A. Blurred Lines: A Postmodernist Conception 86 of Korean Literature through Oh Sooyeon’s ‘I am Food’

Enrico Caldona


One contemporary movement of importance to literary scholars is the postmodern movement. Western literature has, in fact, contributed much literature uncharacteristic of—in varying degrees—previously established conventions of literary work, which has partly served as an impetus for postmodern literature. Following this new wave of literature are theories that try to make sense of this new wave, though most have failed to capture an essence applicable to the majority of the works. One of the prevailing theories by Chris SnippWalmsley has come close to determining such an essence through deemphasizing specific characteristics and referring to general trends. The theory states that postmodernism offers a moment of tension: a temporary, provisional, and always precarious middle ground that we can occupy so as to see things differently. In the realm of world literature, specifically eastern literature, the theory remains to be explored. Recent additions to Korean literature, for example, have been showing a characteristically postmodern trend. For this reason, as an attempt to introduce this theory to Korean literature, this paper sought to include the idea of Chris Snipp-Walmsley as a framework to literary analysis of possible postmodern Korean literature, of specific interest being Oh Soo-yeon‟s I Am Food. This paper does so by adopting the idea of Chris Snipp-Walmsley as a theoretical lens, and through exploring the concept of „eating‟ in Korea starting from lexicologist definitions of the concept towards a phenomenologist expansion of discourse on the concept. The undertakings presented in this paper showed that Oh Soo-yeon speaks of the concept of „eating‟ in multiple levels, each presenting a unique postmodernist angle arguably unique to Korean (or at least Eastern) literature, through an arguably postmodern literary style. Oh Soo-yeon‟s I Am Food then, could be considered as a testament to the postmodernist movement in Korean literature.

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