Ten Thousand Ways of Survival and Healing: Reading Ten Thousand Sorrows: The Extraordinary Journey of a Korean War Orphan as An Example of Minor Literature

Ozcan D. B. B.

LITERA-JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE LITERATURE AND CULTURE STUDIES, vol.32, no.1, pp.248-264, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/litera2021-904124
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.248-264
  • Keywords: Elizabeth Kim, deterritorialization, minor literature, nomad, Deleuze and Guattari


Y Not only did Elizabeth Kim never meet her American father who impregnated her mother during the Korean War, but she also witnessed the murder of her mother who was the only family member she had. After her mother's death, she was sent to an orphanage and was adopted by an oppressive and abusive American family who forced her to marry a man who turned out to be a schizophrenic and sadistic brute. Her traumatic experiences left permanent marks on Kim as she has suffered from prolonged depression and anxiety. Ten Thousand Sorrows: The Extraordinary Journey of a Korean War Orphan (2000) is Elizabeth Kim's only book in which she details her encounters with death, violence, sexual abuse and rape. This article will analyze Kim's memoir as an example of what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari have called minor literature which is defined by the deterritorialization of language, a work's political stance against oppression and its collective value. It will also discuss Elizabeth Kim as a deterritorialized character who eventually becomes a nomad. Taken through this framework, Ten Thousand Sorrows does not emerge as a cultural assimilation story, nor is it the breakthrough narrative of an oppressed minority woman. Rather, the book is Elizabeth Kim's attempt to heal the wounds caused by the constant physical and spiritual abuse she had to endure throughout her life.