#Interview by Seoul National University’s Korean Literature Professor Bang Min-ho
“Jetoiseon” refers to food left over from a memorial service. That is the life of the main character, Park Gyeong-ho. He was a promising medical student, but got arrested for being involved in an ideological movement. He was sentenced to prison term, but was released on probation. Although he didn’t have to serve his sentence, he couldn’t go back to school either. That’s exactly what “jetoiseon” stands for.
It’s all wrong because she’s a gisaeng. She deserves to die because she’s an opium addict. Such views are vulgar observations.
At least Gyeong-ho wanted to be a level above such people. His duty ends when he turns her back into a complete human being with his love.
아편쟁이니까 죽일 년이다.
이렇게 보는 눈은 속된 관찰이다.
적어도 경호는 이들보다 한 발자국 앞서려고 한다.
사랑 속에서 이를 완전한 인간으로 돌려보내 준 뒤에는
자기의 사명은 끝난다.
Park Gyeong-ho thinks its his new duty to save Hyang-ran from drug addiction.
Hyang-ran was lying on the bed with her eyes closed. There were no cotton swabs or syringes at the bedside, but a used one-cc ampule with a broken neck was left in the ashtray.
Gyeong-ho tried to run out of the room. But Hyang-ran, who had not said a word until then, suddenly stood up and grabbed the end of his jacket. He stood there looking out the window with her holding on fast to his two legs.
Ha, ha, ha. This is the subjective conscience of an ordinary citizen.
향란이는 자리 위에 누워서 눈을 감고 있다.
그러나 그의 머리맡에는 소독면기와 주사기는 보이지 않으나
목을 찍고 사용한 한 씨씨짜리 암플이 재떨이 속에 뒹굴고 있다.
경호는 홀딱 일어서서 나오려고 했다.
그랬더니 지금까지 아무 말이 없던 향란이가 당황하게 일어서며
그의 양복자락을 부여잡는다.
경호는 그에게 두 다리를 붙잡힌 채 창문을 눈앞에 바라보고 서 있었다.
하하하 소시민의 주관적 양심이란 이런 게다.
Gyeong-ho let out his rage at Hyang-ran, feeling betrayed that she kept using drugs behind his back. But he could not forsake her, who was desperately clinging to him. “Jetoiseon” ends with Gyeong-ho’s cynical monologue. “Ha, ha, ha. This is the subjective conscience of an ordinary citizen.”
Kim Nam-cheon: Kim Nam-cheon was born in Seongcheon, Pyongannam-do Province in 1911. He became an active member of the Joseon Proletariat Arts Alliance’s Tokyo chapter as he entered Hosei University in Japan in 1929. His first review, “Re-appreciation of the Starting Point of the Cinematic Movement,” was published in 1930 and his professional writing career took off as his play “Jojeongan” and novel “Factory Newspaper” were released. “Jetoiseon” was published in literary magazine Jogwangin 1937.