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“You were so angry.” She stood. “I only asked for what I deserved.”
              – Krys Lee, “A Temporary Marriage”

I chose this quote because it shows exactly what abuse does to a person, even after they are free from their abuser. Our main character, Mrs. Shin, has just gotten out of a dangerous marriage after which she lost her daughter in a custody battle. Her daughter and ex-husband go to America where she eventually goes to look for her daughter; she arranges to live with Mr. Rhee while in America. Mrs. Shin gains some physical freedom from her abuse through the divorce and her ex-husband moving away; the problem that emerges is that she still has no emotion or mental freedom from the abuse and the scars.

In A Woman at Point Zero, Firdaus has both physical and emotional scars from the events of her life. She feels like she is free from her life of prostitution after she gets thrown in jail for murder, but she will always have the emotional and mental scars of that life. She feels that the jail is her key to freedom and that death is the ultimate freedom. Even though the events of Fridaus’s life weren’t the same as that of Mrs. Shin, their stories both include heavy signs of abuse.

At one point, Mrs. Shin tells her ex-husband to hit her because no one is looking. This is after she finds her daughter and follows her to the car where her ex-husband sits. The ending of this story is confusing as it ends with Mrs. Shin cutting herself and causing herself physical pain to get rid of the hurt she feels. But this seems inconsitent with the rest of the character of an abused woman. Why was she so suddenly violent with herself?

One Response to “Freedom in Woman at Point Zero and “A Temporary Marriage””

  1. Any speculations on this last important question in your post?

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