Connecting the Plots: The Extension of Return and Korean Ethnic Nationalism in Jane Jeong Trenka’s 'Fugitive Visions'

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Ethan Waddell


Thousands of overseas Korean adoptees return to Korea temporarily each year in search of their true origin, but few choose to stay permanently. A prominent member of this small community is Jane Jeong Trenka, author of two memoirs: The Language of Blood (2003) and Fugitive Visions: An Adoptee’s Return to Korea (2009). This article analyses Trenka’s literary struggle for permanence in Fugitive Visions through theories on Korean ethnic national identity. Using Marshall McLuhan’s idea of media as the ‘extension of man’, it explores the symbiotic relationship between literary media and identity, connecting colonial-era writings on Korean ethnic nationalism to Trenka’s portrayal of transnational return.

Article Details

Media Mobilities and Identity in East and Southeast Asia (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Ethan Waddell, Yonsei University

Ethan Waddell has an MA in English Language and Literature from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, where he was enrolled as a Korean Government Scholar from 2014 to 2016. He was recently admitted to the graduate program at the University of Chicago where he will pursue a PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilization with a focus on Korean literature.