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Grammar of Redemption and Regeneration: Reading of New Year’s Eve and A Certain Woman through Leo Tolstoy’s Resurrection

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2018, 75(2), pp.271-308
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.75.2.201805.271
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : April 17, 2018
  • Accepted : May 13, 2018
  • Published : May 31, 2018

Joh, Shi Jung 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This is a comparative study of literary relevance and thematic aspects of Yeom Sang-seop’s New Year’s Eve and Arishima Takeo’s A Certain Woman through Leo Tolstoy’s Resurrection as an intermediary between the two works. A female character in A Certain Woman answers her fiance’s letter in New Year’s Eve and in New Year’s Eve impressed by her husband’s letter, a female character makes a will. The two letters written by the men reveal their forgiveness, love, and determination to challenge the world for the sake of their women. The significance of the literary relevance between the two works becomes visible in the process of examining the theme of sin, atonement, redemption or regeneration. The main difference in the light of sin is that while Yoko’s sin in A Certain Woman is linked closely with Christian God, in New Year’s Eve sin is thought in terms of convention and morality. Moreover, the difference in character’s inner side and perception leads to distinctive aspects of redemption. In A Certain Woman, the pursuit of redemption is revealed paradoxically through the struggle and pain Yoko the opponent and traitor goes through. The life of Yoko demonstrates self-existence of a human being in his consciousness of opposition to God. In comparison, Jeong-in Choi, as a result of her awakened moral conscience and critical intellect, makes her own decision yearning for a new life and time and experiences psychological redemption. Furthermore, in New Year’s Eve another psychological turn through her husband is suggested. New Year’s Eve describes ethical responsibility for the present and desire for the future as well as the awakened attitude towards a true life. Reading a narrative of redemption and regeneration paradoxically has us encounter the characters’ witnessing and criticizing the evil in the society and the world in which they are situated. Such narrative can be summed up as a story promising the advent of time in the wake of the night when our mind awakes.

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