Painter Of The Night: Past, present and future – part 4 (second version)

This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes.

In the other parts, I concluded that Jihwa and Seungho were more persons of the past. Nonetheless due to the painter they were forced to change and live more in the present. On the other hand, Min was linked to the present, however because of his fateful meeting with the artist, he was also forced to focus on the future. The cause for his transformation was his desire towards the artist kept growing. He wanted to taste him but couldn’t as Seungho represented the biggest hindrance. Then I saw Nameless and valet Kim as persons personifying the future since both were strategists and made plans for the future (forcing the separation first, later bringing them together, forcing Jihwa to face reality and no longer live in an illusion) for the main characters. However, there were two figures left: the scholar and father Yoon. In this essay, I will examine Jung In-Hun and his relationship to time, just like I did with the other characters.

Jung In-Hun is a teacher who comes from low nobility hence he possesses no connection and wealth. Because of his actual poor situation, he keeps dreaming of his future With these two pictures, it becomes obvious that he is imagining a time where he will live like the rich protagonist. Therefore the first impression would be to judge him as a person symbolizing the future. However, if you pay attention to his words, you’ll notice that he is speaking in the present (“can count”, “has”, “do not have”) The enumeration doesn’t just expose his greed and envy but also outlines his strong connection to the present because he also employs two senses, the touching and the sight. This reinforces the impression he is somehow living in the moment. This scene is really important as it shows that the present plays a huge role in his life. I come to the first observation that this is his source of inspiration, the present leads him to dream of a future where he will be different. Envy, jealousy and resent are his generators, strongly intertwined with the present.

Furthermore, if you observe his interactions with others, you’ll note that Jung In-Hun keeps utilizing the present for the most part of the time. I chose first the following panels. (chapter 6) (chapter 10)(chapter 29) Therefore for me, Jung In-Hun is a person of present. And now here is the next question. What do these pictures have in common, excluding the present as tense? What caught my attention is though present is the utilized tense, he is actually referring to the past (“are still not painting”= didn’t paint /”does such things ” = didn’t do) or to the future (“are destined” = will be). The best example for this would be this panel. Notice that he is already thinking about the future, planning to use the painter, yet he speaks in the present. Strangely is that after realizing the importance of Baek Na-Kyum, he chooses not to bid farewell to his former student. Any normal person would recognize that he needs to treat the painter better from now on but no, he does nothing like that. Because of the contradiction between the different parts of time, I sense a confusion between past, future and present. My first explication is the following. In the scholar’s mind, his future is a certitude, that’s his fate. He is destined to have what Yoon Seungho has. Therefore, we could say, the present represents not only his strong motivation but also his future. In his eyes, his fate is to become rich and powerful. Thereby this is not astonishing that he talks to Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum about fate, path and destiny.

Simultaneously, we could say that he is not really living in the moment, as past and future are confused with the present. This explicates why he thinks about the future, while talking in the present.

The irony is that he was tricked by his favorite tense, the present. If the manhwaworms read again the episode 7, they will realize that time played a huge part in the deception. We shouldn’t forget that the learned sir needs to learn in order to pass the second examination. And like I had demonstrated it before, he only realized his mistake, the moment he discovered the existence of the deal (chapter 19). In his mind, he had already achieved his goal, the moment the main lead proposed to sponsor him. He didn’t recognize that the lord’s words were just an empty promise as he needed to pass first the civil service examination. He didn’t see the trap as the lord was talking in the present, for him a sign of destiny and certitude. First, the main lead implies that the scholar is an intelligent person (“are” is omitted), while he thinks the opposite. Secondly, he fools the arrogant man that he will succeed with the examination since he employs “when” and not “if”. The condition is disguised behind the idiom “only that”. As you can detect, Yoon Seungho is selling these as facts, while it was not the case. Due to the tense, Jung In-Hun was manipulated and fell into his own trap. He thought, he was deceiving the protagonist, whereas it was the opposite and his major mistake was the employed tense: present. Moreover, note that in chapter 18, he only used two senses: the sight and the touching. But he isn’t employing his mind or better said, his brain, limiting his own skills. That’s why he couldn’t perceive the deception. Since he is so certain about his path, he doesn’t really have to utilize his knowledge and his brain. This explicates why he is a lazy person in the end and couldn’t become successful before.

Since I outlined how the doubled-faced character would confuse present, past and future as his fate is already determined, this is not surprising that he is neglecting the present in reality. His present is different from reality, it stands under the sign of destiny. It is his path to climb the social ladders. Therefore he resents his real present, confronting him with reality. He has nothing. Now, you understand why I associate the learned sir to the present, meaning that he has some similarities with the low-born and the vicious lord Min.

However, as you can envision, he is different from the painter and Black Heart for different reasons. In my eyes, he personifies the negative version of Min. While the latter is a carpe diem person who enjoys the present by taking advantages of others for his own pleasure but is still envious of the main lead, the scholar is never satisfied with his current situation and resents everyone: Yoon Seungho, Baek Na-Kyum and the commoners. His real present is a constant reminder that he has not fulfilled his destiny. He doesn’t desire to be associated to commoners, although his clothes in the beginning don’t diverge so much from peasants’, while he wishes to resemble to the powerful main lead due to his wealth. As a conclusion, Baek Na-Kyum is the only satisfied with the present due to his modesty and selflessness. He has been accustomed to his social status. Due to his past, he knows what he should expect from the world which outlines that even if he was hurt in the past, he could move on but learnt from his bad experiences. Therefore he stands in opposition to Jung In-Hun who seems to have no real past and has not learnt from his mistakes at all. Now, you understand why. Since it is his destiny to have a high position, he doesn’t need to focus on the past or on the real present. That’s why he never reflects about his own actions and words, hurting the low-born, without noticing it. For him, fate will always play in his favor, yet by acting like that, he reveals gradually his true colors.

Striking is that his common past with the low-born is just briefly mentioned. He only taught him to read and write. Then he adds this: It was, as if they had no special relationship, except that the artist only caught his attention as he would follow him around and drew something immoral and vulgar. By reading it for the first time, the manhwalovers have the impression that the purpose of the scholar’s words is to undervalue Baek Na-Kyum, while emphasizing his own good personality. The artist is someone with an unappropriated behavior, whereas he was a man of virtue, a role model, because he punished the low-born for his erotic paintings.

Yet, we could interpret the idiom “once” differently. He has already forgotten what he really inflicted on the low-born. His coercive persuasion meant nothing to him hence he is overlooking the impact of his actions. In other words, in his mind he just did it once. And if you pay attention to the teacher’s behavior, it really appears that he has no real recollection of the physical abuse he did on the painter. When he meets him again, he acts as if nothing happened before. One might argue, he is just faking everything which is also correct hence this could be no real sign that he truly forgot the coercive persuasion. However, if you observe his behavior during the first season, you’ll realize that this is actually Jung In-Hun’s MO. In chapter 40, he almost killed the painter with his words, yet the next morning he still believes that he can still use him as his pawn… just like he did in the past. It was always like that, each time Jung In-Hun hurt the artist, the latter would still remain faithful. In chapter 29, he already betrayed which the artist sensed but once they arrived the mansion, the artist was still willing to sacrifice his own life in order to protect his admired sir from the infuriated and jealous lord. Let’s not forget that he never changed his attitude towards him after the coercive persuasion therefore the teacher wrote a bad poem. It becomes clear that he took the commoner for granted. In my perspective, this reasoning is simple. Since the low-born’s destiny is to be a prostitute after stopping painting, the ow noble imagined that he didn’t need him in the first place. However, now it diverges. In chapter 44, it becomes obvious that the scholar plans to use him as a prostitute. It was as if in his eyes, their paths were now connected. The low born will help him to achieve his goal. And this explicates why he doesn’t say goodbye to the artist. He can’t imagine that the low-born might change his mind and feelings. He is so sure of his “affection” and his power over him. He believes in his destiny hence he doesn’t need to pay attention to the commoner, the latter will play his role.

Nonetheless, it becomes obvious that because of his strong belief of destiny, Jung In-Hun is ignoring reality and as such present. He is neglecting the fact that Baek Na-Kyum is truly changing. He noticed his lie hence he punished him for his “betrayal”, unaware that with these exact words, he unveils his true personality. He is in fact the one who backstabbed him first violating his own doctrines.

Another point for my interpretation why Jung In-Hun is strongly connected to the present as he often acts on impulse. Due to his jealousy, he decided to beat the painter forcing him to vow to never paint again. He didn’t want to see how a low-born could become successful, destroying his own dream and belief: the low noble is destined to achieve greatness. By doing so, he didn’t recognize that he condemned himself to remain working as teacher in the end. As Baek Na-Kyum’s guardian, he could have used his popularity and even claimed to have a right to get his money earned through the paintings but he couldn’t bear the thought, he was living next to someone talented, mirroring his own lacking. Out of resent and jealousy, he abused the painter physically and mentally, that’s one of the reasons why he is describing it as a single event. He acted on impulse, until his anger and resent disappeared. And this attitude never changes. In chapter 10, he persuades the painter to stop painting hoping to get rid of a rival, unaware that he is actually ruining his own career and chances. Then in chapter 22, he forgets that Yoon Seungho is his sponsor and insults him by describing him as someone with no education, since he has been mocked for his poor talent. To his surprise, Yoon Seungho isn’t hurt by his words, in fact he retaliates right away. He is in no place to criticize his benefactor, especially when he has no real talent. Observe that the powerful lord is teaching an important lesson to Jung In-Hun, he needs to pay attention to the real present as it can affect his immediate future implying that his fate and big dream are nothing sure. By using a conditional sentence, he demonstrates that present is no guarantee for certainty as it is bound to a condition. I perceive this scene as another evidence that he lives in the present, an unreal one nourished by his vanity and his arrogance, which is an illusion in reality. The cause for this is that he believes in destiny. Each time, he gets disappointed and hurt, he unleashes his fury and the painter becomes his target. Notice how furious and violent he was after the hunt. He hurt the painter, until he regained his senses and recognized that he needed to treat the low-born differently, since he was relying on his relationship to his sponsor. In other words, not only he is neglecting the present due to his belief of destiny but he is so caught up with the present that he is always damaging his own career. Like my follower @SpringDayYum noticed it correctly, in reality Baek Na-Kyum symbolized his future, although he is also a person of the present. The latter was determined to do anything for him, willing to break his vow for his learned sir’s sake. As a conclusion, he never realized that he could have achieved his destiny by supporting the painter in his work. He would have gotten recognition for becoming his guardian and chose not, proving that fate and destiny are never determined. Choices are relevant and influence life.

Another interesting aspect is that he is not paying attention to his own changes. He starts acting like a pimp and even a prostitute, betraying his own doctrines, too consumed by his dream and his desire to secure his future. That’s why I have already predicted, he will become a prostitute [for furthermore information, read the following essay: https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/08/painter-of-the-night-jung-in-hun-a-new-version-of-bel-ami/ ] Nevertheless he will only recognize it too late, especially the moment he faces the painter and the latter realizes how his learned sir secured his position.

Note that when the double-faced man meets the powerful protagonist for the first time, he describes his job as a diversion showing that his occupation is to pass time which reminds us of “carpe diem” philosophy, living in the moment. Nonetheless there is a huge contrast as it is not linked to joy of life and pleasure. He only has negative emotions. That’s why for me, his mind isn’t truly directed towards the future. In fact, he is always jealous of others, especially of the artist and Yoon Seungho. Another evidence that he is a person of the present can be perceived in the scholar’s following words: He has been waiting indicating that he has been actually doing nothing at all. In order to be judged as a person focused on the future, the teacher should have made plans for his career but he doesn’t. He is so different from Kim and Nameless. Both anticipate reactions and try to move things in the right direction, they have strategies, like giving an aphrodisiac for example or postponing the murder. Therefore I would say that the scholar is trapped in the present, while he dreams of his destiny, which is in reality an uncertain future. His dissatisfaction is the reason why he would like to change his situation but he has no idea how. He lives in an illusion that the world owns him something and at some point, it will happen.

Therefore we could say that he is not a man of foresight which is symbolized by his glasses. Like my reader @nonoboy-oops pointed out to me, “the glasses symbolizes his being unable to look as far into the future due to his selfish ways”. Since he is short-sighted, it signifies that he can only see what is really close to him. That’s the reason why he uses people and tricks that are near him, another indicator that he is strongly linked to the present. Finally, I interpret his bad sight as another evidence that he is lacking knowledge. He has a very bad overview about his real situation hence he makes bad decisions. He is unable to perceive people’s true nature as well. He doubts Seungho’s intelligence and education, although he could have sensed it, after discovering the existence of the deal. He is not capable to recognize Baek Na-Kyum’s talent too and jeopardized his own ascension by forcing the painter to drop painting. And his blindness is actually reflected in the panel above. The manhwalovers can only see one eye. Back then, I interpreted that he was hiding his true thoughts. As you can note, this single image offers so many possibilities. It shows his underhandedness and hypocrisy, simultaneously his lack of foresight and knowledge as he can’t see everything. It was as if he had lost one eye and perceives the world in only one dimension. Two eyes are necessary in order to judge distance which is a metaphor for predicting the future. As a conclusion, this image illustrates his lack of foresight and “blindness”.

Since he resents the present so much as it doesn’t correspond to the image he has in his mind, he seems to be similar to the red-haired aristocrat, who hates his actual situation wishing to go back to the past and projecting it as a possible future. Jung In-Hun has also developed a sort of escapist attitude. However, there is a huge difference between them. Jung In-Hun is neglecting the past that’s why we only have one flashback of the teacher in the first season. He is not learning from his mistakes, allows his emotions to cloud his judgement and jeopardize his future career. There is no doubt that the moment Jung In-hun returns to the mansion asking for more support, the painter will ignore his plea. He has definitely cut ties with his learned sir. As for Yoon Seungho, the moment he knows his affection is returned, he will drop the former teacher for good. He doesn’t need him any longer as he was just a tool to force the artist to work for him. Baek Na-Kyum will create beautiful erotic paintings, inspired by their mutual love. Like my follower @Denize59542085 suggested it, we have to expect that the artist will create a new big picture like in chapter 2. However, this time the noble will look directly at his lover, there won’t be any distance between them and the artist will gaze at his loved one tenderly, a gaze full of warmth, admiration and love proving to his lord that he is worthy to be loved.

Because of all the changes, Jung In-Hun will be forced to find a new sponsor and since he caught attention by getting help from Yoon Seungho, I am quite sure that father Yoon will imagine that he can approach the former teacher. And that’s how he will meet his true destiny: becoming a prostitute. I know, these are just predictions from my part but there were already clues about this evolution, like I explained in the other essay mentioned above. The scholar won’t escape his fate in my opinion, his punishment for all the wrongdoings he inflicted on Baek Na-Kyum.

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 tumblr-twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and the support.

2 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: Past, present and future – part 4 (second version)

    1. His punishment was to be constantly rejected and to be reminded of his past suffering each time. Punishment doesn’t necessarily mean, he will lose his title or something very concrete. Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho was traumatized due to a gangrape and prostitution so being tormented by these memories is quite similar to Jihwa’s nightmares and torments. That’s his punishment.

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