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The Maternal Feminine And Female Genealogies

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Chapter Summary

The maternal is an interesting thematic space within contemporary Korean women's literary fiction, mainly because motherhood has very rarely been conceptualized in terms of oppression in the Korean cultural context. The prevalence of discussing motherhood in relation to mother-son relationships stems from the fact that mother-power was, until relatively recently at least, engendered within and depended on the mother's willingness to ensure the success of male genealogies. Through portraying a family of victims of a societal system that is built around material values, the maternal feminine untainted by economic considerations is revealed as but an illusion. The narratives thus challenge the excessively idealized images of motherhood in Korea which focus on male genealogies, and through this expose the effects of the continual symbolic 'motherlessness' of generations of women. The task at hand is thus more than simply challenging the patriarchal view of the maternal as the totality of female identity.

Keywords: Korea; male genealogies; maternal feminine; motherhood; motherlessness



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    Representations of Femininity in Contemporary South Korean Women's Literature — Recommend this title to your library
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