Lashing: Notes from a Prison Journal

20th Century Korean Literature

Book 2
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
4

 The short story “Lashing” (1946), in showing conflicts among prisoners under extreme duress in jail, exposes humanity’s selfishness, which forces suffering upon others for the sake of comfort. The first-person narrator pressures an elderly man into acquiescing in receiving a physical punishment that he had wished to appeal. The narrator’s reactions after driving the elderly man to the whipping platform and hearing his screams builds extreme tension and impels readers to reflect on the ugly aspects of human character.
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About the author

 Kim Dong-in (1900-1951), together with Yi Gwang-su, is one of early modern Korean literature’s representative writers of “pure” fiction. His debut work “The Sorrow of the Weak,” which appeared in the journal Changjo (Creation) in 1919, is considered the first Korean short story to focus in earnest on character development and psychological analysis. A clear, concise style is the hallmark of Kim’s writing. As the first author to adopt the plain past tense “-ieottda” style and to establish an objective stance in fiction with a third person point of view, he is regarded as having employed a realistic technique and well-rounded character types, in contrast to Yi Gwang-su, who saw literature as a vehicle for enlightenment and whose characters were more flatly drawn.

At the same time, Kim declared that fiction should create an autonomous world whose value inhered within itself. His belief in “art for art’s sake” led him to a unique method of composition which he likened to handling puppets. In Kim’s view of literary creation a writer must act like a puppet master, controlling his characters, just as God created human beings. This attitude contributes unbridled free rein to a writer’s imagination.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
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Published on
Dec 11, 2013
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Pages
34
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ISBN
9788993360196
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Collections / Asian / General
Literary Collections / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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