30, 2020

Hyung Shik Lee 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The aim of this paper is to examine different aspects of Korean American diaspora in the plays of Sung Rno, Julia Cho, and Mia Chung. Born and raised as second generation Korean Americans, these playwrights delineate how different generations of immigrants exhibit different degrees of assimilation and suffer from the anxieties of identity formation. I discuss the plays of these playwrights through the lens of diaspora paradigm and suggest that even though the degrees of assimilation into American may be different among these generations, the diasporic state of being “suspended between countries of origin and adopted homelands” apply to all of them. The first-generation Korean immigrants were forced to move to America because of war, famine, and economic difficulties. With little educational background in Korea, they could not successfully adapt to American society due to lack of language proficiency and were isolated from their spouses and children, not to mention the community surrounding them. In contrast, the second wave immigrants came over to achieve their American dream, that is, to enjoy affluent living and send their children to prestigious American universities. However, the characters in Cleveland Raining and Durango fail to assimilate into American community or working environment and their failure ultimately leads their family into disfunctional situation. Even with their fluent English and education, their children also suffer from racialized environment and have difficulty constructing subject positions in America. Mia Chung’s You for Me for You is unique in that it deals with a North Korean refugee. Junhee, one of the two sisters, immigrates to America to acquire an American citizenship so that she could rescue her sister held in custody in North Korea. The play contrasts the totalitarian system of North Korea with consumerism of the U.S. on the stage of magic realism. Junhee’s itinerary from North Korea to the US and then to North Korea back again depicts Korean nomad’s diaspora which still continues in the globalized world.

Citation status

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

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.