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The Cultural History of Butchers through Hwang Soon-won’s “The Sun and the Moon” (Ilwol)

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2024, 81(1), pp.9-32
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.81.1.202402.9
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : January 22, 2024
  • Accepted : February 6, 2024
  • Published : February 28, 2024

Kim, Jonguck 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Hwang Sun-won’s novel “The Sun and the Moon” (Ilwol), published in the 1960s, received much attention both within and outside the literary world for its treatment of the issue of the butcher. The novel dealt with minorities’ response to social discrimination through brothers from a butcher background. In the novel, the older brother regards his job as sacred, while the younger brother becomes a bourgeoisie while concealing his humble status. This narrative structure was not a unique pattern of this work, but rather a feature founded in many works dealing with minorities. However, in this work, Hwang Soon-won described the butcher as a person discriminated against due to his social status, which is anachronistic considering that 70 years have passed since the class system was abolished. In fact, regarding the butcher’s life during the Japanese colonial period, professional hatred was more realistic than class discrimination. Nevertheless, cracks occurred in the narrative due to the author’s narrow view of defining the butchers only by their social status identity. These limitations were not unique to this work. As a minority, the butcher was at the intersection of not only social status but also occupation, class, and gender. Only by considering this complex perspective will it be possible to reveal in detail the aspects of butchers’ existence and explore various possibilities for solidarity

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