Korean students tend to be highly susceptible to stress and have low satisfaction with their lives due to college entrance exam-oriented education that forces students to compete over admission into top universities. To address this issue, I created a propaganda poster about the stress this learning experience gives to students to criticize this educational system and addresses the need for reform through utilizing symbolism, contrast, pathos, and slogan.
This educational system is represented in three phases of how student changes over the high school year. The first figure represents a student starting her semester with the hope of learning and exploring her career. Her excitement can be seen from her posture; she is standing straight, facing upward, indicating she is looking toward the future. The sunrise in the background creates positivity as it symbolizes renewed hope. Contrastingly, the middle figure, representing a student in half a semester, conveys dark mood with her wearying look. The fact that she is holding more books and the way she is standing looks comparably hopeless suggests she perceived the reality of brutally competitive Korean education where studying is prioritized. This is further shown by the sunsetting; just like sunrise implies a new beginning, sunset symbolizes an end to the proceedings, which reveals she is exhausted from the overwhelming workload that she feels objection to studying. Correspondingly, the dark background in the last semester indicates all her hopes are suppressed by merciless educations. This contrasting mood creates pathos, stimulating distressing emotions that the audience can relate to. Pathos is used again in the slogan as “Where are we going?” is a question that students have thought about at least once as they don’t have dreams; it once again emphasizes the harsh learning system. Altogether, I emotionally connected with the audience to underscore my opposing stances in the Korean educational system using symbolism, contrast, pathos, and slogan.