Available for the first time in English, the ten short stories by modern Korean women collected in Questioning Minds: Short Stories by Modern Korean Women, translated by Yung-Hee Kim, touch in one way or another on issues related to gender and kinship politics. All of the protagonists are women who face personal crises or defining moments in their lives as gender-marked beings in a Confucian, patriarchal Korean society. Their personal dreams and values have been compromised by gender expectations or their own illusions about female existence. They are compelled to ask themselves “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” “What are my choices?” Each story bears colorful and compelling testimony to the life of the heroine. Some of the stories celebrate the central character’s breakaway from the patriarchal order; others expose sexual inequality and highlight the struggle for personal autonomy and dignity. Still others reveal the abrupt awakening to mid-life crises and the seasoned wisdom that comes with accepting the limits of old age.
Hawai‘i Studies on Korea
November 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3409-8 / $24.00 (PAPER)