2016 Sejong Writing Competition
Adult prompt: The Glass Shield" (2008) by Kim Chunghyŏk (also romanized as Kim Jung-hyuk)
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.
Senior prompt: "Waxen Wings" (1999) by Ha Sŏngnan (also romanized as Ha Seong-nan)
Ha Sŏngnan is famous for what Korean critics call her "microscopic" (and often dispassionate) descriptions that transform everyday reality into a heightened awareness. Her story "Waxen Wings" seems to be a story about the repeated failures in the life of the character named "Birdie." By American standards the story is probably a tragedy, but it does not follow the typical structure for that form. Is the story a tragedy? What is the underlying structure of "Waxen Wings," and how does the use of the second person as the point of view change your reading of the story? Discuss some of the literary devices Ha uses to weave the story together and the effect they produce in the story as a whole.
Junior prompt: Read a Korean folktale and write about one of three topics — a) your interpretation of the folktale and its creation, b) why you disagree with it, or c) which character you relate to the best.