Korean-American Sexual Experience in Krys Lee’s Literary Exploration of Immigration

Itaewon - Seoul, Republic of Korea, October 16, 2009 | © Courtesy of Morning Calm Weekly Newspaper Photo Archive/Flickr.
Itaewon - Seoul, Republic of Korea, October 16, 2009 | © Courtesy of Morning Calm Weekly Newspaper Photo Archive/Flickr.

On October 18, 2018, Jean Owen has published an article entitled “Immigration, Incest and Post-Nationality in Krys Lee’s “The Believer”” in Open Cultural Studies.

A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.


The key insight of Jean Owen concerning “The Believer,” Krys Lee’s short story in her debut book Drifting House (2012) relates to “the emotive theme of incest from the position of a daughter’s willingness to participate or even initiate the sexual encounter.” According to Owen, “Lee twins immigration with incest to draw significant parallels between the two situations,” in order to demonstrate “how the European and Korean past remains relevant to post-national literature.”

As this author highlights, though “Lee writes in English, she considers herself and her writing to be post-national since she is “very interested in the space of being a Korean/American writer” or what she calls “the world in-between” (Owen-Lee).” As this paper argues, “[i]n “The Believer,” the string of “nowheres” comes to symbolise the void one feels upon losing everything. In the rhetoric of nostalgia, Insu recalls a location of happiness and hope when they first arrived as immigrants in Las Vegas, “a city where a decade ago, they had believed” (164), but which he now recognises as just another nowhere.””

In this context, “[i]n Drifting House Lee presents Korea—and the Korean family—as intensely patriarchal and “The Believer” itself draws fully on patriarchal motifs,” as Owen stresses. Thus, this article arrives at a conclusion that “[i]n “The Believer” Lee creates a family that loses sight of all boundaries. Daughter and father are adrift in a car that represents a heterotopic site of deviance on a road to nowhere, with choices the narrative does not fully answer, except that as an incestuous pair—coupled together as they are by an extreme outlawed act—they become “undone,” and stranded like Helen, or like Lot’s wife.”

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Itaewon – Seoul, Republic of Korea, October 16, 2009 | © Courtesy of Morning Calm Weekly Newspaper Photo Archive/Flickr.

The Altmetric Performance of this Article: https://www.altmetric.com/details/doi/10.1515/culture-2018-0016?src=bookmarklet.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Korean-American Sexual Experience in Krys Lee’s Literary Exploration of Immigration," in Open Culture, 18/01/2019, https://oc.hypotheses.org/2000.

 


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