Coming-of-age in South Korean cinema

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Two narrative scripts are employed in the coming of age story in South Korean films. The well-being script depicts a protagonist who, by the close, has reached a state of contentment with life and is ready to move forward in positive ways. This type is often comedic, especially when the protagonist is male. The dysphoria script, in contrast, depicts a protagonist who struggles against abjection and at the close has failed to thrive and has no prospect of doing so. The final outcome may be suicide. Both scripts are further informed by pertinent conceptual metaphors of development or growth: COMING OF AGE IS A JOURNEY and COMING OF AGE IS A PLANT THAT BLOSSOMS. A major contribution to the coming of age genre appears in female protagonist films in which a sudden reversal of direction near the close challenges the traditional lack of female agency and displaces dysphoria by well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook of children's film
EditorsNoel Brown
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • abjection
  • conceptual metaphor
  • dysphoria
  • ecology
  • endings
  • social critique
  • social integration
  • suicide jumping
  • well-being
  • youth precarity


Dive into the research topics of 'Coming-of-age in South Korean cinema'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this