The novel Pachinko by Min Jin Lee offers numerous topics that can be discussed. Women’s suffering is one of the most important ones. It is expressed by using Sunja, one of the main characters of the whole story. Her life shows that females have to overcome numerous barriers to be considered good wives, mothers, and society members. Having a child from a man who is much older than her and being obliged to marry Isak to avoid shame, Sunja early realizes the true essence of women suffering. They are bound by stereotypes and biased attitudes, creating a specific framework. It dictates behaviors and models that are viewed as acceptable for women while she remains unfree in their decisions and actions.
Sunja passes through all stages of women suffering. As a girl, she helps her mother in the boarding house (Lee, 2017). As a mother of a semi-illegitimate son, she has to deal with the biased public attitude and marry Isak. Later, after her husband’s imprisonment, she accepts the role of the only breadwinner and starts a kimchi cart to survive (Lee, 2017). At the end of her life, she cares for her grandson Solomon as Mozasu becomes a single father (Lee, 2017). These events show that all her life, Sunja experiences only hardships and suffering. However, she accepts this role and struggles to protect herself and the people she loves. The circumstances described in the novel make her the bearer of the nation’s burden. Being torn apart and deprived of the chance for a happy life, people had to survive and move through numerous hardships to find their place in the world. From this perspective, Sunja is a perfect example of a woman destined for suffering but still being strong.
Lee, M. (2017). Pachinko. Grand Central Publishing.