Copy of selected portion of the Essay Competition Rule Page
Senior Division (grades 9-12)
Hwang Sun-won (1915-2000), one of Korea’s great 20th century writers of fiction, published "Cranes" in 1953, just as the Korean War ceasefire was coming into effect. The story has been seen and even criticized for being too optimistic - even naïve - about the possibilities for future reconciliation between the two Koreas.
Topic: In a carefully developed essay, point out those parts of the story that do seem to suggest the possibility or hope of future reconciliation between the two main characters and, by extension, the two Koreas. But noting that now, more than a half century later, hostile actions continue to occur while still there is no peace treaty, show how Hwang’s story might be read as a more complicated rendering of the situation on the Korean peninsula than naïvely optimistic.