Kim Sŭng-ok’s Literary Response to Pak Chŏng-hŭi’s Re-Making of Korean Society
Vol. 21 No. 1
pp. 309~331 (all 23 pages)
conservatize, re-Confucianize, military style mobilization, societal super-ego, id, mass identity, resistance
Kim Sŭng-ok’s early literature has been extensively talked about in regard to a number of themes including as a critique of western capitalism. However, there has been almost no analysis of how some of his early fiction can be read as a response to Pak Chŏng-hŭi’s attempt to create a modern Korean mass identity through conservatizing and re-Confucianizing the nation by means of a powerful military-style mobilization project. After positing the existence of something called “a world of one’s own” in a story titled “Saengmyŏng yŏnsŭp” (Practice for life, 1962) and incorporating a clearly Freudian super-ego vs. Id clash into the plot, Kim Sŭng-ok writes two more stories that can be read as having strong elements of resistance to Pak Chŏng-hŭi’s totalizing project: “Yŏksa” (Strongman, 1963) and “Mujin kihaeng” (Record of a journey to Mujin, 1964). In these stories, his protagonists make efforts to resist the totalizing, subsuming effects of the homogenization and mobilization that appear in the texts and that can be traced to such efforts by the Pak regime. This article will analyze these stories for their attempts to resist the domination of a societal super-ego represented by Pak Chŏng-hŭi’s patriarchal persona and mass mobilization efforts using state power. A psycho-analytic approach will be used to show how Kim attempted to create an individuated ego that could withstand (or escape) the tyranny of this societal super-ego.