Modern Literature in Both Korea and China

Essay by tran.pUniversity, Master's December 2003

download word file, 6 pages 5.0 2 reviews

Downloaded 70 times

In the following works, to what extent is an individual struggling with himself/herself on a personal level, and to what degree is that individual grappling with society at large? Illustrate your reasoning with specific quotations from the texts. Discuss The Heartless (1917) by Yi Kwangsu; Wings (1936) by Yi Sing; Sinking (1921) by Yu Dafu; and Creation (1928) by Mao Dun

In the Heartless, Hyongsik, the main character in the story concerns himself more so than with anything else the condition that Korean society is in. He disapproves of the manner in which the general public in Korea was lacking in inspiration and enlightenment to better itself and its people. While the story focuses on the dilemma concerning marriage and whether or not the supposed love between Hyongsik and Sonhyong is a mutual response or one that is based on Sonhyong's duty to comply with tradition and honor parental wishes, there is a more telling personal predicament for Hyongsik.

If society in Korea does not realize that personal growth and evolution are the product of enlightenment, then how can the system of marriage be any different? According to Hyongsik, personal expression and individuality had been hindered due to a lack of illumination not only in his marriage but also all throughout Korea. What's more, the hostilities that had stemmed from the diametrically opposed ideals stuck between old tradition and modernism were preventing people from escaping their frustrations and confusion. An equilibrium had to be reached in order for Hyongsik to resolve his personal and societal concerns.

So, by wrestling with a personal problem, Hyongsik is able to recognize a larger societal problem that parallels his marriage dilemma. In order for Sonhyong to become a better wife she needs to be able to understand why she chose to get engaged...