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"Female Student" by Ha Geun-chan

#Books on Demand l 2020-01-07

Books on Demand

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I was taking a nap after writing for a while one drowsy afternoon when I heard the phone ring. 

“Hello, is this writer Kang Su-ha’s residence?” 

“Yes, it is.” 

“May I speak with him?”


“Mr. Kang, didn’t you teach at Sanri Elementary School many years back?” 

“Yes, I did.”

“Do you remember a girl called Hong-yeon?”

I became perplexed at an unexpected phone call and my heart raced.

어느 날 오후.

글을 쓰다가 졸음이 와서 낮잠을 자고 있는데, 전화벨이 울렸다.

“저... 거기가 소설가 강수하선생님 댁입니까?” 

“예, 그렇습니다” 

“강 선생님 계세요?” 


“선생님, 옛날에 산리초등학교에서 교편을 잡으셨지요?” 


“홍연이라고 기억하세요?”

“뭐? 홍연이?”

나는 너무 뜻밖의 전화를 받아 좀 멍멍하고 가슴이 두근거릴 지경이었다.

Ha Geun-chan’s “Female Student” starts with a phone call from Hong-yeon, a student of the story’s narrator Kang Su-ha had taught some 30 years ago. Hong-yeon had a huge crush on Su-ha back then. 


‘Today Mr. Kang pinched my arm. My face burned up like a carrot in embarrassment at the unexpected incident. As I was coming back home from school, I kept having strange thoughts. Why did he pinch my arm? What did that mean? I couldn’t fall asleep as I kept asking myself those questions.’

오늘 선생님이 내 팔을 살짝 꼬집었다.

 나는 너무나 뜻밖의 일에 얼굴이 홍당무처럼 붉어졌고,

 부끄러워서 어쩔 줄을 몰랐다.

 학교에서 집에 돌아오면서 

 나는 기분이 이상하고 또 이상했다.

 선생님이 왜 내 팔을 꼬집었을까.

 그게 무슨 뜻일까.

 나는 지금도 그 생각을 하며 잠을 이루지 못하고 있다‘

Interview by Korean literature professor Bang Min-ho

First love usually comes during puberty. It’s hard for the young Hong-yeon to understand how exciting and overwhelming that feeling is since she had never experienced such emotions before. Although Su-ha is a teacher, he was just 19, fresh out of teachers’ school, and Hong-yeon was not much younger at 15 or 16. The age gap between them was much less than they realized. It was their relationship as a teacher and a student that confused Hong-yeon so much. She had no way of knowing how he actually felt. When in love, a slight in change in one’s expression either brightens or darkens the other person’s entire day. Such emotional ups and downs were well portrayed in this story.

Ha Geun-chan (Born in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsanbuk-do Prov., Oct. 21, 1931~Nov. 25, 2007)

: Debuted in 1957 with “Suffering of Two Generations” on Hankook Ilbo

Won an Order of Cultural Merit (Grade 3) in 1998

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