The Vegetarian Literary Elements

The Vegetarian Literary Elements


A novel

Setting and Context

The story takes place in Seoul. A young woman, Yeong-hye, lives an ordinary life up until she starts seeing a horrible night dreams in which she sees her reflection in puddles of blood. Then she gives up meat and it becomes a reason why her family falls apart. Not to mention that her mental health gets worse.

Narrator and Point of View

Both the narrator and the point of view change over the course of the story. Mr. Cheong, In-hye and her husband perform the role of the narrator. The point of view is either the first point of view or the third.

Tone and Mood

Tone is cheerless, mood is disturbing.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Yeong-hye is the protagonist of the story, the meat-eating society is the antagonist of the story.

Major Conflict

The main conflict is person vs. society. More often than not people consider Yeong-hye to be mental and some of them – for instance, her parents – try to force feed her.


Yeong-hye’s hospitalization and Yeong-hye’s discovery of her husband’s obsession with her sister are climax of the story.


Before my wife turned vegetarian, I’d always thought of her as completely unremarkable in every way.


Try feeding it to Yeong-hye, just tell it’s herbal medicine.
Yeong-hye’s mother pretends that vegetarianism of her daughter is just foolishness.


The novel alludes to the Vietnam War.


The imagery is used to describe nightmares of the protagonist.


If you’d said that my wife had always been faintly nauseated by meat, then I could have understood it, but in reality it was quite the opposite.


Hide, hide behind the trees.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

When his wife was busy with something she would lend a hand with Ji-woo, taking him to the bathroom and helping him wash, her bare feet kissing the cold tiles. (A hand is synecdoche which stands for help).
Peered at him closely over her glasses. (Glasses are synecdoche which stands for specs).


Only violence is vivid enough to stick.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.