"The Glass Shield" by Kim Jung-hyuk
(Translated by Kevin O'Rourke)
for adult division, 2023 essay competition
PROMPT for “The Glass Shield”
It may help to know that among Korean critics, Kim Jung-hyuk is often called an “everythingist” for his wide-ranging interests and abilities (he even draws his own cartoons). “The Glass Shield” is one of Kim’s signature stories for its unusual tone and attitude but also for its confrontation of a major theme: What is art? It would be easy to classify “The Glass Shield” as a postmodern story and not apply standard rules to it, but the story is also very traditional. Describe how Kim uses both traditional and unexpected approaches to addressing the central theme of the story. Be sure to discuss the relationship between the unnamed narrator and his friend M along with the interrelated images in the story (lines and circles, for example) and the role they play in the central drama.
The Glass Shield