1. Notable Elements
1-1. Terms & Values
The terms in blue below are often associated with or symbolize specific qualities and attributes in traditional Korean culture. If it is an object and you are not familiar with it, search for some images on the Internet first. Then follow the links for each to learn more about it. They will help enhance your appreciation of the story you are about to read, as well as the other stories in this book!
1) 효 Filial piety
The main theme of the story introduced in this chapter, 심청전 The Story of ShimCheong, is filial piety. The central character 심청 epitomizes a paragon of noble filial piety as she chooses to sacrifice her life for the well-being of her blind father.
Traditional Korean values show the heavy influence of Confucius’ teaching and tenets; and one of the main tenets of Confucianism is filial piety. The concept of filial piety, 효 in Korean, is interwoven in the fabric of Korean life to this day. Here are a few terms that include the term 효:
효성 reverence and respect for one’s parents
효도 efforts and actions showing reverence, respect, and love for one’s parents
효녀 filial daughter (‘심청’ is often accompanied by this word in front: ‘효녀 심청’)
효자 filial son
효부 filial daughter-in-law
2) 쌀 Rice
An everyday traditional Korean meal is comprised of a bowl of cooked rice 밥 and side dishes, and possibly soup or stew. Side dishes, soup, or stew may vary; but the cooked rice is an indispensable part of any meal. It is one of the main staples of the Korean diet. Rice-related lexicon, proverbs, and idioms all reveal the depth of interest in rice and its close proximity to daily life in Korean culture. On the word list below for different forms of rice, you’ll notice that each word is entirely different from the others:
모 rice seedling
벼 rice plant
쌀 uncooked rice
싸라기 half-crushed uncooked rice
밥 cooked rice
누룽지 crust of overcooked or scorched rice
숭늉 scorched-rice water
논 rice paddy
뒤주 wooden cabinet for storing rice ( Click )
Click the links for some images of rice at different stages and in different forms. With the list above, you can now refer to them with the proper terms!
• 모; 벼; 논 Click
• 벼 Click
• 쌀; 밥 Click
• 누룽지 Click
• 숭늉 Click
3) 연꽃 Lotus flower (And about other floras)
In this story, ShimCheong is sent back to the world by the Sea King who puts her in a lotus flower. The king receives the lotus flower and there the flower opens up and ShimCheong appears from it. The significance of the lotus flower in the story can be connected to its symbolism. The lotus flower represents purity, dignity, and integrity that remain intact despite the rough environment from which it grows.
• Symbolism for plants and flowers Click
• Images of lotus flowers Click
• Lotus flowers in painting Click
1-2. Proverbs & Idioms
Below are a few proverbs or idioms that are imbued with the values and the attributions discussed in 1-1. Select the choice that is most relevant to the underlying meaning of the given proverb or the idiom.
1) “효성이 지극하면 돌 위에 꽃이 핀다.” A flower will bloom on a stone with earnest filial piety.
a. This means if one has the intention and desire to carry out filial duties, s/he can achieve them regardless of the circumstance.
b. This means filial piety will bring happiness and joy to a family.
c. This means actions of filial piety should attest to the highest standard of moral virtues.
2) “효부 없는 효자 없다.” One cannot have a filial son without the filial daughter-in-law.
a. This means that sons will become devoted and dutiful to his parents only after he gets married.
b. This means that a son can fulfill his duties as a devoted son only with support from his wife.
c. This means that after a son gets married, his wife fulfills her duties as a filial daughter-in-law.
3) “긴 병에 효자 없다.” There is no filial son with the presence of a long-term illness.
a. This means that in order to become a filial son, he has to maintain his health.
b. This means that a long-term illness causes too much suffering and problems for a filial son.
c. This means that people will lose sincerity and eventually neglect anything that is dragged on for too long.
4) “쌀은 쏟고 주워도 말은 하고 못 줏는다.” You can pick up rice if you spill, but you cannot take back your words once you speak.
a. This reminds us of the importance of being prudent with one’s words.
b. This reminds us of the importance of giving a second chance to others for their mistakes.
c. This reminds us of the importance of being quiet and not making noise during a meal.
6) “벼는 익을수록 고개를 숙인다.” The more ripe rice plants become, the lower they hold their head.
a. This recommends that a person become more humble as s/he becomes more competent or successfully.
b. This recommends that a person does not pass up the chance to see a spectacle.
c. This recommends that a person not turn away from someone in need.
7) “밥 먹듯 한다.” S/he does it as if s/he eats rice.
a. This refers to a frequently occurring action.
b. This refers to an easily accomplished task.
c. This refers to an action that carries significant consequences.
8) “밥 안 먹어도 배부르다.” I’m feeling full even though I didn’t have rice (or ‘~ didn’t have a meal’).
a. This refers to a state of being so busy that one forgets to eat.
b. This refers to deep satisfaction and happiness borne from a joyous event.
c. This refers to the state of being full after having a feast.
9) “싸라기밥을 먹었나!” I wonder if s/he’s eaten half-crushed rice!
a. This is used as a sarcastic remark when someone impertinently speaks in the casual speech style called ‘반말.’
b. This is used as a sarcastic remark when someone underperforms or does work slovenly.
c. This is used as a sarcastic remark when one dresses poorly or shows no sense of style.
2. KeyWords & Plot
After watching at least two videos under Section B, provide a summary of the story using the given Key Vocabulary on Quizlet (Click). Regardless of your level though, make sure to use all essential words below: