Master Yun In Peace Under Heaven

Amazing Essays
An entertaining, satirical novel written by Chae Man-Sik, “Peace Under Heaven” portrays the colonial reality of Korea under the Japanese rule. Although its controversial aspects focus on the Korean culture instead of the Japanese, the author treads a line between propriety and realism. The story highlights the tragicomedy of materialistic greed, ambition, sensual decadence, and egoism of the protagonist, Master Yun; however, the author also portrays him as a pathetic human being through his past experiences and interactions with other people. With the use of absurd sardonic narrative, the author emphasizes the disparities between the life of a wealthy landlord and the reality of those who serve him, which eventually reveals the hidden lives …show more content…
Throughout the novel, Master Yun frequently brings up the idea of improving the inferior status attached to his family ancestry; therefore, he focuses on aristocracy and hopes for his grandchildren to become of a high rank, which then enhances his status and family reputation. Master Yun “laid down a four-point strategy for his lifelong mission to bestow distinction on his family” (45). The most important point in his strategy was to make his two grandsons become a county magistrate and police chief. Because of his obsession of magistracy, he is willing to spend all the money he could to achieve his goal. However, as Master Yun’s plans eventually fail in the end, it “enraged the old man far more than if he had been raided by a thousand Western suits of the sort” after finding out that Chongha has turned into a socialist (239). Coming from a lower class family, he has worked all his life in order to become an economic elite and build a better reputation for his family, mostly for his own status. To Master Yun, Chonghak is his only hope to achieve this dream yet in the end, he is responsible for the fall of his entire family. His attempt to climb up the status system embodies the significance of social and economic role during the colonial period. Generally, station in life is determined by birth and passed down from ancestors; however, when Master Yun finally …show more content…
To Master Yun, “Peace Under Heaven” signifies two central ideas: comfort while living freely with no worries and absence of natural disasters, which means good harvest. Both symbolisms, he believes, depict the general peace and harmony of the country; however, his definitions are quite ironic in comparison to the reality of colonial Korea. Master Yun epitomizes the minority of Koreans who are living wealthily and have no worries except how to produce and maintain their wealth; on the other hand, the majority of colonized Koreans are starving and experiencing hardships because of increasing tenancy and rising diaspora in search of jobs and better opportunities. Only a minority experiences the flourishing modern urban and mass culture, while the rest are struggling to survive. Although the story shed more light on Master Yun’s prosperous life, the purpose behind the narrative reveals more about the unfortunate reality of the Koreans during the colonial

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