Sample Term Paper

“Does spring come also to these ravished fields?” by Yi Sang-Hwa (1901-43) is one of the most haunting poems contained within this book.  It is one of the poet’s most well-known poems, and also one of his very few surviving ones since a great bulk of contemporary Korean literature was ruthlessly repressed and destroyed during the last decade of Japanese occupation.

In an aura of sadness, the poem hence combines the two Koreas– those that exist across the geographical divide of the 38th parallel and those that exist in time acrossAugust 15, 1945, one subjugated and the other divided.

Like all literature written during days of trial and tribulation, this poem too contains the spirit of its times.  Containing distinct political overtones interspersed between the poet’s melancholic reminisces, it is perhaps best understood when read alongside one of Prof. Lee’s essays.  The political message contained within the poem is that of a land lost to its inheritors, with its fields plundered and ravished.  Interestingly, in one of his essay, “A Brief Survey of the present condition of Korea,” Prof. Lee recounts how the unnatural divide of the 38th parallel represent has prevented the historical natural trade between the country’s mineral-rich North and agrarian South.  Historically, the ravished fields here are also the fields forfeited to Imperial Japan to feed its growing population at the cost of the Korean populace. (Lee 38 & 150) (Encyclopedia Britannica 512)

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