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While reading Krys Lee’s “A Temporary Marriage,” I found myself interested in the patriarchal society of Korea and how that affects families in Korea as well as those who have immigrated to the United States. I decided to look through some of Lee’s interviews on her website, and I found some interesting parallels between Lee’s life and those of her characters in an interview in The Guardian.

Lee’s family moved to California when she was four years old. She grew up with violence and described her father as a “deeply troubled man, who hurt everybody around him.” Lee used books as a way to escape, as they allowed her to become someone else; she always had a desire to not be herself. Lee stated that “the most recent decades of my life have been in part about learning that not all men are terrible or dangerous.”

After one reads this interview, it is easy to see where Lee came up with the idea for “A Temporary Marriage” as many aspects of that story are similar to things she went through herself. With this background information, I found that one of the most intriguing things about this story was the fact that Mrs. Shin felt like she deserved violence and even wanted it. Because Lee is adamantly against violence, I wonder what the experience writing Mrs. Shin was like for her. Of course, she is familiar with this type of violence and abuse, but it is interesting that she chose to write about a character whose perspective on violence is so different from her own. This shows how well Lee understands the negative impacts of patriarchal societies and how people can react in completely different ways.

One Response to “Parallels Between Krys Lee’s “A Temporary Marriage” and her Life”

  1. Raven: Your final two sentences suggest that Lee presents this fetish for violence as a societal or cultural trait rather than an individual one. Is that what you mean to suggest? If so, how did you make this determination?

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