Have you ever imagined your wedding? One of the events which is done in a wedding ceremony is a father and daughter’s march and after that, the father hands over his daughter's hand to his son-in-law. It would be one of the saddest times for all fathers to give his daughter in marriage for they have spent many years together, and from that time the daughter leaves him and she starts her new life with her husband. The meaning of this could be interpreted in many ways but it means the woman’s relationship with her father is going to be estranged as her relationship with her husband is becoming more important to her in her life. COVERSTORY in this issue is going to examine with the father and daughter relationship. Do you have a close relationship with your father?
Father and Daughter (2000), a film by Michael Dudok de Wit, is a prizewinning movie in Annecy International Animated Film Festival. It is a short animation movie dealing with the father and daughter relationship. There is no speech in the movie but only faded color like fallen leaves of background and soothing classical music they together mixed and made viewers to think about the meaning of father, separating with him, and life after that. Not only in this movie, but father and daughter relationship is a subject that commonly appears in many novels, movies and books in all ages and countries. For example, it’s not that difficult to find the father and daughter motif story in classic myths such as the myth of Electra which is compared with Oedipus. In Korea also, there are folktales dealing the same subject, such as Simcheong Jeon, Pyung Gang Gongju. Among many works of art, we can examine ourselves and find out what effort we should make and it gives instruction. Generally, the problem occurs between father and daughter would be they are indifferent to each other, or daughter is too dependent that is she relies upon her father or her parents. Especially in Korea, from the influence of Confucian ideas, in some families the son is used to being recognized as more important than the daughter and it creates many complications within families. Through Korean literary works of the past, I Live by My Fortune, and modern works, Run Father, it would be impossible to find problems and solutions in today’s relationship between father and daughter.
Run, Father (2006)
Run, Father, published in 2006, is a short story of novelist Kim Ae Ran. The main character of this movie is a little girl and she never saw her father, all the things that she knows about her father is through the story that her mother told to her. The plot of the novel unfolds through the girl’s point of view. If you heard up to this place, you may imagine that this novel would be miserable and infectious story telling about a girl’s struggle to live without father and sure it would be in Korean society. The absence of father is not a simple thing because children who grow up in families with only one parent are much more likely to be lonely and depressed. Also home problems are still recognized as socially great matters and the children raised in the family are seen by prejudiced eyes. However, not in
kinds of problems between daughter and father. According to a study by Il Young Jung, done to investigate the pattern and characteristics of women college students’ experiences by evaluating their good and bad experiences with their fathers, difficult or bad experiences in father-daughter relationships are classified into nine categories: issues in advancement to higher education and academic problems; sharing family life with father; mind-set and incongruent behaviors of father; trouble between father and mother; generation gap and lack of understanding; father’s personality; disappointing treatment of father; conflict with father due to students’ misconduct; and no experiences. Lack of time sharing family life with father was also ranked among the bad experiences with the fathers.1 What kind of problems do you have with your father? As society becomes more complex, in any case, the struggle to resolve each problem
I Live by My Fortune
I Live by My Fortune is a Korean tale transmitted from generation to generation. Once upon a time, there lived a rich person who had no son but three daughters. One day, he asked his daughters one by one by whose fortune they live. The eldest and second daughter answered it’s all by father’s fortune. However, the youngest one said it’s all by my fortune. Then the father got angry and he gave his daughter in marriage to a poor man who made charcoal in a mountain. The third daughter lived with him but she didn’t become upset and did her best. One day, she went to her husband making a charcoal in a big charcoal burner in the deep forest to give him lunch. There, she discovered the fuel hole of the charcoal burner was gold, and it was hard to recognize all the while because it was completely soot-covered. She advised husband to sell the gold and they raised a lot of money. With that, she bought a house, set up a home, and she even taught her husband to become a scholar. Time passed, and one day she came to know that her father became a beggar, and to find him she held a banquet and served a delicious banquet to her parents and revealed she was their daughter. By her fortune, she fed her parents and two sisters also. In this tale, although the tale is old, it’s worthy of notice in two parts. Firstly, the main subject of this story shows the parents and children not in a subordinate relationship but teaching that one’s children have to live their lives by themselves through a sense of sovereignty and independence. The pioneer spirit of the youngest daughter also gives instruction to modern daughters as she sets an example for them with her positive attitude. In Korean society, it was a common sense and also natural that the children tend to depend on their parents. As the daughter appeared in this story, it is needed for women to raise their competitive power for their dependence. Like she discovered the gold on the charcoal burner, women should develop their capability. Secondly, it could be helpful to focus on the ending which turns out happily. Although they were in discord for some time, she finally gives her hand of forgiveness to her father. You may have pleasant time you have spent with your dad despite many troublesome situations. What kind of valuable memories do you have from the relationship with your father? According to the study above mentioned, pleasant experiences in father-daughter relationship are classified into eight categories: sharing family life with father; approval from father; allowance and gifts from father; intimacy experienced with father; familyoriented and kind aspects of father; humor and physical affection; existence itself. Sharing family life with father was the highest among the pleasant experiences. With the birth, one belongs to a family and this is the basic of all relationship that are made in society. By the industrialization, urbanization caused influence of western civilization in our society, the formation of family became the nuclear family, and the entry of women in public affairs became lively. In accordance with this, traditional division of parts of parental roles is changing. Rotundo firstly suggested the concept of ‘Androgyneous Fatherhood’ which is to take care of their parents’ roles equally.2 Harris and Morhan, in the same context said, “It’s needed for children to develop their character in balance, parents role should share their works.” 3
Father and Daughter Get Closer
Bujayuchin, (父子有親) one of the main principles of Confucian ideology which means there should be affection between father and son has been considered very important. Bunyuyuchin (父女有親) which is analogized from Bujayuchin has appeared in many parts of our life. To eliminate the predominance of men over women, some fathers founded the ‘Association of Fathers who love daughters.’ A director of this association reported that children are not existed for carring on a family line but they should be repected as a independent personality. Jin Saeng Park, a psychiatrist discussed the phenomenon that “In the past of male-dominated society, one father’s pride and self-praise is upon their son’s status (what he became and what job their son had). Yet fathers today feel enough pleasure and satisfaction through daughter’s success.4 Due to the increase of divorces, low birth rate, and other house problems, many people are worrying about the collapse and elimination of family. Nevertheless, still the love and faith of
family is the generative power of our society. As the world has changed, the formation of family has changed also. The thing never changes is that love between family members is the love that makes people have courage. As a daughter for the better relationship with father, try not to perceive more negative experience patterns than positive patterns. He’s waiting for you now!
1) The Contents Analysis of Self-Reported about Relationship between Women College and Father, Il Young Jung, 2006.2
2) Effective Fathering and fathering satisfaction related to a father’s life, Canfield.K.R, 1995.
3) Fathers, sons and daughters; Differential paternal involvement in parenting, Harris K.M. & Morgan S.P., 1991.
4) Be Friends of your daughters, the Hankyoreh, 2005.09.07.