Analysis Of 'The Last Of Hanak' By Kim Hun

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“The Last of Hanak’o” by Ch’oe Yun and “From Powder to Powder” by Kim Hun are framed by the respective male protagonists’ narration. Here, the narration becomes the male gaze, which could be translated as a patriarchal view of the world, or patriarchal society. Both short stories heavily include descriptions of female characters that are provided by the male protagonists. As a result, the reader’s knowledge of the female character is restricted because it is only through the protagonist’s perspective. Thus, while any information is limited, it is more importantly, biased. In this way, the women in these short stories are hidden, controlled, and possibly misunderstood. By preventing readers from directly getting to know the female characters, …show more content…
The narrator of “The Last of Hanak’o” begins his reminiscence of his past with the eponymous character with “So much of it is murky now” (280). Likewise, the information he and his friends have about Hanak’o are equally murky and superficial. It is frequently mentioned that “they knew little about her” and it is explained that this is because “they had never openly questioned her about herself” (282). While they pour all their secrets into Hanak’o, they never ask her about herself, nor does she request to relieve herself of her own secrets. For one, this shows that the men are not curious about Hanak’o at all because they are absorbed with their selves and they enjoy her mysteriousness. However, other than superficial details about Hanak’o, such as her prominent nose and her studies in fine art, she is completely unknown to the reader. For the reader, Hanak’o practically has no …show more content…
First of all, in “The Last of Hanak’o,” the men of the group grow increasingly demanding: “They all knew that Hanak’o detested being pressured to sing… Knowing this, they demanded half jokingly, half threateningly, that she sing” (294). But when Hanak’o forgoes her usual compliance, they verbally, then physically abuse her. While Hanak’o is initially portrayed as a passive figure without authority over her own name and identity, during this accident, she takes a stand: “But Hanak’o, for some reason, would not oblige them” (294). Here, Hanak’o refuses to sing, instead, “there seemed to be a slight change in her expression” and she leaves them for good (294). On a lesser note, in “From Powder to Powder,” Ch’u Unju resigns from the company to follow her husband’s relocation to Washington DC. Of course, her departure is not of her own volition, but remember that she is unaware of her status as an object of her supervisor’s fantasies. Thus, it is quite fitting that she is unaware of the fact that she is leaving his control. Although these two women are initially depicted as compliant with the expectations of men and patriarchal society, by ending the story with their departures, the authors seem to be conveying a message of female empowerment and the fact that there is a possible escape from patriarchal society and its

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