The Social Implications of Metaphor in Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite


  • Alireza Farahbakhsh University of Guilan
  • Ramtin Ebrahimi University of Guilan



parasite, social mobility, metaphor, class struggle, capitalism, Bong Joon-ho, Korean cinema


The purpose of the present article is to study the social implications of repetitive metaphors in the film and of the word Parasite (2019) and to observe what makes the life of a lower-class family parasitic within a typical capitalistic society. In the mainstream discussion, the metaphorical functions of such words as ‘smell,’ ‘insects,’ ‘the rock,’ and ‘the party’ are assessed within the context of the film. The central questions of the article, therefore, are: What are the recurrent and metaphorical motifs in the plotline and how can their implications be related to the overall theme of the film? How does Parasite exhibit the clash of classes in a capitalist society? To answer the questions, the present study offers a comprehensive analysis of its recurring metaphors as well as its treatment of the characters who visibly belong to two completely different classes. Through a complex story of two families whose fate gets intermingled, Bong Joon-ho masterfully presents a metaphoric picture of a society where inequality is rampant and the poor can only experience temporary happiness in the shadow of the rich (represented by the Park family).

Author Biographies

Alireza Farahbakhsh, University of Guilan

Ph.D., Associate Professor in English Language and Literature, University of Guilan

Ramtin Ebrahimi, University of Guilan

M.A. in English Language and Literature, University of Guilan, Iran.


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How to Cite

Farahbakhsh, A., & Ebrahimi, R. (2021). The Social Implications of Metaphor in Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite. CINEJ Cinema Journal, 9(1), 87–116.