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A Brief Commentary on the Meaning Societal Relevance and Use of Subtlety in Choe InhonsThe BoozerMarch 11 1996Whenever a shot of that rotgut washed the inside of his everinsatiable mouth he knew justhow much more dense his life was going to get Choe 109 Choe Inhos The Boozer offersa dismal glimpse into the life of the lower classes during the period of Koreanmodernization Although The Boozer was written in the 1960s the story does not provide anallegorical account of particular events during the authoritarian rule of Park Chung HeeRather Choe uses the setting of a working class community to convey the suffering of anorphan boy over the loss of his parents during one of his escapades into the tavern life ofthe town In addition Choe withholds from the reader the most important piece ofinformation that the boy indeed has no living parents until the end of the story Througha clever manipulation of information The Boozer accomplishes the latter task while givingus a vivid sense of the boys traumatic memory of his parents deaths and of the desolatelife of the working class community In the first few pages of the story we are lead tobelieve that the boy is looking for his father to call him home to the bedside of his dyingwife The boy informs the drinkers in the tavern that he has seen his mothers conditionworsen and that she has sent him to get her husband But even before this Choe hasalready dropped a subtle hint that the father is gone Here is how the boy describes hisfatherWhy youd know him He has a great big mole over one eye He always smelled like onionsand he always went around with cloves of garlic in his back pocket And they said healways cried when he drank 104 The boy starts his description in the present tense andshifts to the past tense as he recounts details about his fathers habits This passagealone casts the first shadow
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