강경애의 『어머니와 딸』과 에디스 워튼의 『연락(宴樂)의 집』에 나타난 어머니의 유산 - “삭임”과 허영의 문제를 중심으로
Mothers" Legacies of Mother and Daughter of Kyungae Kang and The House of Mirth of Edith Wharton: Oki"s Sagim (Self-Cultivation) and Lily"s Vanity
This article is a pragmatic application of the theory of literary parallelism in the comparison of Kang Kyungae and Edith Wharton though their lives and their novels, Mother and Daughter and The House of Mirth. This study is fundamentally motivated by two principal objectives; to discover the similarities of the two writers lives beyond the nation and race and to discover the differences of the Mothers" legacies in two novels. These two writers don"t share much similarity in their cultural and historical background but their works present a basis for comparative literature in the sense that they have very important commonalities in their lives (childhood, marriage and literature) and backgrounds in their novels showing women"s reality, agony, anger and the process of their survival in the male-dominated social structure with realism. The central issue in Both Kang"s Mother and Daughter and Wharton"s The House of Mirth is the "Woman Question". Both Oki and Lily, the heroines of the novels experience the courses of dissatisfaction and rebellion but Oki arrives in the terminal of rebirth through the long process of self-identification and self-cultivation while Lily chases money and power using her beauty and youth till she finally arrives in the place of eternal peace and death. Oki, the heroine of Mother and Daughter has a positive legacy of sagim (self-cultivation) from her two mothers (biological mother and Mother in Law). Sagim" of Korean "Han" starts from negative emotions such as anger, anguish, despair, setback, refinement, and sorrow until it finally arrives in positive emotions such as forgiveness, love, generosity, reconciliation, etc through continual inner reflection and continual endurance and struggle to purchase their own power. Through the long journey of "sagim" Oki finally achieve the power and wisdom to stand up for herself and go forward with a positive and progressive life. From this journey she can clearly recognize her true selfhood and reality around her. On the contrary to Oki, Lily, the heroine of The House of Mirth has a negative legacy of vanity from her mother Mrs. Bart. Mrs. Bart" goal of life was to gain money and power from men by using her daughter"s beauty and youth. She also wanted to pass her philosophy or legacy to her daughter Lily. Lily also wants to revive herself in the lofty world by outwardly begging support from other persons (other men). She moves to find her true identity through the emotional process of rebellion, renunciation, and isolation, but she fails to look inward to develop her independent strength. Both Edith Wharton and Kyungae Kang desire women to stand firmly on the base of their own independent strength through sincere inner reflection of themselves. Both writers encourage women who are suffering from anger and scars not to abandon themselves even though reality is tough and cruel, but to gain the strength of their own accomplishments and be reborn by reflections and cultivation on themselves.
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