"A Stray Bullet" Analytical Essay by Peter Pen

"A Stray Bullet"
This paper reviews the South Korean novel "A Stray Bullet" by Yi Pom-son (1920-1982), made into a 1961 black and white film, considered the greatest South Korean film of all time, that tells the story of an impoverished refugee family from the North.
# 62164 | 1,550 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2005
Published on Nov 12, 2005 in Asian Studies (East Asian Cultures) , Literature (World) , English (Analysis)

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This paper explains that "A Stray Bullet" depressingly portrays the poverty and anxiety of post-war years in Seoul by depicting vividly the urban poor in their struggle to preserve their civilization in the face of the despicable socio-economic conditions and of a cultural clash between the traditional Korea and the American G.I's. The author points out that a consistent motif, the painful toothache that tortures Cholho, represents a powerful metaphor for the larger suffering of both his family and the Korean society. The paper concludes that, although the struggling Cholho attempts to solve his problems and escape from the nightmare of his existence, he is still doomed to failure; therefore, like the title, he is a stray bullet with no direction, just like one of the lost generation of the 1960's.

From the Paper:

""A Stray Bullet" begins with introducing the main character, Song Cholho, who struggles with his meager wages as a clerk in a public accountant's office. Cholho is not only a father, brother, husband, son to his family, but the only breadwinner of the household. Silently bearing the burden of supporting his family, he would return everyday after work to his home in the Liberation Village only to find wails from his mother. His elderly mother who is longing to return to the North would "lay there, face to the wall, crying out the single phrase, 'let's go...let's go.'" Given up on his bed-ridden, frenzied mother, Cholho "would just look down at her for a while and then go into the next room.""

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