To Pacify the Heart’s Darkness: Snake by Yun Bo-in
- onOctober 23, 2014
- Vol.14 Winter 2011
- byHur Yoonjin
Yun Bo-in’s first collection of short stories, Snake, is dedicated to those who have traversed the pains of a life of longing in light of her own sins and contradictions. Within the seven tales of this collection, the characters that appear in Yun’s stories seem all too happy to leave this Earth, rather than endure the insignificance of existence.
One of the most noteworthy tales in this collection is “Sunday,” in which the third person plural, “we,” is used to refer to a group of nameless children. These are “bad” children, children who steal, tell lies, and do not believe in love despite being avid churchgoers. These children, who encounter only loneliness even within a community of love, play the organ in order to forget their solitude. Within this tale these children, who have until now been timid, can at last break their silence and speak for themselves. What is more, these children are able to form their words in an incredibly poetic language.
Yun’s language pacifies the undeniable hunger for life by people who are slowly withering away in solitude. The sum of the horrifying, sickening images that make up the overall impression of the collection— perhaps even describable as a noxious odor that arises from the tales—constitute a form of “garbage” and “filthy remnants” (“Odor”) that continually cut into the hearts of these figures.
But who would shake their finger at these people, calling them dirty, shaming them? As is shown in the latter half of the book, if art were a human being, it could be a force to pacify the dark forest that any one of us might have in our hearts, blowing away effortlessly like a breeze. Could the hand that lightly wipes away the tears of human beings, without judging the vile and abominable in us, be the hand of art?