Wordy Wednesday: Kim Jiyoung’s Present Disorder Born from Old-Fashioned Misogyny
The novel Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, written by Cho Nam-Joo and translated by Jamie Chang, opens in 2015 with Jiyoung and her family attending a holiday get-together at her in-laws’ home. But Jiyoung acts strangely, saying offensive things in the voices of other women during regular conversation. Her husband believes she is mentally ill and takes her to a psychiatrist.
The next chapter brings us back to Jiyoung’s beginnings, cataloguing events of her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood replete with experiences of misogyny that impress upon Jiyoung. After relaying a specific instance of Jiyoung’s life, such as the difficulty of finding a job after college as a woman, the narrator then zooms out and provides statistics about women in South Korea who undergo the same discrimination. It’s unusual to find footnotes of citations woven throughout a novel, but it works here to show that Kim Jiyoung is the every-woman. Will the (male) psychiatrist be able to diagnose her illness? Who can help Jiyoung?
Today’s word comes from this short yet potent novel. Below you’ll find the sentence in which it appeared, the Oxford definition, and a sentence of my own using the word.
“The marketing agency was hired help to the clients, who were usually older upper-management males, and liked to wave their antediluvian sense of humor in her face” (102).
1. of or belonging to the time before the biblical Flood.
2. (Humorous) ridiculously old-fashioned.
My 2009 Toshiba laptop, while antediluvian considering the technology available today, has held up well.