This paper looks into Moo Jung from the formalistic point of view. Firstly, the paper looks through in a way of aesthetic configuration if the main idea of Moo Jung is related to the image that new critics carefully observe. Then, it observes conflicts in the novel which is the kernel of the narrative structure focuses on relationships between the character and the times, and that of among characters. Lastly, this paper examines how the symbol which plays an important role as expressing the main idea contributes to the internal meaning of the novel.
Moo Jung is structured as a competitive form that the surface theme competes with the internal theme; this structure gives tension to the work.
The novel’s narration crosses between a pure image and a regrettable vindictive spirit’s image; those images are opposed to each other. The pure image that is expressed by Lee Hyung-sik and Kim Sun-hyung shows the surface theme while the regrettable vindictive spirit’s image that is expressed by Park Young-chae leads the internal theme and forms the kernel of this work. On the surface, the surface theme led by a pure and vivid image seems to be the mainstream of Moo Jung however, the real one is the internal theme that is led by Park Young-chae’s regrettable vindictive spirit’s image. This fact even attracts readers more.
The main conflict appears in Moo Jung is a love triangle. Lee Young-sik, a hero of the novel, smarts between Park Young-chae - obligation for old days - and Kim Sun-hyung - benefit for now -and this forms the main conflict.
The next conflict that is found in the work is that of main characters that represent the time they live: the death of Park the officer and his sons, suicide of Wal-hwa, the conflict in Young-chae herself who is a gi-saeng or not, the trouble of Byung-wook, and the trouble of Byung-wook’s brother. These conflicts prop up the main conflict, and make internal meaning of the novel more rich and meaningful.
In addition, the conflict result from irony shows in the novel: the frustration on patriots’ (Park the office and his companions) wills of accomplishing national salvation versus the higher reality of people who only seek profits and pleasure. While patriots’ wills end with the frustration, people who only seek profits and pleasure all rise to higher social positions or win in reality. The formation of irony is done by winning of falsehood in a battle of truth and falsehood, and of existence in a battle of reason and existence. Irony occurs in the aspect of the formation in personality by Lee Hyung-sik; he is originally a weak character, but eventually he becomes an accomplisher of strong will for national salvation. Throughout this, heterogeneity between the surface theme and the internal theme shows as a conflict; surface themes are establishment of education in the country and the will of enlightenment, and internal themes are lamentation of Young-chae and grief from the loss of her own country.
Finally, the paper discusses how a flood relates to the main theme of the novel on the aspect of symbol.