2017 Sejong Writing Competition

Winning Entries :: Essays :: Junior third place
Show Gratitude for Others

The Goblin’s Club, a Korean folktale retold by Hinz Insu Fenkl describes two brothers, one who is indulged, haughty and lackadaisical, the other brother, diligent with a heart full of gratitude. It is a tale of the younger brother’s luck and how his older brother is unappreciative and believes everything good should come to him. In the end it is the older brother who deserves a deplorable consequence for his ingratitude. The literal meaning of the story might seem at first that the younger brother was just lucky, but readers who take a closer look realize that the older brother was selfish and jealous, even though he had all he needed for his happiness. Unfortunately, that was not enough to satisfy him, and it lead him straight into misfortune. In this story, it is what goes around comes around because the older brother took all the wealth and hoarded it to himself, and later the younger brother became wealthy after being poor for so long. It was almost as if the brothers switched lives. Because of the older brothers sadness, he decided to make his life better by trying to follow his younger brother’s path and the repercussions had a substantial effect on his life. Because this folktale was from long ago, this aspect of culture may not still be thriving, but once upon a time family ranking was very important and was a big part of people's lives.

The younger brother’s actions were from the heart when the acorns were falling on him and he acknowledged them in a way of joy. The older brother’s decision to try to become more wealthy was not meant to hurt the younger brother, but he only cared about himself, so he did not have anyone to stop him and help him make the right choice. If the older brother had not been so focused in succeeding in his own life, he probably would have shared his wealth with the less fortunate. The younger brother recounted his adventure in the woods, where he found his riches, to his brother. The story is both rags to riches, and riches to rags, because money cannot buy happiness. The older brother was wealthy, and it was natural for him to feel the need for more, but that drove him to be greedy, which did not result well for him. It seems as if his wealth tore him apart from the things that he had once loved, such as friends. This lead him to be depressed and hungry to fulfil his wish for more, and more.

The benefits of the younger brother’s wealth, such as helping others and making others happy, were positive, rather than the negative outcome of the older brother’s greed. The older brother was tortured by the goblins for his actions. He was living well on the outside, but on the inside he was lonely, crippled and dispirited. The younger brother spent his money on the people who needed it. This experience changed the brothers’ lives, and taught them what was truly important.

The “The Goblins’ Club,” is a reminder to be grateful and appreciative of others and how that impacts lives. There are many examples of this everywhere, the time you don’t get invited to your friend’s sleepover, but you still give them a gift, or even wish them happy birthday. One can not be part of everything. It would be exhausting, but we fundamentally desire to be included because when a laugh is shared or a hug is given, we feel wanted. Instead we can appreciate what we are part of and how that makes us feel. Not being included can make others feel badly about themselves, but they should appreciate the friends they have and the experiences they are included in. Staying angry at something as simple as spilled milk is is not worth it; one needs to move on and choose who they want and make choices for the better.This folktale might have been created when society was changing and it was necessary to take a step back, and have a reminder of what was vital to Korean culture, and having a good understanding of what is important. From a Korean book called When My Name Was Keoko, there are similar culture aspects to this folktale as well as character development. In this that book, the younger sibling named Sun-hee is given less privileges than the older brother, Tae-yul, resulting in totally different personalities from the characters. Similar to this folktale, the Tae-yul took on challenges that changed his life in many ways, his were not as extreme as the older brother’s challenges in this story. The younger brother/ sister had alike aspects from both stories that demonstrated Korean culture, they were not as accepted, but rolled with it and eventually good came out of it.This Demonstrates how the themes in both stories are alike.

Showing gratitude for others is so crucial and necessary, because putting others before yourself is a big step that most are not willing to take. When it happens, the world becomes better. Friends have someone who they can rely on and know that they care. Showing gratitude helps oneself become happier in a way that is not stressful and that person will have someone who will be proud of them. There will be a time when one will want others to be excited when they achieve something. Gratitude and being focused on improving other people's’ lives will make a huge difference; that is all one needs to succeed. The Goblin’s Club demonstrates how caring only about oneself will result in loneliness and depression and how by sharing and being generous changes everything for the better.