Cold War Symbolism In 'A Mue's Chant'

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Ch 'oe Yun 's "A Mute 's Chant" reveals how the aftermath of the Cold War ideologies, which "affected every area of Koreans ' lives" (34) and tormented a woman 's entire life. War, regardless of the situation, leads to the victimization of social minorities, which in most cases are women and children. In the story, the protagonist Yi Chŏngbun is a victim of the remains of the war and domestic violence. Although the war has ended, she is continuously victimized by its remains, forced to become a political and social mute. Her personal secrets that she was forced to keep for herself, are finally revealed after decades of suppression. As the story is narrated by the protagonist 's nephew, Pak Ch 'angsu, the readers recollect the symbolisms given by the author to guide them to the protagonist 's secret that she has kept by herself for thirty-seven years. The story begins with Ch 'angsu witnessing a mute woman in a public phone booth, who captures his attention with her vocal acrobatics. While questioning himself whether what he saw and heard was real or not, he grows his interest in the mute woman and wishes to hear her sound again. The sound the mute woman made, which Ch 'angsu was desperate to hear again, sounded as if "they have been drawn from the bottom of an abyss" (156). The sound, which carried a deep sorrow that was forced to be kept inside for a long time, was very similar to the sound of his aunt 's chant he heard from Kŏjin. Thus, after hearing his aunt 's chant,
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