2015 Sejong Writing Competition
Adult prompt: "Run, Dad!" by Kim Aeran
Kim Aeran made her literary debut while she was still in her early 20s, and "Run, Dad!" which is one of her best-known works, is characterized by a young, first person narrator, whose voice is very lively and engaging. Because of the accessibility of this narrator, and her apparent naivete, many readers do not pay close attention to the sophistication of the story. The narrator is one we would classify as "unreliable," and we get the story only through her point of view. Discuss some of the unreliable qualities of the story. What underlying features of the story (imagery, structure, irony) contribute to our understanding of what is really going on in the narrator's relationship to her father, her mother (and to the reader)? (You will want to consider the narrator's telling of a story within the story, for example.)
Senior prompt: "Mama and the Boarder" by Chu Yo-Sop
Chu’s "Mama and the Boarder," one of the most popular and well-known short stories in modern Korean literary history, reads as a stylistic and thematic anachronism to contemporary readers. But it is important to remember that is was published in 1935, when the social conditions for Korean women and the nature of the short story were both very different. Some critics say that Chu's use of the naïve narrator Ok-hŭi is the greatest strength of the story, but it is also one of its problems, especially from a contemporary perspective. Explain how Chu uses that point of view for a range of purposes (for example: plot, dramatic irony, characterization, theme). Are there other literary works that share this quality? You may point out one or two and discuss Chu's story in comparison.
Junior prompt: Read a Korean folktale and write about one of three topics — a) your interpretation of the folktale and its creation, b) why you disagree with it, or c) which character you relate to the best.