Dine With a Vampire: What defines being a human?

This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/dine_vampire  But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. Here is the link, if you are interested in more analyses about this manhwa and others https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/

Yes, I decided to write about another manhwa which caught my attention for two reasons. While reading this story, I couldn’t restrain myself from connecting this manhwa to Painter Of The Night and to the American series True Blood which I enjoyed very much. The latter has not only vampires as a common denominator but also uses vampires as symbol for homosexuality. In True Blood, the integration of vampires in the society is a terrible process because of the fight for legalization of vampire rights, paranoia and religious extremism leading to exclusion and even persecution. All this resembles the legalization of rights for homosexuals concerning marriage and even children. Moreover, while this American series questions the values of Western societies (role of politics, morals and Churches/religion), it also makes the viewers ask what defines being a human and how humans are superior to other species. And it is the same with the manhwa. Even after a few chapters, it becomes clear that the characters are not really human or better said, their humanity is questioned.

Before examining the definition of humanity through the manhwa, it’s important to summarize the story thereby the manhwaworms can better comprehend why I came to this topic while reading Dine With a Vampire. Our main lead Joo Sooin is forced to live with Kwon Sungha, his first love and best friend in the past, because the latter has been blackmailing him with his homosexuality by taking pornographic pictures of our protagonist. In their flat Sungha torments the young man physically and emotionally.

Here, Sungha is talking to his girlfriend, the daughter of an ex-congressman with his cellphone. In this scene, he forces Sooin to tell his girlfriend that Sungha is exercising.

Sooin is so desperate that once he has the impression he will never be able to escape from this abusive relationship. However everything changes once he meets the vampire Park Chi-Hwan, his new boss. The latter discovers that Sooin’s blood is so special that he can drink it without any discomfort that he proposes to kill his terrible roommate in exchange for his blood. The poor man agrees so that the vampire fulfills his promise. After killing Sungha, Chi-Hwan brings the uke back to his home. From that moment, Sooin lives with the creature and his life seems to change for the better. Now let’s focus on the definition of human.

If we look up, this is what we find:

human: adjective

  1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or having the nature of people: human frailty.
  2. consisting of people:the human race.
  3. of or relating to the social aspect of people:human affairs.
  4. sympathetic; humane:a warmly human understanding. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/human?s=t

human being: noun

  1. any individual of the genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens.
  2. a person, especially as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species:living conditions not fit for human beings; a very generous human being. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/human-being

Based on this definition, a human being belongs to Homo sapiens and distinguishes himself from other species like animals due to his appearances and habits. Furthermore, being human is a synonym for having compassion. If we compare the definition human as noun with a vampire, the reader can detect a problem because based on the common legend about vampires, the latter used to be human beings but after their death, they came back to life. Therefore we could say that they also belong to the genus Homo but they evolved to something else.

The first difference with human beings is that a vampire is supposed to be immortal. Since he is already dead, then he can’t die. Yet both in True Blood and in Dine With a Vampire, vampires can die. In the series, they are weak to sunlight for example. In the manhwa, the vampire Park Chi-Hwan is a predator killing someone from his own kin in order to survive.

Since he can’t digest human blood which he finds repulsing, he has to eliminate other vampires in order to eat their heart and live on. In other words, a vampire can become the prey of his own brethren. Consequently, we can say that they are mortal and not invincible, just like humans. So immortality is not what really differentiates them from humans. In reality, they just don’t age but this is not obvious. Therefore I come to the first conclusion that vampires are not really different from humans. They can die and they look like humans. They might feed on humans but the latter are not aware of this because they are kind of hypnotized. That’s the reason why they don’t catch the attention of humans. The latter are usually not aware of their existence. Striking is that the introduction of the main lead in the second chapter gives us the impression that he is a ruthless monster. He has no problem to kill other vampires, shows a certain disdain for humans as well due to his intolerance to human blood. When the readers meet him for the first time, he looks cold and detached from the world. Therefore we can say that the first impressions the readers have about the vampire is not quite positive. He seems selfish, very particular and merciless. Hence we could define him as inhuman as he is not able to show any empathy and compassion for others.

Striking is that in the first chapter, the life of a vampire is compared to hell as they are shown as ruthless and brutal. What differs a human from a vampire in reality? Are humans better than vampires because the latter are actually parasites living on sucking blood from their prey? Based on the introduction of the vampire, it looks like their nature as ruthless and bloodthirsty creatures separates them from humans.

Striking is that Park Chi-Hwan reveals his true identity by showing Sooin his sharp canines. Therefore we could say that what distinguishes vampires from humans are the teeth. However this is not visible right away. This explains why vampires are difficult to discover. Nothing on the surface differentiates them from humans, although their personality could be the major divergence like I illustrated above. We could say that these fantasy creatures are not truly different from humans. In fact they have a lot in common: their origins and as such their morphology and even mortality. Furthermore humans are also predators as we are hunters too. We kill other species in order to survive. I could even say that humans are also parasites since we raise cows and chickens for milk and eggs. Here I am excluding vegetarians because historically speaking, the first Homo sapiens started eating meat before discovering agriculture. So the only big difference between vampires and humans is the aging and death due to illness that’s why their existence has something supernatural, only explainable with godly or devilish powers.

What caught my attention is that Sooin shares more common points with Chi-Hwan. While in the first chapter, vampires’ life is described as hell,

the main lead’s life is also like hell due to the abuse caused by his roommate. The irony is that although Sooin is a human based on the definition from the dictionary, the manhwaphiles can’t perceive him as a real human. He resembles more a zombie, even Chi-Hwan notices this. He describes him as « lifeless ». Furthermore Sooin has no control over his life because the abuser tells him what to do and what to say. Then if you look at the main lead’s body, you’ll notice how pale and thin he is. His eyes are also apathetic.

He is even covered with scars and marks due to Sungha’s cruelty and perversion. It was as if the protagonist had been sucked dry by his former best friend hence he looks more like a walking dead than a human. The only thing distinguishing him from a zombie is that he bleeds when he cuts his finger. Blood is the reminder that Sooin is not really dead. Striking is that the moment he accepts the deal with Park Chi-Hwan and is even willing to give his blood for real in exchange for a murder, Sooin becomes more lively. The death of Sungha seems to confirm my comparison of the protagonist with a zombie as we know that this kind of monster feeds from blood.

The main lead could even feel nothing under’s Sungha abuse. I interpret the vampire’s intervention that way. It was as if Chi-Hwan was taking away the pain and suffering brought by Sungha. I would even say that the vampire is erasing the shadow of death in Sooin’s body. The zombie can only return to his original state once the parasite Sungha has disappeared. Sooin became a walking dead due to his ex- best friend and the latter has to pay the price for his wrongdoings with his life. Funny is that both, Sungha and Sooin, are humans on the surface but lost their humanity because of their toxic relationship. Because Sungha didn’t view his friend as human but only as homosexual, he transformed him into a zombie. Strangely, the vampire has the opposite effect, although he doesn’t actually belong to the living.

Another important aspect is that Park Chi-Hwan keeps reminding Sooin of his mortality. Since Sooin is a human, he can die easily by chocking or falling hence the vampire wants to ensure that nothing like that happens. The creature fears for the uke’s life, whereas it never mattered to Sungha, which makes us see that the vampire acts more like a human than like Sungha (human = empathetic). Although the vampire is supposed to be cold as he died once, Sooin notices Park Chi-Hwan’s warm hand.

Compare the contrast between the vampire and Sungha. While the latter is a human and should be warm and empathetic, Park Chi-Hwan is in fact the one oozing warmth and showing care and compassion. The divergence is important because it already implies that the vampire will treat Sooin differently.

For the vampire, he is an important human therefore his homosexuality is irrelevant. He has no problem to accept such a relationship since blood and his life matter more than religious dogmas and social standards. Striking is that the supernatural creature even calls him master underlining who has the upper hand in the couple. Park Chi-Hwan has no problem to lower himself, to become a dog or a wolf for the human.

This indicates that the vampire is willing to renounce to be treated like a human. While this qualification displays a certain modesty, this also illustrates his determination to act like a guardian. He’ll become a wolf, a big predator, if it’s necessary, in case Sooin catches the attention of other vampires. That’s why the main lead marked Sooin as his possession through his scent. On the other hand, Chi-Hwan can become a dog if the uke is threatened by his own brethren, humans disregarding his master. Though the vampire is financially and physically stronger than Sooin, the former perceives the human as more significant because he knows that his own « life » depends on him. He is the first human being whose blood is so alluring thereby he can drink it. Notice the contrast between both treatments. For Sungha, Sooin was like an animal that he needed to tie up and put in a cage (the flat).

Both are parasites, yet for the creature of the night Sooin is more valuable because of his precious blood and humanity, whereas the uke was never a human, just a homosexual in the homophobe’s eyes. For the roommate, the main lead represented a sin, he could never see beyond his sexual orientation.

That’s why he enjoys to torment the poor man, turning him into a zombie.

As you could observe, the vampire in this story acts like a human (showing care and compassion) but at the same time, he gives up voluntarly on his status as human in order to protect his “master”. Thanks to Sooin’s blood, Park Chi_Hwan is no longer forced to kill other vampires, besides he can now feel pleasure. We could say that both perceive each other as savior. Thanks to the other, both could change their nature, one metamorphosed into a human, although it’s already announced that he’ll be a dog or a wolf for the uke in order to protect him. The other was a zombie at the beginning, yet with Park Chi-Hwan’s help, he regained his liberty and as such his humanity. Now he can choose his food and his clothes, whereas in the past his ex-best friend took Sooin’s liberty and as such Sooin’s human rights. He was ordered what to do and what to say, he was like a doll who wasn’t allowed to voice his own thoughts and emotions.

Just like in True Blood, religion plays a huge role in this manhwa. Striking is that Sooin has already lost hope until his encounter with the vampire.

The protagonist sees it as a miracle, calls Park Chi-Hwan a savior and describes his life with Sungha as hell.Hope, savior, miracle nd hell are terms referring to religion and especially Christianity. Imagine th iron, Park Chi-Hwan is like Jesus Christ for Sooin and it was as if Sungha had been acting as the Devil, Satan punishing Sooin for his sexual orientation.

On the other hand, Kwon Sungha visits Church,

seems to live like a perfect Christian so that a mother tries to set up her own daughter with the internist.

It becomes obvious that the future doctor, who is supposed to save life, is a hypocrite. Furthermore, the readers can also perceive the negative influence of religion condemning homosexuality. Sungha rejects his best friend,

curses him after hearing his love confession and starts abusing him at high school

because he represents temptation and embodies what the roommate should hate. Sooin made the friend realize that he was also a homosexual.However since he was raised in an environment where sodomy was condemned, he projected all his hatred onto Sooin. Notice that he calls his roommate filthy but he can’t help himself to have sex with him. The former even anticipates that at some point he will get rid of Sooin, the moment he gets tired of him, but it’s quite obvious that this is just an illusion and he is lying to himself. He is just a repressed homosexual who hates sodomy at the same time. Since he can’t hate himself, too selfish and too arrogant, he projects his hatred onto his roommate. In reality, he needs him hence he keeps him by his side. It was as if he could live out his true sexuality by hiding Sooin. Therefore he even plans to maintain his sexual relationship with the protagonist after his marriage. So on the surface, he lives like an exemplary Christian: he has already chosen his bride, the daughter from a rich and influential family, he is about to become a doctor and he has a good reputation. In reality, he is a sodomite with sadistic tendencies.

Now you can understand why he reminded me of Jung In-Hun from Painter Of The Night. First, they both wear glasses. This item symbolizes that these persons are wearing a mask and are not revealing their true self. Secondly, they both often smile, nonetheless they are selfish and vicious. They use moral standards and religion to insult and look down on homosexuals. Both are huge hypocrites, yet the only difference is that Kwon Sungha is himself a sodomite refusing to acknowledge his own sexual orientation. He resents Sooin so much because he sees in him the cquse of his deviation from the doctrine he has been taught. Since humanity is a synonym for benevolence, we can describe Sungha as inhuman as he is violent and cruel towards his best friend. He showed no empathy for him due to his sexual orientation. When we recall the uke’s question about Park Chi-Hwan, if the latter is a human, a person or a monster, the readers should apply this to Sungha. Is he a person, a human or a monster? The reply is quite obvious: Sungha is a monster, a parasite sucking on Sooin’s misery. This explains why the main lead’s body is covered with marks and bruises. These are the evidence of Sungha’s perverted nature, his monstrosity.

It becomes clear why Sungha is so inhuman towards the main character. For the double-faced internist, his roommate is just a homosexual. He can no longer perceive his ex-best friend as a human hence he is no longer bound to respect his human rights. Through this story, the author reminds us how important the legalization of homosexual rights is because they’re first of all humans. As humans, they should have the same rights than others: being able to find their own happiness and live openly their sexuality. It looks like Sooin could never reveal the abuse to his family since he feared the rejection and the criticism for his sexual orientation. Consequently, the main lead turned into a zombie because he was a human being in the beginning. This person can never be treated like an object as there is life in his body. blood is and was the proof of his existence, yet Sungha could never see it, too obsessed with his homosexuality and his rejection of his own sexual orientation. The vampire Park Chi-Hwan, who was introduced as a monster, acted like a real human as soon as he met the main lead and brought the latter back to life. The humans in this story appear more as different species (parasite and zombie) than the vampire himself.

As you can observe, this manhwa is interesting because it makes the readers question the definition of human and his supposed superiority. Is a vampire a human, when he helps a person in distress and shows a caring side, although he odes it out of selfishness? Or is Sungha a human because he is a mortal and sinned? Sure, Sungha is not dead and it is only a matter of time until he comes back to life as a vampire. There is no doubt that he will go after Sooin because he will need his blood and he will be attracted by him. The question is now: how will he perceive his ex-friend? Will he still resent him, especially after the protagonist ordered his death and betrayed him (in his eyes)? I doubt that Sungha will change for the better first.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and the support. Tomorrow, I’ll post about Painter Of The Night again. The title is: Dreams.

2 thoughts on “Dine With a Vampire: What defines being a human?

  1. Thank you for analysis of Dine with a Vampire. I also thought Jung In-Hun was like Sungha in the way that both of them are superficially “morale.” But in reality more of a monster than the identified “monster.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, I have been planning to write another essay about Dine With a Vampire but because of POTN, I kept postponing it. I’m working as a teacher again hence I can’t write like before.

      Like

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