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Korean Culture

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Film serves a vital role for the audience, who find preference in it. Other than entertainment, the majority of films serve an educative purpose for its intended audience. Even without being documentaries, some films will still serve the informative function for their target audiences. The movie by Lee Chang Dong Poetry is one of its kind. It serves to inform its audiences about the Korean culture. While countless factors can be analyzed regarding the Korean Culture, the movie specifically analyzes the treatment of women in the Korean culture. The movie has the modern setting, hence the factors drawn from the movie directly relate to the contemporary Korean culture. This essay will analyze the relationship between gender and class, and the relevance given to poetry in life with regard to the Korean culture and with reference to the movie Poetry by Lee Chang Dong.

A person’s societal class is identified as the determining factor on the manner, in which he or she will be regarded in the society. In Poetry, poverty has taken the toll of Yang Mija’s life. Her age does not allow her to work hard in search for a well paying job. Her dressing and her manner of approaching various affairs are suggestive of dire poverty. To the eyes of the audience, Mija is hopeless; hence the low societal class defines her life as miserable.  It follows that each and everything this character tries to achieve is hindered by poverty. For instance, raising her grandson, Wook, was characterized with extreme hardships. Wook’s disobedience and unruliness can be partially attributed to his grandmother’s lack of power due to poverty. In these ways, the character’s societal class only leads her to live in failure.

Yang Mija realizes that her health condition is deteriorating. She suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and can do nothing to prevent her health condition from worsening to dementia. The little that Mija earns for her hard work can only be used to sustain a basic lifestyle, but not hefty medical bills. As this happens, her unruly grandson is involved in the rape, and parents of the other boys involved in the incident, agree to pay money to reduce the impact of the harm their sons inflicted on a young girl. Mija is not in the position to give anything. His unapologetic grandson cannot help in solving the situation either. Through this chronology of incidents, the audience understands the part served by poverty in making the life of Mija unbearable.

Mija’s gender has a lot to contribute to her low class in the Korean society. Her female gender, coupled with old age does not allow her to do tedious work. Therefore, she cannot engage in mind-numbing activities that would possibly elevate her financial status. Mija’s gender also hinders her from working during late hours; hence she can only strain her few hours during the day to maximize what she earns. Again, this is hindered by the fact that she lives at the risk of being raped, and cannot therefore work through the night. Therefore, there is sufficient evidence that women in the Korean culture can only engage in activities reserved for them, and whose earnings cannot sustain their lives.

In spite of all the challenges that threaten to end her life miserably, Mija eventually finds purpose. This happens when she enrolls for the poetry class. She perceives poetry as the definition of beauty. She believes that poetry will help her out of her deteriorating health condition. She also believes that only poetry that can help her forget her hardships. Learning poetry at her age is viewed as the ridiculous and daring commitment by Mija’s community. This is because it would not help her to haincrease her earnings; neither would it reduce her and her grandson’s problems. However, it is only poetry that helps Mija to appreciate the goodness of life, rather than the hardships she encounters daily. Therefore, poetry serves to reduce the impact of the hardships Mija encounters.

Poetry as a theme in this movie is disclosed through the chronology of events. Every event is described poetically. Lee Chang Dong gives the reason and evidence to every incident that takes place in a film. For instance, regardless of the fact that the girl, who was raped, committed suicide, each and every person involved in the rape incident was discovered. Before the girl died, she had left a list of the rapists, the factor that helps the film’s plot development. Regarding the same, it was coincidental that all the other boys involved in raping the girl had parents, who had financial capabilities. The manner in which hardships take the toll of a single individual is depicted in a poetic manner.

Poetry of life is further elaborated in the solution finding process, which is  started by the movie’s characters. The onset of one problem is coupled with another of greater magnitude. As Mija strives to solve these problems using her usual techniques, she realizes that the magnitude of the problems only increases. She only finds the solution when she agrees to ignore the magnitude of her problems and instead appreciate the beauty of life. Lee Chang Dong is careful not to reveal that all problems are not suddenly solved through the introduction of poetry in Mija’s life.  This presents the sufficient proof that life is poetic in nature.

With the suggestion that poetry can be part of a person, whose life is miserable, Lee Chang Dong aims at creating the important implication of poetry. He makes the theme of poetry of life to be the most discrete and recurrent in the film. He names the movie “Poetry”, and even introduces poetry in the life of the main character. By doing this, Lee Chang Dong suggests that the culture of Korea needs to be saved, and it is done through the art like poetry and the culture can be elevated to desirable heights. By identifying the function of poetry as a facet for reducing the magnitude of troubles, Dong presents poetry as the suggestion against depression. Still, if the suppressed classes and genders in the Korean society engage in poetry, they would be able to voice their grievances and suggestions, bringing the Korean authorities on sharp focus by the global community. This could be the turning point for Korea, leading to the respect of all ages and genders regardless of their societal class. Therefore, poetry serves an imperative purpose in the movie, including acting as an eye-opener.

Conclusion

Poetry serves the indispensable function for Korean and global audiences alike. This movie draws the passion of the audience through the efforts of the elderly woman of the low social class. The movie analyzes few but critical themes based on the affairs that shape people’s relationships in the Korean culture. The relationship between Mija’s humility and Wook’s stubbornness holds hopelessness. However, the introduction of Mija’s passion brings hope and audiences can only expect the best out of her newly found indulgence.

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