This literary analysis will define the historical differentiation of female gender identity roles that occurred in the Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong and the Tale of Genji. The modern gender values in the Joseon Period define a more elevated freedom for women in patriarchal Korean society that is defined in Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong. In a more progressive gender role for women, Lady Hyegyong exhibits an aggressive male trait in angrily denouncing the execution of her younger brother, which advocates a less submission depiction of women’s rights in early 19th century Korea. In contrast to this aggressive female gender role, Murasaki Shikibu writes a novel through the perspective of Emperor Hikaru Genji and his illicit love affair with his stepmother, Lady Fujitsubo. Lady Fujitsubo is a strong woman, much like the mother of Genji, but she is a concubine with little real power in the court. Historically, the patriarchal culture of 11th century Heian Period in Japan is different from the Joseon Period in that Lady Hyegyong wields greater narrative power to countermand submissive stereotypes, such as Lady Fujitsubo, in her fight against decisions made in the royal court. In essence, a literary analysis of the historical differentiation of patriarchal cultures in Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong and the Tale of Genji will be defined in Heian Japan and Joseon Korea.
Patriarchal cultural values are the foundation for understanding the differing roles of women in Heian Japan and Joseon Korea in terms of literary traditions. In Japan and Korea, the patriarchal tradition is a comm...
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...Period, such as Lady Hyegyong, which are contrasted by the earlier role of women as submissive concubines or wives to men, such as the Genji, in the Heian Period. Murasaki’s historical role as the first female Japanese writer of the Heian period (and the greatest novelist in Japanese history) does defray the overarching cultural premise of strict patriarchal values in Heian Japan, yet the female characters in her novel are stereotypically submissive females. These aspects of Japanese history define the similar range of patriarchal male gender identity that dominates women, but Lady Hyegyong’s memoirs devolve the assumptions of passivity and unconsciousness of women as members of the royal court. These historical differentiations define the way female gender identity is constructed in Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong and The Tale of the Genji in Joseon Korea and Heian Japan.
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