Researcher ORCID Identifier
Date of Submission
Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Professor Nicholas Warner
©2021 Suh Won Chang
This thesis aims to analyze the significance of the webnovel culture that is gaining prominence in modern South Korean society and to present the possibility of webnovels as a new form of literature that developed to fit the technological innovations of the 21st century. To this end, I examine two conventional novels written by South Korean authors and published offline and two webnovels written and published online and examine the ways in which the two types of literature both provoke discussion about social issues. For the scope of this thesis, I focused on the social issue of gender discrimination in South Korea. The prevalence of the Internet has recently exacerbated gender wars online, which, in addition to the #MeToo movement that spread both feminist and anti-feminist sentiments in South Korea, led to public interest in combatting gender discrimination. In studying how both conventional novels and webnovels treat the controversial topic, this thesis found that the uniqueness of webnovels as a serialized story published chapter-by-chapter online with a comment section for each chapter allows for more vibrant conversations about social issues to take place. Despite the common belief that webnovels are of inferior quality to contemporary literature, webnovels are still maturing as a cultural phenomenon. I point out the limitations of webnovels based on their emergence as an escapist literature written by amateurs, but also point out the expanding influence of webnovels as a form of accessible literature that many young South Koreans are reading as a pastime. Therefore, further research into the webnovel culture will lead to better understanding of the value judgements of modern South Korean youths and how best to improve the webnovels as an influential work of writing.
Chang, Suh Won, "Burgeoning Webnovel Culture in South Korea" (2021). CMC Senior Theses. 2684.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.