Friday, August 5, 2011
Suh Rang was a poet, who wrote and spoke beautifully. He was Korean at a time when the Japanese occupied Korea. He was a Korean patriot. Choon Won, another literary celebrity, believed that it was best for Koreans to accept the Japanese occupation. It was the only way they could survive.
Suh Rang was about to speak on behalf of Korean nationalism when he was either struck dumb or was feigning it. He left the dais. Now he could no longer speak on behalf of Korean nationalism.
Everyone wondered at the mystery of whether Suh Rang had been struck dumb or had feigned it. The narrator, now a journalist, many years later, encountered Suh Rang’s son, now a doctor. His son revealed that his father had feigned his dumbness, then discovered that he could not speak, and then recovered his voice. He felt that words got in the way of communication and he had learned to “speak” to his son and his wife through signs. But he had never lost his sense of guilt that he had not spoken out on behalf of Korean nationalism and had hidden behind his feigned dumbness.
About the Author: Sunwu Hwi was born in North Korea in 1922.
Short Story International #27. Ed. Sylvia Tankel. (August 1981), pp. 47-70.