2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

Motherhood in Kyung-Sook Shin's Please Look After Mom
Mackenzie R. Perron
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Please Look After Mom describes a family's response to the disappearance of their mother, Park So-nyo, in a subway station in Seoul, Korea. The different family members' memories are explored, revealing the many sacrifices of the mother throughout her life, the neglect of her selfish adult children and husband, and how insufficiently her loved ones knew her as a person. So-nyo internalizes the patriarchal ideals of what it means to be a mother, while her family perceive her only as their mom. Because of this, her familial role as mother absorbs her identity as an individual, leaving her unfulfilled. This paper will explore how the novel deconstructs the concept of a mother, demonstrating both the discontent that results from pursuing "ideal" patriarchal motherhood, while also recognizing the beauty of maternity. Ultimately, Shin's story suggests that motherhood, while an invaluable part of life and family, should not be the only way to define a woman.

Keywords: Motherhood , Identity , Patriarchal expectations , Kyung-Sook Shin, Please Look After Mom

Asian Studies
Women's and Gender Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 103-2
Location: VH 1224
Time: 8:15

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