J O S E P H I N E N O C K - H E E PA R K "What of the Partition": Dictée's Boundaries and the American Epic ear the end of its nine meditations, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's experimental epic Dictée (1982) recounts a simple story: a young girl, in search of a cure for her ailing mother, meets a woman at a well who gives her ten packets of medicine.1 Nine packets are for her mother, but the tenth is a gift for her. Dictée's nine sections are named after the classical muses and shaped into a novena; this tale unfolds in the final section, "Polymnia/Sacred Poetry." In adding the tenth packet, Cha signals the completion of the text's ritual. The story ends with the child about to enter the house where her mother awaits her: Already the sun was in the west and she saw her village coming into view. As she came nearer to the house she became aware of the weight of the bundles and the warmth in her palms where she had held them. Through the paper screen door, dusk had entered and the shadow of a small candle was
Contemporary Literature – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Aug 29, 2005
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