Curative Violence: Rehabilitating Disability, Gender, and Sexuality in Modern Korea
Cure by Proxy
Opening with a discussion of the film SimCh’ŏng, which depicts filial piety as a uniquely Korean virtue enabling the cure of blindness, the chapter explores how the relational and interdependent aspects of disability compel family members to attempt to cure disability through spiritual, religious, and moral efforts. The role of violence and the desire to sacrifice one’s life in seeking a family member’s cure are examined in a number of films and literary works. This “proxy” for cure on behalf of a disabled person is rewarded by class elevation and social recognition. The familial bind—as the family members’ bodies are bound together through affect and corporeal influences—pushes agents to sacrifice themselves, or even seek death, and intertwines with the imperative of cure or the removal of disabled bodies for the survival of the family.