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 essay entitled “Persuasion and Pride and prejudice in the manhwa” [https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/06/18/painter-of-the-night-persuasion-and-pride-and-prejudice-in-the-manhwa/], I demonstrated that Baek Na-Kyum had been suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Moreover, I also elaborated that the low-born had been exposed to coercive persuasion. Nevertheless, since we had the appearance of the adoptive mother, Heena noona, I got new insight about the painter’s youth.
Byeonduck gave us more clues about the painter’s past. First, I realized the importance of the place he was raised. Since he was surrounded by loving noonas, he grew up in a loving environment. Nonetheless, because the kisaengs belong to the lowest social rank, they don’t have a good reputation, which is visible in the way Yoon Seungho called Heena noona: “harlot” or “wench”. So right from the start, Baek Na-Kyum grew up in a rather secluded place, it was not the place for children. Therefore, he never had the chance to make friends so that he couldn’t exchange his thoughts with his peers. That’s why he is seen painting on his own in the first chapter. Since he couldn’t play with other children, he overcame his loneliness with painting. And remember that social isolation plays a huge role in coercive persuasion.
Secondly, each time he witnessed violence perpetrated on his adoptive mother, he could only cry before being sent away with the scholar Jung In-Hun. He could never voice his anger and intervene. He hadn’t the strength and the time to stop the abuse. The only thing he was able to do was to cry as a sign of protest, and later find solace in the scholar’s arms. The manhwaphiles can detect his anger, powerlessness and pain in this panel. Hence while the low-born grew up, he was not only deeply influenced by this negative image of rich nobles, but also not allowed to voice his resent. From my perspective, the artist must have felt no liking to interact with other people. On the one hand, he was happy among his noonas, on the other hand the strangers visiting the brothel were all perceived by him in a negative light. That’s why I come to the conclusion that Baek Na-Kyum’s isolation was even reinforced by these incidents, creating the perfect situation for the coercive persuasion.
Moreover, the story told from Heena noona’s perspective clearly outlines that this kind of incident was recurrent. And the author posted another picture on social media reinforcing this impression. Striking is that the painter’s facial expressions are showing sadness and pain, whereas the scholar is actually smiling. This is palpable due to his gaze and the angle of his mouth. And this panel truly displays the teacher’s hypocrisy and superficiality. How can he smile and ooze a certain happiness, when the boy is definitely feeling depressed? More importantly is that the young boy is on the teacher’s back, which explains why he could never perceive the fakeness of the warmth. Sure, one might argue that the teacher was happy, because he was hugging the artist. Yet, in a real embrace full of affection, people are facing each other, like in this panel: Yet observe how the scholar is hiding his face from the innocent boy. The artist could never witness the teacher’s facial expressions and gaze. And if we combine these two observations, we recognize why the artist questioned the genuineness of the main lead’s hug in chapter 49. Note that he didn’t see the lord’s gaze in that moment. He was actually hiding his face from the protagonist. Moreover, he didn’t pay attention to the lord’s words , too overwhelmed with the last sex session. If he had truly listened to his words, he would have sensed the noble’s unhappiness and regrets. He was definitely expressing some self-reproaches here. The problem was that in chapter 29, Baek Na-Kyum realized the scholar’s betrayal after a warm embrace due to his words, explaining why he was rather critical to this warm embrace. Yet here the artist made a mistake. He judged the gesture without paying attention to the lord’s remark. And this shows to me that Jung In-Hun took advantage of the artist’s affection to fake care and love. Yet, while he was faking warmth and love, he never said anything, since either the faces are covered or the mouths are closed . That’s why Baek Na-Kyum made this mistake in chapter 49. His skills to listen were poorly developed, because in his past he barely talked in the end. I would even add that he had been trained not to voice his thoughts and emotions in reality. Why do I come to this conclusion? It’s because he speaks either like his surrogate father or like his adoptive mother (chapter 65) (chapter 2) I am quite certain that he adopted her perception of the world due to his negative experiences. Besides, I believe too that Heena noona was already influenced by the scholar. She already mistook for a hero and misjudged his personality. Therefore I come to the conclusion that the painter’s skills to lead a conversation weren’t developed at all. The scholar had no interest to teach him, because this would have led to critical thinking. Furthermore, he is just a low-born. Finally, he had no reason to talk, because this would mean that he had to explain the situation. Why did the rich noble become violent? So he was doing the exact same thing than the butler: he was swaying the violence under the rug by letting take the wealthy and violent aristocrat the blame. Since no one discussed these incidents, the painter could never voice his anger and developed his conversation skills. That’s why it tool a long time for Baek Na-Kyum to finally listen to the main lead properly. He experienced a similar situation than Yoon Seungho in truth. Yet there was a huge difference between them. Yoon Seungho could read books, hence his thinking could improve, whereas it was not the case for the artist. He had to find another way to voice his emotions. Therefore he came to paint in my opinion. This was the only place where he could express his emotions properly, yet his pictures were only reflecting warmth and love, but nothing about his negative emotions: rage in face of injustice and violence.
From my point of view, these incidents reinforced the bound between the low noble and the low-born. Moreover, the noble could only smile, as he had the opportunity to enter the kisaeng house without paying anything. He could keep trying to get close to the powerful and rich aristocrats frequenting the kisaeng house, and the boy was the key to enter this place. Finally, since the scholar is also a reflection of Kim, and the latter always uses others to achieve his goal, while he lets others take the blame, we have now a confirmation that the scholar was definitely responsible for these incidents. The kisaeng is seen hurt by the rich noble, we can definitely imagine that the scholar was the cause for these incidents.
In the head-kisaeng’s eyes, it was the right thing to send away her son in tears and rage, because that way she was protecting him. He wouldn’t catch the brutal nobles’ attention. At the same time he would find comfort in a caring person: the scholar Jung In-Hun. But this method could only last, when the boy was young, because he older he got, the higher the risk was that Baek Na-Kyum would unleash his rage onto the violent nobles. That’s why the mother decided to trust the painter to the teacher. Simultaneously, this observation made me realize this: Yoon Seungho’s words expressed the same emotions the low-born sensed, when he saw the main lead’s face. He was also sent back to these violent incidents. And now, you understand why the painter didn’t feel repulsed by the rather brutal confession. When Baek Na-Kyum met the protagonist, he could only reject him because of his past experiences. He saw in him the typical violent noble. However, surprising is that Yoon Seungho allowed him to express himself. That’s why Baek Na-Kyum lied, even yelled at him or criticized him by calling him a man consumed by lust. This explicates too why the painter was only honest during a confrontation in the end. While in his past, he could never voice his thoughts and emotions, he could with Yoon Seungho, as the latter never sent him away or shut his mouth with a warm embrace. Remember how the noble asked him to explain the situation about the ruined painting. He gave him the opportunity to speak, and kept asking for an explanation. He did the same thing in the barn as well. And now, you understand why the painter could only fall in love with the main lead, unlike in the past, he could freely express himself. Therefore I consider the chapter 68 as an evidence that Baek Na-Kyum isn’t suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. His love confession reflects his inner conflict. He loves him, yet there’s a certain reluctance. Moreover, he is arguing with Heena noona in chapter 68 showing that he is thinking on his own. Thanks to his “teacher”, he doesn’t just follow his mother’s wish blindly. Note the contrast between these two panels:
(chapter 46) (chapter 68) What caught my attention is the caress on both cheeks in the farewell. The gesture oozes tenderness and love, yet at the same time her hands are restraining the painter’s mouth. With her hands, she hinders the artist to argue with her and reject her decision. That’s why he accepts his fate, although he is terribly wounded by this experience. This explicates why she repeats the same gesture in chapter 68, yet she can’t stop him from speaking this time. The painter still disagrees with her. However, observe that the kisaeng is determined to act like in the past. Someone takes the boy away from a place, and the loving person will cover him with affection so that there will be no protest and objection. However, this is no longer possible. The abandonment affected their relationship, there’s a visible distance between them. The painter doesn’t even stand up for her. And now, if the manhwaphiles examine their conversation, they will recognize that the kisaeng has been cornered by her adoptive son. Even the caress on both cheeks didn’t have the same effect than in the past. That’s why she becomes more and more firm, I would even say authoritative. When she claimed that she had seen everything, Baek Na-Kyum told her what others saw (the lord’s affection) and that the latter had already confessed. For me, since each character has flaws, some more and others less, Heena noona is not different. She doesn’t realize that love is not enough to raise a child. The true goal of education is to let the children become independent. And this can only happen, when they are encouraged to voice their emotions, exchange their thoughts with others and question things. Overprotection can lead to misery in the end. Sure, her temper and personality served as a good role model: she is affectionate, definitely brave and willing to sacrifice herself for her son. But since she judged people based on appearances, she didn’t realize the teacher’s hypocrisy and sent her son to misery.
Finally, I would like to elaborate why the head-kisaeng expected from Jung In-Hun that he would take care of the painter, when she asked: Since in the past, the teacher had given her impression that he was caring and selfless, then she imagined that he would continue doing the same, if she made the request. However, the problem was that the moment she trusted the artist to the scholar, the latter had lost the key to enter the kisaeng house. It was, as if the key of the door had been removed, since Heena noona requested from Baek Na-Kyum to never come back. But this meant that the painter had become a burden for Jung In-Hun. Furthermore, this new panel showed us a teacher without glasses, which confirms my theory that the painter was the one who bought the glasses for Jung In-Hun. That’s why Heena noona could expect something from the scholar. She had allowed him to enter the place without paying, he had been receiving help from the painter as well. However, since the teacher had lost a possibility to find connections through the kisaeng house, he could only resent the painter. Besides, he loathes low-borns. As you can see, he had many reasons for abusing the protagonist:
- He was definitely jealous of the painter’s success.
- He couldn’t enter the kisaeng house any longer
- He had to take care of a low-born, while in his eyes, they are just destined to keep their social status
- He didn’t feel the need to hide his resent, but he used the erotic pictures to unleash his negative emotions and put the blame on the protagonists.
And since the painter had never the opportunity to talk a lot in his past, he couldn’t oppose much resistance. He was already isolated and their closeness created the perfect situation for the painter to develop a Stockholm Syndrome. He had no one to turn to, and since the painter had been trained to rely emotionally on Jung In-Hun, the physical abuse could only trigger this coping mechanism.
As a conclusion, Yoon Seungho’s desire to communicate coincides with the painter’s too. Nonetheless, the latter hadn’t found the appropriate partner yet. First, he had never learned how to make new acquaintances, and his second abandonment had traumatized him much more. Consequently, he became a drunk. Finally, he couldn’t judge the main lead properly due to his past and his prejudices. However, like my follower @Dunya696 truly noted, Yoon Seungho helped the artist to cope with his traumatic past by humiliating nobles. At no moment, Baek Na-Kyum intervened (chapter 8; chapter 18, chapter 53, chapter 54). Imagine, he risked his face for the vicious servant Deok-Jae who had hurt him before, while he remained totally passive, when the main lead punched Min. So the lord became the hand of justice for the painter, and Baek Na-Kyum didn’t mind in the end.
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