The Crucible (novel)
The Crucible (도가니) is a 2009 novel by Gong Ji-Young (공지영) a well known South Korean novelist, based on an actual case of mass sexual abuse at a school for the deaf in Gwangju Inhwa, South Korea. The title was taken from Arthur Miller's play of the same name.
Kang In-ho is a teacher forced to leave his family after the suicide of a former student with whom he had been romantically involved. He settles in Mujin (a fictional city) where he finds employment as a teacher at a school for the hearing impaired.
On the first day of his new job, a young boy is struck and killed by a train, the latest of a series of accidents, he soon discovers. He hears of a young girl who had recently committed suicide by jumping off a cliff.
Kang soon suspects things are not as they seem and discovers that the students, (both boys and girls) are being abused by the principal (a powerful and highly respected member of the community), an administrative head and a dormitory superintendent.
Kang's efforts to bring the crimes to the attention of the public are met with resistance by corrupt police, doctors and other business leaders. When the case comes to trial, the defense lawyers further attempt to discredit Kang by bringing to light his past misdeeds, including the affair with his former student who committed suicide. Compounding all, the financially strapped parents of the abused students agree to remain silent about the incidents in exchange for money.
In the end, the three accused are sentenced to probation and set free to return to the school.
Kang, humiliated at having his personal failures publicized and frustrated by the lack of justice, decides to leave Mujin and return to his family in Seoul.
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