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ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)
S/N Korean Humanities Vol.1 No.2 pp.41-59

Trauma Seen through Korean Women’s Recounts of War Experience and Prospects of Overcoming the Trauma*

Kang, Mi-Jeong**
KU Research Professor, Konkuk University Humanities Research Institute
April 30 2015 June 05 2015 July 15 2015.


Korean women’s recounts of war experience manifest realities of a war that permeated through their everyday lives. They are important materials that reveal trauma from the war. What kind of traumas can be found in those recounts of war experience and what can be done to alleviate those traumas? In order to find answers to these questions, this article discusses the case of a woman called Gim Seong-Yeon, who was forced to live in difficult conditions as a refugee during the war. In her war experience tale, there is a repetition of how she was separated from her family, how she was mistreated and how she had no one to depend on for protection. The war left Seong-Yeon with a trauma in the form of fear and distrust. But Seong-Yeon also narrated folktales aside from her recounts of her war experience. Unlike her war experience testimonies, her folktales are mainly about reassurance and trust. Therefore, this article seeks to compare Seong-Yeon’s recount of her war experience and her folktales, to reveal the fact that when a person suffers from trauma in the form of fear and distrust as an aftermath of the Korean war, as in the case of Seong-Yeon, stories about reassurance and trust, even if they are far from reality, can help in overcoming that trauma.


    Konkuk UniversityNRF-2009-361-A00008