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ABSTRACT: Bakhtin teaches us that seeing empathetically and seeing aesthetically are distinct moments: the moment of empathizing, Bakhtin says, must be followed by a moment of return to one’s own point of view (1993, p. 11). In this paper, we study how this happens and how it fails to happen when a pair of toddlers see a North Korean monster movie and listen to a parent reading a traditional story. We look at how they respond to book and video, comic and tragic versions of the story with a Korean word which can mean “bad” in either an ethical sense or in an aesthetic one, and we discover the moment that the former appears to emerge from the latter. On the one hand, we find that it does not appear to matter much whether the story was presented in written text or in video, or, for that matter, as tragedy or comedy, just so long as opportunities for dialogue were many and varied. On the other hand, we found that Bakhtin’s ideas give us a surprisingly accurate way of predicting the various moments when ethical terms emerge from aesthetic ones. As Bakhtin teaches us, the key appears to be not an empathetic seeing or an aesthetic one by itself but instead the ability to change from one point of view to the other. pp. 153–170

Keywords: Bakhtin; ethics; esthetics; early years

YONGHO KIM
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Nokbeon Elementary School, South Korea
DAVID KELLOGG
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Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea

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