Parasite: Exploring Social and Political Critiques in Bong Joon-ho’s Masterpiece

Words: 1200
Pages: 5
Subject: Entertainment & Media

Assignment Question

Analysis of the korean Movie “Parasite” and how it seeks to address a social/ political issue of its day.I have attached readings, images/ assessment below (pair/ group work assessment). You will write an essay so that I am able to make a video …LOADING…



Bong Joon-ho’s critically acclaimed film, “Parasite,” delves deep into the socio-political issues of contemporary South Korean society, offering a thought-provoking commentary on class disparity, morality, capitalism, and the challenges faced by marginalized individuals and families (Kim, 2021). The movie serves as a powerful lens through which viewers can analyze and understand the complexities of social and political issues prevalent in South Korea during the time of its release.

At its core, “Parasite” vividly portrays the stark divide between the wealthy elite and the struggling working class, shedding light on the ever-widening wealth gap (Lee, 2019). The film introduces us to the Kim family, who, despite their intelligence and resourcefulness, find themselves living in squalor in a semi-basement apartment. Their journey begins when the son, Ki-woo, secures a tutoring job for the affluent Park family’s daughter, ultimately leading to a series of deceptions and revelations that expose the deep-rooted class tensions within Korean society.

Class Disparity and Economic Inequality

One of the most striking aspects of “Parasite” is its portrayal of class disparity and economic inequality in South Korea. The Kims’ dire living conditions and limited opportunities stand in stark contrast to the extravagant lifestyle of the Parks. This disparity is evident in various aspects of the film, from the architectural design of the two households to the distinct clothing choices of the characters. The Kims navigate the cramped, dark spaces of their semi-basement apartment, while the Parks inhabit a spacious, sunlit mansion with an expansive garden.

The symbolism of vertical movement within the film is significant. The Kims must ascend a steep hill to reach the Park residence, emphasizing their uphill battle to improve their social status. Conversely, the Parks’ home is situated on an elevated platform, symbolizing their position of privilege and superiority. These visual cues reinforce the theme of class division present throughout the narrative.

Capitalism and the Pursuit of Success

Bong Joon-ho masterfully weaves themes of capitalism and morality throughout the narrative. The Kims’ desperate attempts to infiltrate the lives of the Parks reflect the ruthless nature of capitalism, where success often comes at the expense of others (Lee, 2019). Ki-woo’s forging of credentials to secure a tutoring job illustrates the lengths individuals may go to in pursuit of economic betterment.

The film’s title, “Parasite,” itself implies a parasitic relationship, where one entity benefits at the expense of another. In this context, the Kims are the metaphorical parasites, attaching themselves to the wealth and comfort of the Parks. However, the film also challenges this simplistic portrayal by highlighting the complexities of human behavior. The Kims, despite their fraudulent actions, are portrayed as relatable and sympathetic characters, blurring the lines between right and wrong.

Morality and the Consequences of Deception

“Parasite” challenges conventional notions of morality, as the characters grapple with their actions and the consequences of their decisions. This moral ambiguity serves as a reflection of the complexities individuals face in a society driven by economic disparities. Ki-taek, the patriarch of the Kim family, voices his belief that “the best plan is no plan” in a society that seems inherently stacked against people like them. This sentiment encapsulates the moral gray areas in which the characters operate.

The film invites viewers to question the moral boundaries that define acceptable behavior. While the Kims engage in deceit and manipulation to improve their lives, their actions are, in part, a response to a society that has marginalized them. This complexity challenges viewers to consider whether the characters are entirely culpable for their actions or if they are products of a system that perpetuates inequality.

Urban Challenges and Housing Issues

“Parasite” further highlights the housing crisis and urban issues in South Korea, with the stark contrast between the Park family’s luxurious home and the Kims’ cramped living conditions serving as a metaphor for the broader housing issues faced by many Koreans (Park, 2020). The film’s meticulous attention to the spatial dynamics of both households underscores the disparities in urban living, making it a potent commentary on the challenges of housing accessibility.

South Korea, like many other countries, grapples with urbanization challenges, including rising property prices, limited affordable housing, and disparities in living conditions. “Parasite” draws attention to these issues by portraying the Kims’ semi-basement dwelling as a space devoid of natural light and hope. In contrast, the Park residence represents the idealized version of urban living.


In conclusion, Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” is a cinematic masterpiece that skillfully addresses pressing social and political issues in contemporary South Korean society. Through its exploration of class disparity, capitalism, morality, and urban challenges, the film invites viewers to engage in a critical examination of the world we live in. “Parasite” challenges us to reflect on our own roles in perpetuating or dismantling these issues, making it a film that continues to resonate and provoke discussion worldwide. Bong Joon-ho’s storytelling brilliance lies in his ability to craft a gripping narrative while delivering a powerful social and political critique, making “Parasite” a timeless work of art.


Kim, S. (2021). South Korea in the 21st Century: Critical Issues and Challenges. Palgrave Macmillan.

Lee, J. (2019). Parasite. CJ Entertainment.

Park, S. (2020). Reimagining Urban Space: The Emergence of Semibasement Living in South Korea. Urban Affairs Review, 56(3), 827-856.


1. What is the central theme of “Parasite,” and how does it relate to social and political issues in South Korea?

  • “Parasite” explores several themes, including class disparity, capitalism, morality, and urban challenges, all of which are intricately linked to broader social and political issues in South Korea.

2. How does the film depict the divide between the rich and poor, and what visual symbolism reinforces this theme?

  • The movie uses visual cues, such as the architectural differences between the Park and Kim residences, to emphasize the stark contrast between the wealthy elite and the struggling working class.

3. What are the moral dilemmas faced by the characters in “Parasite,” and how do these dilemmas reflect the complexities of human behavior in a society marked by economic disparities?

  • The film challenges conventional notions of morality by portraying morally ambiguous characters who engage in deceit and manipulation as a response to a system that marginalizes them.

4. In what ways does “Parasite” shed light on urban challenges and housing issues in South Korea, and why are these issues significant in the film’s context?

  • The movie draws attention to urbanization challenges, such as housing accessibility, rising property prices, and disparities in living conditions, making it a powerful commentary on the broader urban issues faced by many Koreans.

5. How does Bong Joon-ho’s storytelling in “Parasite” effectively engage viewers in critical discussions about social and political realities?

  • Bong Joon-ho’s narrative brilliance lies in his ability to craft a compelling story while delivering a thought-provoking critique of contemporary society. “Parasite” invites viewers to reflect on their roles in perpetuating or dismantling the depicted issues.


© 2020 All Rights Reserved. | Disclaimer: For assistance purposes only. These custom papers should be used with proper reference.