On a "duality" of the Corps-actant structure in Misaeng: with Jang Geurae as the central figure

『미생』에 나타난 신체 행위소 구조의 이중성에 관한 고찰 - 장그래를 중심으로

  • 송태미 (한국외국어대학교 불어불문학과)
  • Received : 2018.11.23
  • Accepted : 2018.12.17
  • Published : 2018.12.31


This paper attempts to "re-read" the webtoon Misaeng, which was once an important issue in the field of public discourse on "labor". Our hypothesis was that the dual actactial structure of Misaeng's hero Jang Geurae gave a dual structure to the entire text, which leads to the discovery of text meaning that was not mentioned in the existing discourse. This is based on the concept of 'meta-story character', which Hiroki Azuma talked in his postmodern literary theory. To verify this hypothesis we analyzed the text by applying the Parisian semiotics, more specifically J. Fontanille's theory. Jang Geurae is observed to be a actant of dual structure divided into 'character' of the enunciated level and 'player' of the enunciation level. Considering this characteristic of the hero, Misaeng can be interpreted as a metafiction that shows the 'shifting' between the subject of the enunciated level and the subject of the enunciation level. On the level of 'character' Jang's existence mode turns out to be "Deficiency (actualized)", but on the level of 'player' Jang 's existence mode turns out to be "Inanity(potentiallized)." His somatic responses also show a duality, which is represented by Fontanille's corps-actant model, where on the level of 'character' the somatic actant of Jang consists of 'Moi-chair(ego-flesh)' and 'Soi-idem(self-idem)', and on the level of 'player' it consists of 'Moi-chair(ego-flesh)' and 'Soi-ipse(self-ipse)'. The former mainly acts as a 'role' and takes charge of exteroceptive perception, while the latter mainly acts as 'attitude' and takes charge of interoceptive perception. Because of this dissociative nature of actant, Jang's two 'self' draw the re-adjustment of values without serious conflict between the collective norms and the individual identity. This is in sharp contrast with other characters who struggle with the conflict between the environment and "self". It becomes customary to adopt norms that are suspected to ineffective, but if you raise questions, the normative system can be updated. On one axis of Misaeng there are characters who have lost themselves in customs. On the other axis, there is Jang who can not help dismantling the existing ineffective norms and updating the normative system. Jang's existence mode seems to be one of many possible modes generated by this era where people share no longer solid community values, His actantial structure also communicates with readers of these days who put themselves more in subject of enunciation level than of enunciated level.