Moral Preferences In Calling You, By Young-Ha Kim

764 Words4 Pages
Moral preferences ordinarily drive and alter our decisions in life when we are faced with questions. These often tense situations in which one must decide based off of their morals are frequently present in literature. Your Republic is Calling You, written by Young-Ha Kim is no exception. In the novel, Kim Ki-Yong, a North Korean spy in Seoul must decide which way his life will turn based off an email supposedly from North Korea. The moral question that Ki-Yong is faced with is “are we every really free to make our own decisions?” which is related to the contrasting political views between him and his South Korean peers, and to the Juche Ideology, which he embraces as a part of his disguise. He responds to this, much like other characters…show more content…
It can also be used to determine political stance or even personal traits. Ki-Yong is faced with this moral question many times throughout the novel, and an example of this would be when he was placed in an adaptation of Chongno, a neighborhood in Seoul in order to adapt to the South Korean way of life, which embraces Juche Ideology much more. He is forced to embrace this alien ideology, and a society which he knows nothing about. This is ironic because he must embrace this self-determining ideology, but he himself is not embracing it on his own will. This presents the idea that we can chose what we want without really being given a choice of what to do, because we will face consequences. This is usually responded to by characters and people by choosing what they are supposed to avoid consequences, no matter how complex the situations are. An example of one of these punishments would be torture, specifically for not appropriately assimilating to a South Korean way of life. In the text, Lee Sang-Hyok. Evidence of this in the text states that “The punishment implemented on the set would probably be harsher than its model, even though it was supposedly a replica of Southern torture.” (126) Ki-Yong’s response to the suggested punishment can be seen immediately as he begins to speak in a South Korean accent, and act as he is told to. We…show more content…
“Today’s South is a completely different country… Married couples don’t feel the need to have children… tens of thousands of foreigners arrive every year to marry Koreans and to obtain jobs.” (163) Despite the fact that Ki-Yong’s mission is to combat this ideology, he still is forced to embrace and popularize it through protesting. He deals with this complex situation by doing the tasks necessary in order to support his country and avoid consequential effects. He performs these actions at his own will, but he is severely restricted in his options if he wishes to remain alive the next day. In the end, this novel thoroughly examines the question “are we really able to make our own decisions?” by the characters not having much of a choice about how to respond to complex situations involved with determining their own futures mainly due to repressive environments, specifically those created by governments, and avoiding the ultimate undesirable events, which include death and
Open Document