From the start, the writer and drawer make sure that viewers can associate our heroine CSH to the moon. First, let us focus on the first drawing. Here, the princess appears in a dark and gloomy environment. It is not just night, the moon doesn’t seem to shine like it should.
Notice that it is not even full moon and the moon crescent is even hidden by the huge castle. All these points (moon crescent, hidden by the castle and lack of brilliance) underlines that CSH is not herself in the end. Since the castle embodies Y. Group and the pavilion Donghwa Hotel, we can better understand why CSH is still perceived as the ex-daughter in law of the chairman Kim. Now you might wonder why CSH is connected to the moon? First, it is quite simple. In the poetry, woman is often associated with the moon. This is no coincidence because the menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days which corresponds to the lunar cycle: 28 days. Another point is that in Europe, in many languages the moon is a feminine noun: la lune (French), la luna (Spanish, Italian) aso because they all have the same origin: luna from latin which was also a feminine noun because in the Roman mythology, Luna was a goddess. But now let us go back to our heroine. In the first episode, we witness her awakening which happens with the sunset. It was as if the sun would kiss the sea (another element embodying CSH) which would awaken our heroine. However, the beholder shouldn’t forget that the sunset announces the rise of the moon. And now you understand better why CSH acts so differently in Cuba. During this night, the moon shines just like CSH. During this fateful night, CSH reveals herself in front of KJH. She is far away from the castle and the gloomy environment. Striking is that many important events also happen during the night:
CSH visits KJH’s playground after work. Here she shows more her true personality as she is curious about this place.
In the episode 3, she plays happily, she can forget her worries and everything else.
The scene where KJH is drunk
in the episode 5, she cries after leaving KJH because she thinks, she has to cut ties with him. She can not bear the thought therefore she visits the place where there is this huge painting that she likes
What caught my attention is this taking. This is shown, just before KJH meets her in front of the painting. KJH feels happy first, until he looks at these pictures. Look at the photo on the left. The moon is about to be hidden, the moon crescent is barely visible. As you can observe, this picture kind of sends a warning: CSH is about to hide herself again.
In the episode 11: she sits on the swing underlining that she is accepting KJH’s world. She feels comfortable. She is not hiding as she is also wearing a red coat.
And in the last episode, she meets KJH at his playground again. This scene mirrors the scene from the episode 2, however the role are here reversed. While KJH was the one who caught there, CSH is the one who surprises her loved one. And during this night, it not only snowed but also they kissed in that playground. It was as if the kiss sealed their relationship. The beholder can notice that as time passed on, KJH and CSH got closer each time, when they were at the playground. In the former picture, KJH was not equal to CSH. He is on his knees and barely touches her knee. Now, both are standing but KJH embraces without restraint.
All these mentioned scenes had something in common: CSH was herself, she never contained her true feelings. She couldn’t even hide her thoughts and even her happiness. That’s why CSH is like Cinderella. Cinderella is forced to only appear during the night due to the balls. Here, Cinderella shines. Yet, the writer changed one thing. In Cinderella, the protagonist hides her true identity behind her beautiful gown therefore no one can recognize her. In Encounter, it is different. CSH does the opposite: she reveals her true personality. Actually, the situation is reversed. She is not a princess, but a single woman longing for love and warmth. She becomes a normal woman, she drops her princess status. By associating CSH to the moon, we understand better why CSH was suffering from insomnia. The moon is only visible during the night… so CSH could only “live” during the night, as she was living like a corpse during the day. But even during the night, her actions were limited as she was monitored by the media and her ex-mother in law. Her insomnia was a symptom that CSH couldn’t live freely.
But the moon can not live without the sun as the moon revolves around the sun. In another analysis I had pointed out that the sun symbolizes KJH. Without the sun, the moon can not shine at all and this applies to our heroine. That’s why at the end of this drama, the drawing put these two together. KJH as the sun helps CSH to shine, as she can smile and be happy.
Nature plays a huge part in this drama. JH is actually a representative of nature, either in the form of the wind, the sun or the tree. To be more precise, KJH is often associated to the air (wind, butterfly), while our heroine is revealed to be linked to water due to the presence of the sea. First, the drawings underlines this aspect. Striking is that the sea is represented in the two following pictures:
One might say that the sea is illustrated here because in these two episodes, JH and CSH were close to the sea: Cuba and Sokcho. Yet, this doesn’t explain everything because in the third episode, the sea is often seen as they are in Sokcho, however the drawing represented our heroine trapped by a fence and window. She was forced to stay immobile. Furthermore in the episode 10, JH and CSH were in Cuba, yet the garden of Grandfather Samuel was the main topic of the drawing. As you can observe, the location as such doesn’t explain the presence of the sea in the drawings. Moreover, in the second drawing the sea is here dangerous due to the waves, the latter are referring to the people trying to stop them from getting close to each other.
Therefore we need to examine when the sea is shown in this drama. The first episode starts with CSH standing in front of a window looking at the sea.
She is in Sokcho and the manager is briefing her about the reservations and the future opening. Interesting is although CSH’s face is expressionless, the viewer can sense that for her, looking at the sea is relaxing. In the episode 6, she explains why this hotel was so built (view to the sea and the mountain in order to relax and get closer to nature). It becomes clear that she has been missing nature and especially the sea. Yet, in this scene the sea looks so far away and the window serves as a shield. It was as if CSH was forced to admire nature, here the ocean, from far away, behind the window. She looks like trapped in that hotel which reminds us of a prison, so in order to feel better, the big view gives her the impression that she is not dead. However, if you take a closer look at the window, you’ll see the bars… so the form of the window reinforces the idea of a prison but in a bigger dimension. The sea appears again, when JH is listening to music and relaxing.
The ocean has the same effect on him, nonetheless he is above the sea and doesn’t touch it at all. He is not really looking at it, he is rather dreaming. Both are in a similar position in reality, yet CSH is further away from the sea than JH and CSH seems to be more longing. For our main progatonist, it is a matter of his own choice, he is not that interested. We saw him taking more pictures of the city and people than the sea at such. Arrived in Cuba, CSH seizes the opportunity to see the sunset at Malecon beach, however the manager recommends her to go to Morro Cabana because the view is more spectacular. So her decision shows that she is attracted to the sea and nature as such. Nonetheless, she has to climb that mountain in order to enjoy the spectacle.
If we compare her position to the first scene, then we notice that she is still far away from the ocean. However, she has been able to escape from her prison. For the first time, she feels free. But her freedom is just temporal. I had described before that the view of the sunset at Malecon beach had a magical moment: this marks CSH’s awakening.
I couldn’t help myself, while watching this scene, thinking about two stories. The first is the legend of Aphrodite’s birth and the second is the sleeping beauty. The legend of Aphrodite says that blood coming from the sky (Uranus genitalia) fell into the sea, creating white foam… and the goddess of love and sex was born. The sleeping beauty is awakened by the prince’s kiss. In both stories, we have something in common: birth and awakening which are quite similar. Since the sun often embodies JH, the sunset in the ocean can be seen as JH kissing CSH and bringing her back to life. The person is like reborn, she symbolizes love for JH who for the first time is attracted by a woman. I mean, she caught his attention earlier but her reaction at the sunset had a huge effect on him. Nevertheless, CSH is still far away from the ocean. For me, the sea embodies CSH’s true personality so that we come to the conclusion that water is her true element.
As the story progresses, we can observe how CSH and JH gets closer to each other and the sea is also getting closer to CSH as well. In the episode 3, we have three scenes where the ocean is in the background.
First, due to the painting affair, CSH has to travel to Sokcho and for the first time, we see her wandering around the hotel, walking on docks looking at the sea. Striking is in the first picture, JH is taking pictures of the sea and CSH is walking downstairs. She is still above the sea. So JH’s attitude towards the sea seems to have changed and their encounter has an effect on CSH. She didn’t expect him there. What caught my attention is the closer they are to the water, the happier and the more relieved CSH feels. In the evening, she can even smile and play happily without any worries and shackles. Another observation is the effect of the sea on both of them: in the second picture above, JH confides to her and she listens. In the episode 4, CSH is confiding to him, while she thinks, he is sleeping.
The sea plays a huge role, as it reveals her true personality (her own thoughts, her own feelings). This explains the need of CSH to look at the sea in the episode 1 and 6 from the window. She needs the sea in order to feel better. She shows more and more her true feelings and personality. She is revealing herself little by little. It looks like the sea helps them to open up.
In this scene, JH was reading a book and this sentence about the sea attracted his attention: “If the sea’s job is to make waves, mine is to think of you”. When JH was living in Sokcho, separated from CSH, he visited the places they had been in order to seek comfort. He had the impression that CSH was close to him. Due to all these events, he had already linked the sea to CSH. Moreover, when CSH appears in this scene, JH is again reading and not looking at the ocean. I sense that it must be somehow painful for him to look at the sea after their last phone call (“no news, good news”). In this picture, we see the wind moving the book pages, however we see the waves in the background moved by the wind. We could interpret, JH as wind brings in CSH’s heart emotions to life. He makes waves, something that CSH has no control over. This explains why in the first picture above, we see the sea and the waves… CSH as sea and JH as wind are visible there. However, the difference between the waves is huge… CSH is in the first picture of my post really back to life, while in the episode 9, she has finally admitted that she couldn’t live without him. She is finally able to confess how much she missed him and how much he means to her, yet she doesn’t confess his love for him. While he runs towards her, she just walks slowly. To conclude, she is not entirely true to herself, she is definitely restraining herself. Notice that she is not touching the sea. She is just very close to water, that’s how the restraint is visible.
Striking is that in the episode 10, the viewer see how KJH walks to the same spot he was seen in the episode 1 and rests there after meeting Grandfather Samuel. This underlines that KJH feels the need to be close to the sea. He went directly there unlike in the first episode. Moreover, he is not listening to music. His attitude is really different. To me, it outlines that our hero is missing CSH a lot. While in the garden, the stars in the sky made him think of her, here the sea makes him think of his girlfriend. The climax is shown in the episode 11:
CSH and JH have their feet in the ocean, they are enjoying the beach and the waves. There is no distance between CSH and the sea any longer, which means CSH has found back her real personality and she is enjoying her new found freedom. She is outside, running freely and there is no window or dock separating her from the sea.
And if we look back at the drawing from the episode 6, the waves are here the enemies because JH has forced them to react. The presence of JH as wind created waves, since the wind is the cause of waves. He brings enemies in CSH’s world, the sea. They are forced to reveal themselves.
However, the last drawing showing the presence of water is in the episode 13.
This time, the sea or a a lake seems to be frozen. This drawing represents CSH’s inner world, her last wall… which KJH is unaware of its existence as he is walking on the same side. Since he is by her side, he believes that he has achieved his goal (being as close as possible to her), yet he is wrong. This picture reveals the invisible barrier. Notice, we have here a mirror as the lake reflects their bodies which will mislead KJH. He won’t notice how he is pushed away, after his girlfriend meets his mother. The meeting is shown in the form of the white butterly leaving CSH’s body. This is the real blow which makes CSH change her mind. The frozen lake represents the last wall CSH had build around her. She is still somehow trapped and not entirely free.
credit to @utkim (forum soompi)
This gif illustrates perfectly my interpretation about nature and walk. CSH is in the dark, as if it was the night, since we can see two stars. Yet there is no moon. KJH is the only one living as he is walking. KJH is the wind and CSH is the sea. Notice that there is no wave before, the sea is calm. While approaching her, KJH creates a huge wave so that there is a lot of foam, bulbs of air.The wind brings movement and life to the sea. Their reunion creates something magical and huge. The big wave outlines the positive effect of KJH in CSH’s life: full of movement, excitement and joy.
This drama is really interesting because each episode starts and ends with a drawing. Each pictured scene doesn’t just serve as an introduction to the main topic of the episode, but also helps to understand the characters and their situation. However, if the drawings are all put together, you will notice a common denominator, the presence of nature. And each time, its presence is increasing. But now let us go back to the first episode and the introduced drawings.
So far, two worlds are introduced: the castle, where the princess is living and the green land where our main character is reading a book. The atmosphere of the first image is gloomy and rather suffocating. It is night, yet the moon is not shining at all. The moon is even hidden by the palace. Under the yellow arrow, you observe the princess leaving the castle on her own, going through the forest full of thorns,
until she arrives in a new world, where the moon and sun are shining at the same time. There, a man is reading a book, until he notices her and stands up. Both are facing each other. Here, the first drawing represents Cha Soo Hyun’s world, the modern civilization, whereas the second drawing embodies Cuba, where KJH will meet her. So the castle could be seen as a representation of Donghwa Hotel and Taegyeong Group. CSH is the CEO of Donghwa Hotel and she has just opened a new resort close to the sea. When the viewer sees her for the first time, she is already looking at the sea. She appears emotionless, yet we can see that the sea has some positive effects on her. She is calm.
Later, she explains how she developed the hotel. She wanted her future clients to rest by having a view of the sea or of the mountain. As you can see, she perceives nature as something positive, which can help someone to relax. Now, if we connect this to her trip on Cuba (her desire to watch the sunset at a certain beach), the viewer realize what nature means a lot to CSH. For her, nature is beautiful, can help people to relax and enjoy their time. However, the picture above shows that she can not get close to nature, as the window is separating her from the sea. The window could be perceived as a prison window due to the iron bars. This underlines first that CSH is living in a different world, far away from nature, and that she can not live like she would like. The other drawings show her living in a castle or pavilion, surrounded by people or by a fence, or trapped by a window
or even attached to a building.
To conclude, she is not just immobile, as she can not move, she lives in an urban world that is suffocating her and she can usually only escape from it through her paintings. The paintings function as a window to a different world, where her fantasy and her feelings are not contrived,
however it is not enough, since her biggest desire is to be close to nature as she likes observing nature (sunset). That’s why she was so determined to reach the beach in order to watch the sunrise, no matter what (broken taxi, no money, no phone). We shouldn’t forget that CSH is determined to renovate the hotel in Cuba without changing the garden, even refusing to put a swimming pool. She even outlined that the strength of this property was the garden. As you can see, she values the hotels based on natural elements: garden, sea, mountain. She wants people to feel close to nature through her hotels. Notice that after watching the scene where JH was looked down by her ex-mother-in-law (episode 6), she was standing in front of a huge window looking at the sea. At some point, you could sense that looking at the sea had this calming effect on her. For her, nature is a source of strength. Sure, she is a princess in the eyes of many, yet there is one person who perceives her differently. This is not a coincidence that in the episode 5, driver Nam compared our protagonist to a flower. He explained to CSH that no one can stop a flower from blossoming. As you can see, CSH is like a beautiful flower that has been “put behind a glass” by her mother and ex-family. A flower needs fresh air and water in order to live and that’s what JWS is not able to understand. He realized that in their marriage she was suffocating, hence he released her. In reality, he just created a bigger cage for CSH: Donghwa hotel.
However, our heroine is not just associated to a flower. She is often linked to birds.
First, look at the bird sitting on her lap in the gif above (episode 2). Then don’t forget the white howl she offered to JH (episode 2). But most importantly, just before the accident happened in Cuba, a bird appeared on KJH’s table at the cafe. The bird was announcing their fateful encounter.
In the episode, we see this taking. She looks like a flying bird.
Don’t forget that JWS is always filmed indoors, in suffocating rooms with no windows so that you have the impression, he is living in a prison, even worse, in a buried coffin due to his preference of rectangles and brown/black as colors. However, in his mind, this beautiful flower needed a protector that’s why he is helping her behind her back. She is like a flower with JWS as a gardener who ensures that she doesn’t get hurt. Donghwa hotel can be perceived as a greenhouse, where everyone can look at CSH and even gossip about her. He is just the gardener protecting her. By doing so, he feels that the flower sooner or later will realize what he has done to her so that she will smile beautifully to him like a flower and she will come back to his side. However, the difference between JWS and Nam is that the latter only compared her to one flower, while the other associated her to many flowers (episode 10). For Nam, she was fragile and unique, for our second lead, a lot of flowers looked like her, unaware that his words meant that she was nothing special.
But let’s go back to the drawings… they have all something in common: nature is always present, in the beginning (episode 1, 3, 4) less, but the more episodes were aired, the more nature prevails, whereas the modern civilization disappears little by little therefore there is no castle at the end… just time or moon or sun or stars (drawing from the episode 13, 14, 15 and 16), since Donghwa and Taegyeong Group represent no thread any longer. Nature has won over modern civilization. The reason is simple. First, nature plays a huge part in CSH’s life. Only when she is surrounded by nature (like drawing 1), she can feel free. Cuba is such a place. It has also become a meaningful place for her because she could do anything she wanted without being in the center of the attention. If we look at the first picture above, you can see that the trees are black and without leaves indicating that this is winter and nature is sleeping. We can interpret this scene as if her passionate nature was sleeping, oppressed. In her dark world, where she is so small and powerless, she is also like a flower that is sleeping or has not bloomed yet.
In my opinion, JWS and his mother represent the opposite world. Wealth and their social status are associated to civilization and modern world which are symbolized in the drawings 1, 3, 4, 5 and 11 (castle, pavilion, street lamps, road, windows, fence, wheels aso). That’s why CSH can never be happy with them. This is not random that JWS is always concerned about his image and appearance (he went to the shop because he wanted to impress a picky woman, his ex-wife), as he believes this matters in order to seduce someone. He even bought an expensive dress for CSH. Appearance is linked to artificiality, the opposite of simplicity and naturalness. As you can see, image means a lot to JWS, but it is different for CSH. KJH could move her heart because he wanted her to feel comfortable: the shoes, the jackets, the scarf. He always tries to give her his clothes. He always worries that she might get cold or hurt. A person obsessed with appearance would never accept such gestures because it wouldn’t look good but CSH is not thinking like that.
On the other hand, our hero JH is linked to nature in the different drawings. In the first drawing, he is living in a world so different from CSH: sunlight, green and tree. He is often standing next to the sun. If he is not represented, he is symbolized by the red butterfly (episode 4). The red butterfly has an important signification: it is an omen announcing huge changes in someone’s life. From my point of view, when the red butterfly touches CSH’s head, it was as if it brought back life and feelings to our protagonist. But don’t forget that in the story itself, JH introduced himself to CSH as fruit seller. In the same episode (1), CSH compares him herself to a fruit saying that he was like a white grape. Then in the following drawing,
the beholder discovers that KJH’s home is a tree, whereas her ex-husband’s home reminds us of a coffin. In another episode, JWS uses the metaphor of the wind, when he warns CSH that she might get swayed away.
Here the wind is actually a metaphor for JH. The wind knows no boundary, no limit as it is connected to the sky that’s why the wind should be perceived as the epitome of freedom. Moreover, by asking her not to let herself blow away, JWS actually wants her to remain in his world (“rectangle/frame”) because if she allows this, she will leave his world and won’t be able to come back. Furthermore, by associating JH to the wind, he is implying that her relationship with JH is doomed as the wind is something untouchable. You can not remain by the side of the wind, you can feel it but that’s it. To conclude, our hero is often associated with products coming from the nature: tree, butterfly, wind, grape, sun and fruit. The tree offers protection and rest for birds.
And this is another evidence that JH and CSH are meant for each other. A bird can only feel free and comfortable in the air… with the wind. On the other hand, JWS just compares her to flowers. JWS sent many flowers and even wrote that these resembled her. So the note and the number of flowers give the impression that CSH is not unique and special. This contrasts so much with JH’s mind: “among a multitude of stars, one star stares at me.” So for him, CSH is an unique star that he can distinguish from others… for JWS, it is different. In the end, his gesture shows that CSH is not really meaningful but he doesn’t realize that. Funny is that he thinks a little note, he can woo her so easily… JWS is far from being well educated: his expression skills and knowledge about book, arts and poetry are rather low and poor.
Since Cha Soo Hyun is represented by the moon and the bird, KJH by the sun, the air and the wind, this explains why the beholder often witnesses our protagonists flying a lot in the drawings (episode 6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 16). The sky is their natural environment, hence our couple is often walking and even climbing a tower.
Don’t forget that our couple is represented by the moon, the sun and the star. As conclusion, the sky, even the space are their real element.
Sure, the drawings also reflect the evolution of CSH’s situation and her relationship with JH. At some point, she has freed herself, she is no longer captive like in the drawing from the episode 3 and 4. She is also not surrounded by enemies, like the snakes in the episode 4.
Her emotions have changed as well. She is no longer cold, no sleeping flower. She is warming up, her emotions are starting showing up. As conclusion, nature symbolizes here liberty, but more precisely, the sky and space are the real symbols for freedom. Only at the end, she will be entirely free (no more guilt or insecurities). She is no longer bound by the earth or time, she has become a real moon. She is shining as the sun is shining next to her. As conclusion, the higher our protagonists are/ fly, the freer they are.
We shouldn’t forget that nature can also be dangerous. Notice that once CSH has escaped from her cage, she always has to face enemies and adversities. And in nature, her enemies are represented by the snakes, waves and the wolf. As you can see, nature is also connected to negative aspects. Nonetheless, this underlines that the problems and enemies CSH and JH have to face are natural phenomenons. This is nothing special but on their journey (drawing from the episode 5 and 6), they need to be together and work together. At the end, the sun has never shone so brightly. The MIL, the director Choi, her ex-husband are symbolized by the waves, the snakes and the wolf but since CSH and KJH never gave up and remained firm, the waves, the wolf and the snakes disappeared. In the drawing of the episode 6, KJH always serves her as a guide, he is her strength because he is the sun that warms her so that the flower can blossom beautifully. As for the wolf, the viewer shouldn’t forget that wolfs were used to be associated to death and danger in the past (see for example the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood), while the image of the wolf in modern stories has nowadays changed, since they are in danger. To conclude, the danger coming from nature are linked to the earth (the forest of thorns serving as border and fence, sea, snakes, time, wolf) contrasting to the space and sky, the epitome of freedom. In the universe, there is no limit of time and space.
When we look at the drawing of the episode 15, we see a huge hourglass standing between our protagonists CSH and KJH. Both are looking at the sandglass and seem to feel so little and powerless, especially because they are both much smaller compared to the hourglass. Moreover CSH and KJH are quite passive, they just stand and do nothing else than looking at the sandglass. Since the latter symbolizes the time, the viewer might wonder why the director chose this drawing. In this episode, CSH will break up with her boyfriend. So why does time seem to be the main topic of this episode based on this drawing and not the break up as such?
The answer is quite simple. The writer and the director used different means in order to show the importance of time.
First, if you pay attention to the dialogues, you will notice that time is so often mentioned. KJH’s mother says
“Once time passes, it will all quiet down.”
“He will forget about everything with time“
Then teacher Lee advises to KJH: “Let’s just wait a while longer”. She explains that CSH just needs time, just like KJH declares the same to CSH hoping that she would reconsider the break up: his mother just needs time. Furthermore while father Kim criticizes his wife, he tells her that their son withstood hard times for them therefore they need to support him as well. CSH hopes while walking on the bridge that in time he will be able to understand her. Then driver Nam advises CSH to reconsider it as well with the point: “It’s no time to think about it”. At the end, when KJH is about to give up, he confesses to Mrs Lee that it is time for him to let her go as well. As you can see, the break up is associated to time.
Moreover, time is also shown with the staging. We have CSH who wanted to break up at the end of their wonderful date but she couldn’t because KJH offered her the camera case. CSH realized that she needed to wait for the right time. She got aware that timing was as important as the way to break up. Besides, we have KJH who missed his bus at the end of the episode 15 which lets driver Nam see how KJH is affected by the break up. Then time was the reason why KJH got hurt. He caught his parents arguing and discovered that his own mother had betrayed him and asked his girlfriend to break up with him. Once he heard this, he went straight to her office. But she had already removed her couple ring, he was too late with his discovery as she had already made up her mind.
Then memories are so often mentioned as well and memories are connected to time as well. Memories represent events or moments in the past. For KJH’s mother, the break up will become a memory and at some point, it won’t affect her son any longer. He will be able to marry and have children. Then we have this taking.
This zoom represents Cha Soo Hyun’s gaze, looking at the Havana clock in her office. This indicates that she is remembering her wonderful time spent with KJH. She has already connected this clock to her time with her ex-boyfriend. And later the good memories of their relationship are the reason why KJH changes his mind in the last minute. The time spent with her is so precious to him and now we can link this to The Little Prince: “It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.” Thanks to these good memories he is able to remember his promise: to endure pain and overcome the hurdle due to the good memories. That’s why he changes his mind in the last moment and decides to visit CSH’s office. So while time was the main cause for the break up (CSH, KJH’s mother), time is the reason why KJH decides not to let her go and why he is as determined as before to remain by her side.
This explains why at the end the hourglass disappears, time is no longer what separates them because KJH is determined to make her change her mind. He will no longer remain inactive and passive like in the beginning. He will wait for her and waiting is linked to time. The break up was symbolized in the drawing by the separation due to the hourglass. Our protagonists were not next to each other, they were separated by the sandglass. Time seems to be against them. Yet, as time had passed on, the hourglass suddenly disappeared because it was the right time for KJH to show his strength and his determination.
I had analyzed the different meanings of “Encounter” and pointed out that “encounters” was exactly what defined JH-CSH’s relationship which explain why despite the gaps in their social status, their age and environment they could meet and understand each other. Due to many encounters, their relationship got deeper. Then in the episode 5, the turning point of their relationship is marked, when they stand in front of this painting.
They are looking at each other and JH is even touching CSH’s arm. She doesn’t push him away. Striking is that this painting from Kim Whanki is also referring to “encounter”, since his title is “Where, in What Form Shall We Meet Again”. What also caught my attention are the colors and the structure of this painting. Since we know that Cha Soo Hyun’s element is water as our heroine is often connected to the sea, we could interpret this painting as an image of the sea with a lot of foam, bulbs of air. So this painting embodies perfectly CSH and KJH’s relationship: the meeting of water and air. Yet we could interpret this painting in a different way. As you can see,
the painter Whanki Kim drew a lot of squares with different sizes and colors. The squares could be seen as picture frames. And now we can understand why the episode started with this drawing.
Our protagonists are walking side by side and there are a lot of picture frames. All of them look empty. But in reality, there are not. It is just that our OTP is not aware that their relationship has been marked with different pictures. They didn’t take any picture but the director and the viewers are the spectators of their pictures. I sense that from the start, the director and writers were planning to use this drawing and painting. Let me give you examples from previous episodes:
In the first episodes, we see these following takings:
Due to the black frames, they definitely look like photos. Then in the second episode, wheen JH and CSH were eating ramyeon, the scene was so shot that you have the impression, it is a picture (metal bars remind of a frame again)
and it became a photo for real.
Then in the third episode, this scene on the beach
which is breathtaking reminds us of a painting due to the window frame of wood which can be perceived as picture frame. In the episode 5, the director shot a scene in a similar manner:
To me, the painting from Whanki should be seen as a photo album that contains all the moments of our OTP and that’s why at the end of the episode, we see the painting used to show different moments of JH and CSH’s life.
JH and CSH are not entirely aware of their serendipity because at the end, we see how their paths crossed each other without noticing each other. By doing so, the director and writer are underlining that they were fated to meet. As conclusion, the viewers are actually watching a photo album of our OTP therefore the writer keep shooting scenes as photos. Moreover, the picture frames in the drawing look a lot like stars illustrating first the natural of their meetings and second the impact of their encounters… in this darkness, they felt happy and are kept as good memories. And their final photo is this
All along the viewers keep seeing such pictures, while our protagonists have no idea of their existence. These are invisible photos. But who is the photographer? Sure, in reality the director chose to create such takings but in the story itself, I would say, nature and time are the ones behind these pictures as nature and time are the natural forces that bring KJH and CSH together.
This time, I will explain the significance of walk in different k-dramas (Encounter and The Lonely Shining Goblin) in order to demonstrate how detail-oriented some scriptwriters are and how literature has influenced the authors. Sure, not every walk in a k-drama has such a deep meaning, yet it is important not to believe that TV-series only serve to entertain and we should just watch without thinking.
In order to understand better the symbolism of walk, I would like to introduce to you a poem named “sensation” written by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) in 1870. Here, you can listen to the original version, a French singer composed a melody for this poem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eEQpJ_oTyg
In the blue summer evenings, I will go along the paths, And walk over the short grass, as I am pricked by the wheat: Daydreaming I will feel the coolness on my feet. I will let the wind bathe my bare head. I will not speak, I will have no thoughts: But infinite love will mount in my soul; And I will go far, far off, like a gypsy, Through the country side-joyous as if I were with a woman.
As you can see, in this poem, the narrator is enjoying his walk. All his senses are fully awakened (sight, touch, smell, hearing). Moreover, he feels the nature through his entire body as different parts are mentioned (head, feet) or implied (“blue for eyes, “pricked” for nose, “love/soul” for heart, “gypsy” for ear). All this indicates that he feels alive, he enjoys this moment to the fullest. As you can see, the walk is a metaphor for life that’s why we often read the following expression: their paths have already crossed. In this image, the path symbolizes a person’s life and walking means that this person lives. Striking is that in this poem nature (“wind”, “grass, “wheat”, “paths”) is compared to a woman. Nature can give joy and warmth. It is a source of inspiration too. Yet, the poem also implies that one could walk with someone else but since he is alone, then by paying attention to her/his surrounding so that this person won’t feel lonely. Nature can replace the company of a woman. But it is not necessary to walk alone. Striking is that the walk is also associated to love. To conclude, walking in love is the best which means life without love is no real life.
Now, if we look at the k-drama The Lonely Shining Goblin that aired in 2016-2017, we will notice the similarity between the poem of Rimbaud and the main protagonists. The main character, Kim Shin, has lived for 900 years as goblin. His immortality was a reward and a gift from God. Our hero resented God, his king and himself for his unfair death. He had dedicated his life for his king and country and at the end, he died as a traitor. Due to his past, he never really lived. Even after becoming a goblin, the viewer can sense that he is still not living. He is just enduring the time but not spending his time to do things he likes. He witnesses how his servants, all humans, are passing away and each time, he is hurt. He feels lonely. He doesn’t live to the fullest, not because he is afraid of death or god… it is just that he doesn’t know how to live. He is just waiting for his bride. Hence he has never loved anyone. His future wife is supposed to remove the sword and ends his immortality. So love and death are connected. Striking is that at the beginning, we don’t see Kim Shin walking at all. He can teleport by using doors or he just stands there. When he meets the heroine for the first time, he is standing in the street. Sure after meeting her, he starts changing but he is still very passive. He only walks, when he needs to save her from the thugs. In the picture below, he is already waiting for her. He still doesn’t walk, he just waits for her. However, the closer he gets to his bride, Eun Tak, the more he starts becoming active and walk.
One episode later, the beholder witnesses how his position has really changed. Now he is leading her, holding her hand and we can see a smile on his face. As you can see, the change occurs because he starts loving Eun Tak. He is now living literally. So the walk reinforces this metaphor: Kim Shin lives his life, enjoys it to the fullest and is active. His love for Eun Tak has changed him.
Now, let us analyze the walks in Encounter. First, our heroine Cha Soo Hyun is seen walking for the first time, when she is determined to watch the sunset in Morro Cabana. But since she is under the influence of sleeping pills, we could say that she is like a sleepwalker. She is not even really living, she doesn’t even feel that her shoes are uncomfortable, until she feels some pain in her foot. However, she doesn’t stop, she keeps walking to the top of the hill. After her awakening, she starts changing. She walks more freely with KJH during their first evening together. Later, she is shown walking but she is so slow. Notice that KJH arrived later than her, yet he was outside taking pictures before she joined him. In Sokcho, we barely see her taking a long walk. First, they sit on the bench, then they use the car and later, they just play on the beach. Yet, under the influence of KJH, CSH is forced to walk, see the episode 5, where he is supposed her paintings in his district. The real first walk happens in the episode 6. And this time, CSH is taking the initiative as she is the one who proposes to go for a walk. Her desire to walk corresponds to her desire to live and enjoy life.
Her “love” for KJH was the trigger for her to change her life in South Korea. Sure, the sunset had changed her mind, yet once she experienced a setback (the ramyeon scandal), she thought that she should cut ties with KJH. the latter never gave up on her and he succeeded. As you can see, both characters, Cha Soo Hyun and Kim Shin, have something in common. The moment they meet their loved ones and decide to open their heart, they start living and walking. Walk, love and life are so intertwined together. This explains why the couples walk more and more as time passes on.
Later after the break up between Cha Soo Hyun and her boyfriend in the episode 15, we see the following scenes. We see how KJH is wandering in the streets and Cha Soo Hyun is standing on a bridge.
Actually, in this scene, this is not a stroll at all. First, she used her car indicating a regression. Secondly, she is just standing, as if she was frozen. Besides, when I used the word “walk”, I had “stroll” in my mind. Kim Jin Huyk is moving in an aimless way, he looks so lost. He doesn’t really pay attention to his surrounding. So their “walk” reflect the way they are feeling and living: he feels lost and lifeless and she is like petrified, she can’t move due to the coldness of the night and the bridge. The bridge is full of metal creating a sensation of coldness. She is no longer a Sleeping beauty but a statue made of ice. Besides, this impression is reinforced as there is no plant, no people on that bridge, only cars passing by. Notice that the moon is not shown at all, although it is night. CSH, as the moon, can not shine as she is without her sun.
As for the bridge, it symbolizes that CSH is about to leave KJH’s life and world. However, we never see her crossing the bridge entirely. Since a bridge connects two sides together, it embodies the link between two worlds. In the goblin, it connected humans and god, life and death, past and present. Don’t forget that on that bridge, our reaper met his past love and Eun Tak’s mother met the goddess. Here, CSH just puts some distance between herself and KJH. She can not bear to watch KJH in pain. The bridge is an illustration for distance and leaving KJH’s side/world but like I mentioned it before, we don’t see her reaching the other side as she stops and looks at the lights and buildings lost in her thoughts, too hurt by the pain.
Now, if we compare the two couples, then we will notice that the way they walk together reflects their position in the relationship. Since CSH and KJH are walking side by side, they are equal. In the Goblin, since he is much older than Eun Tak (she is just 19 years old), he is the one leading. He has indeed the upper hand in the relationship as he is still hiding things from Eun Tak, the real meaning of his bride: ending his immortality.
That’s why in the future by watching a k-drama, pay attention to the walk if one of the main characters is described as passive and quite restraining himself/herself. The walk could be a clue for a possible change, especially if it happens with the person he or she loves.
unexpectedly be faced with or experience (something hostile or difficult).”we have encountered one small problem”
meet (someone) unexpectedly.”what do we know about the people we encounter in our daily lives?”synonymes : meet by chance, run into etc.
nounan unexpected or casual meeting with someone or something.”she felt totally unnerved by the encounter”
you come to realize the ambiguity of the title “Encounter”. Moreover, it also reveals why JWS can never become a part of CSH’s life.
If we take the first definition (facing some difficulty and hostility), it is referring to the adversities that CSH and JH have already faced and will face together. So far, CSH had to deal with a few bad experiences:
the article and picture about a possible romance which forced to hear bad comments from her ex-mother-in-law and mother
the anonymous message on the bulletin board;
the terrible question from the reporter
the terrible comments from her own mother
the incident with the contract (Hotel in Cuba)
the arrival of Jung Woo Suk as second CEO (episode 12)
her meeting with KJH’s mother (episode 13-14)
The same happened to JH:
the gossiping and the weird gazes from his co-workers (episode 5, 9)
the harsh words from chairman Kim (episode 6)
the harsh words from secretary Jang (episode 6)
his meeting with director Choi (episode 7)
his demotion to Sokcho
his meeting with JWS (episode 11-12) which made our hero feel insecure
But now let us focus on the second meaning of encounter. It implies an unexpected meeting and if we look back at the different events between CSH and JH, we will notice that they had a lot of unexpected meetings:
– Cuba :
The accident with the taxi. If JH hadn’t been asked to change the seat, CSH would have never noticed him.
The taxi was supposed to bring her to that place in order to watch the sunset but it broke down. She had to take the ferry… by walking on the street, she caught JH’s attention which led him to follow her.
She almost fell from the wall therefore JH had to intervene. I doubt that he would have approached her without her mistake.
At the airport.
Striking is that they missed each other at the café the next morning. And this was not an encounter but a planned meeting (rendez-vous).
– South Korea:
He becomes her employee.
After reading his letter, she wants to visit the playground he had mentioned to her before. But she is caught there red-handed which triggers JH to invite her to look at the pictures from Cuba.
JH is drunk and CSH sees him standing all sleeping. She decides to bring him home.
When he followed Jang to Seokcho, this meeting was not planned by JH nor CSH. Our heroine was surprised to find him there. But even if we consider it as a planned meeting, there was a casual meeting in all this, especially if we compare it with JWS. CSH was not at the hotel, when JWS and JH arrived at the hotel. JWS kept waiting and missed her. The opposite happened with JH. CSH was walking around, until she saw him. They could have missed each other like JWS but it didn’t happen.
After arriving home, JH listened to radio and the message of a listener which made him realize that the listener was CSH. They met “through the radio”.
Then we have got the car accident. If she hadn’t been involved in that accident, she wouldn’t have received her birthday gift from JH and even become closer to him.
CSH saw JH a little depressed at the café as she was on her way to a meeting. She changed her plan in order to cheer him up.
Then at the end of the episode 5, they meet in front of that painting. JH wasn’t expecting to see her there too.
In the episode 6, she goes to teacher Lee’s place, although she is not even sure that KJH will be there as she had told him that she wouldn’t come.
He runs to her house as he is depressed. He needs to be close to her house in order to overcome the future separation. She catches him there.
In the episode 8, Driver Nam picks him up so that he can be at the ball.
Episode 9: She is able to meet him near the lighthouse, she could have missed him.
Episode 10: KJH meets her at the café where he was supposed to meet her in the first episode. She finally reads his note and discovers the question he wanted to ask
Episode 16: she is able to find him at the playground.
I could have mentioned more encounters between our protagonists. Nonetheless all these encounters had a huge impact on CSH and JH and their relationship. Because it was always unexpected, CSH couldn’t be like an ice princess. Her guard was down, besides she got sometimes caught red-handed, where she was unable to behave like a CEO. Furthermore, through these casual meetings, JH was able to see CSH in a different light. Only through encounters, KJH could break down her walls and her resistance. Then she was forced to do new things with him. It was refreshing for her and she could see how natural and simple their meetings were. The encounters in the later episode have a different function: she lets KJH enter her heart and mind completely.
However, in the beginning of my post, I wrote that the title gives us an explanation, why JWS can never be a part of CSH’s life. If you look back at all their meetings, JWS always tries to meet her. He needs to get an appointment. But if an encounter occurs, then either the one leads to create a misunderstanding and put JWS in a bad light or he is destined to witness how Kim Jin Hyuk gets closer to Cha Soo Hyun. The first case was, when he enters the shop in order to retrieve the ordered suit. He wants to impress a picky lady. Unfortunately, his ex-wife hears his words and thinks, he has another woman in his heart and mind. As for the second case, the fateful encounters are the following:
episode 4: He witnesses KJH bringing CSH with the old truck. He witnesses how KJH’s present is accepted. On the hand, his gift (the expensive dress) is later rejected.
episode 6: He sees, how CSH puts the bought necktie to KJH
episode 9: the kiss at the ball
CSH has never had any encounter with JWS:
The meeting at the restaurant before they got married.
In the first episode, JWS meets her at his mother’s birthday. JWS knew that CSH had to appear there.
In the episode 3, she wants to meet JWS in order to protect JH. JWS is waiting for CSH at the bar.
He drove to Seokcho in order to meet her but he missed her and when he had an encounter with her, she was with JH coming back from the beach.
He meets her again at a restaurant in order to resolve the problem.
The press conference (episode 6): he received an invitation.
He couldn’t find her at the ball despite knowing how she was dressed. (episode 8)
Then in the next episode, he asks her to go a restaurant where he proposes to her again.
In the episode 10, he wants to meet her at the sky lounge but she refuses for the first time to follow his request.
JWS represents the exact opposite of “encounter”/JH. Every meeting he has is organized, even with JH. Let just take the episode 6. He wanted to help CSH but also see if JH was the one who received the necktie. That’s the exact reason why CSH can not fall in love with him. JH is natural and simple, whereas JWS is sophisticated and artificial. We shouldn’t forget that CSH doesn’t come from the same world than JWS. She only entered it, when she was young… like her friend and secretary said, she used to be different in the past: more natural and carefree. Through the different encounters, the viewers realize that human beings are powerless since time and nature are the real forces. Cha Soo Hyun was destined to meet Kim Jin Huyk and Jung Woo Suk couldn’t stop it as money means nothing to time and nature. He could never win over them. When the time was right, her path crossed his and this time, she could notice him, unlike in the past.
Cha Soo Hyun has already decided to break up with KJH, nevertheless the latter is unaware of her decision. Since she knows that a bad break up can be really painful due to her husband’s fake affair, she decided to leave a good memory behind believing that this would lessen the pain. And we all know that no matter how you break up, the pain will never be lessened. She thinks that she should break up, just like her ex-husband did, for the same exact reason: protection. She wants to protect KJH and his family.
Since KJH had proposed as a date to visit a book store together where they could read books together and exchange their favorite book, CSH thought, she needed to grant his wish. She knew that this would be his favorite date, the perfect date. Our heroine chose as book Alice in Wonderland and KJH The little Prince. Yet, the perfect date ended here.
I chose this taking because it perfectly fits the situation. Their future separation is illustrated in this scene. The counter serves as border, just like the decoration with the books on the ceiling. Moreover, CSH is standing far away from KJH reinforcing this impression that CSH has returned to her own world. The distance between them in this taking illustrates the inner distance CSH created. Then you can distinguish an invisible frame in this picture, it really looks like there is a glass or a window between them. And this invisible frame corresponds to the invisible change in CSH. CSH has not just started to put a boundary between herself and KJH but also put a gap between them and KJH is unaware of it. She doesn’t share her thoughts and feelings any longer. She is actually hiding behind her smile that’s why KJH is so happy. He said once that seeing her smile would make his day. So he thinks, CSH is happy. Striking is that CSH has adopted KJH’s mannerism. The latter did the same in the past. He never wanted people around him to worry and burden them hence he smiled a lot. The illusion is perfect: she smiles, they spent a good time together so for him, everything is perfect. Yet, she is about to hurt him terribly because he is not expecting it.
Strangely, while KJH is waiting at the counter, he waves to her.
His gesture means for him (Here I am, look at me!), however for CSH it means the opposite: waving goodbye. Remember that she wanted to break up at the end of this perfect date but she couldn’t as KJH offered her a gift: the camera case with her name on it. That’s why she had to postpone it and find the right time. She came to the conclusion that the timing is as important as the way of parting. yet, she is making a huge mistake because no matter how and when, breaking up is really painful.
Yet, there is one thing that caught my attention: she is wearing a red coat. First red is her favorite color (see the dress in Cuba) but she is showing her love for KJH by wearing such a color. She is even catching people’s attention with her coat. She wants the attention from the media on her so that she can quietly break up with KJH without causing any wave. So loving KJH has definitely changed her. She might put an invisible distance and boundary between herself and her boyfriend, yet she is not giving up on her love. She has decided to love KJH but from a distance… so her love will remain despite the break up. As you can see, KJH’s words and behavior have influenced her greatly, she is a changed woman, although there is still something that KJH couldn’t change: her insecurities and fears, the last wall he couldn’t tear apart. She still views herself as cursed, her relationship with KJH was just a dream because it was too wonderful to be true.
While I was watching this drama for my analysis about feet and hands, I came to realize that the hands are often shown with the cellphone. This connection between hands and cellphone starts with this significant scene:
JH takes a picture of his hand where he has just written his cellphone number. Striking is until that moment, we had no taking about cellphones. Why? First, when CSH meets JH for the first time, she has just lost her cellphone. JH didn’t use it at all, he had his camera with him. However, when they are about to part from each other, CSH keeps asking about his phone number but JH refuses as he doesn’t want to be misunderstood… he would rather like to meet her in person again hence he proposes to meet at the cafe for breakfast at 9.00 am. Since CSH doesn’t show up, he leaves a note where he asks her what he always wanted to know: does she have a boyfriend? As you can see, JH doesn’t seem to be the type who uses a lot his cellphone, he is rather a direct person.
In the picture above, the connection between hands and cellphone is even reinforced because we have CSH’s hands holding the phone and we have JH’s hands represented in the picture. So indirectly, their hands touch each other through the cellphone. And this is really important because I had already analysed before that JH will use his hands to get closer to CSH and bring down her walls she had created around her. Remember this scene (episode 3), where they play at the beach: He describes himself as the biggest excavator in his neighborhood. With his hands, he puts away the sand and he wins each time. Therefore we could interpret this game as a metaphor for the future events. With his hands, he will little by little come closer to CSH’s heart. With his hands, he will be able to destroy her thick walls and make her surrender.
But since they had returned to the reality after leaving Cuba, JH was well aware that he had to start from the scratch. Here, CSH was not a destitute woman but a CEO. So there is this huge gap and if he wants to get closer to her, this time he needs to give her his cellphone number. He can not approach her directly, unlike in the past. Interesting is that director gives us another taking.
Here JH is happily looking at his hand because he has not just made a move, he has also succeeded with his attempt to get closer to her. CSH didn’t reject his offer. Striking is that after giving his cellphone number, JH receives no phone call and no text. He knows that she needs to make the first move as she has the upper hand. She is after all his boss and if he tries to ask her for her cellphone number, this might not be well perceived. JH is very well aware of the image he wants to give to her. So nothing happens… however, we see JH now using his cellphone more often. He checks on her via his cellphone.
That’s his only way to know what is happening to her. However, parallel to this, he keeps to be in touch with her with his hands. Since he can not see her directly, he counts the floors in order to know where her office is.
Notice that the director uses two takings for this scene underlining his need for physical touch and closeness. As soon as he meets her, JH starts to use his hands for real to get closer to her, like here for example
We shouldn’t forget that he did the same gesture in Cuba and offering his arm marked the start of the first move to get closer to her hand. So he is using the same method again.
But now, let us go back to our main focus, which is the use of the cellphone. Only in the episode 5, CSH contacts JH with her cellphone.
But she doesn’t call him. She texts him after seeing being depressed. So they don’t talk to each other but exchange their thoughts via cellphone. Here, the cellphone helps them to create a private sphere where they can be genuine and even intimate. No one can hear them or even see them talking to each other. They can escape from the attention of the media and the journalists. This justifies why for a while, JH and CSH text each other a lot for a while. The fear to be seen together is still there, on the other hand, CSH starts getting more and more comfortable with JH so that in the episode 6, she is not scared to be seen with JH, when she puts his necktie.
Some viewers were complaining that CSH seemed to be rather passive in her relationship with JH. However, the cellphone proves the opposite. She is the one who decides to text JH, when she notices his sadness. She wants to help him. She is also the one who called JH first with her cellphone (episode 7)
In the same episode, JH uses his cellphone in order to know how far CSH’s place is from the Han river.
Initially, he is struggling because of his immanent transfer but his wandering thoughts make him realize that he misses her. He wants to be closer to her hence he makes a research. As you can observe the cellphone is here used again as a way to get closer to her. Moreover, he also realizes that he has no picture of her in his cellphone. Actually, he has already one picture of her, but only in his camera. Therefore we can conclude that the cellphone has become more important in JH’s life. The closer he gets to her, the more he uses it which is understandable because he used the cellphone as a way to get closer to her first. This was his first approach.
That way, he will be able to see her any time. The mobile usage illustrates the evolution of their relationship and their love. Then in the episode 10, JH is the first one who initiates the first video phone call. CSH feels uncomfortable while JH acts as the expert. However, I doubt that he has ever done a video phone call before. JH likes to make himself appear as competent, confident, strong and manly. Don’t forget that he is the best excavator from his neighborhood, the expert with the game machine (where he failed), the docent in his neighborhood. As their relationship progressed, you can sense that JH feels more and more comfortable with his cellphone. He has changed a lot. I have the impression that he used to be a little old-fashioned when it comes to the cellphone. However, in the episode 11, hJH calls her in order to have an office romance in a hidden room and he uses it in order to sing to CSH.
He has become more and more confident and so obvious that he is not able to hide his huge love for her. They are caught by the cleaning lady (“these are the good times”) and his brother hears him singing. JH is more and more taking risks to be caught. What caught my attention in this scene above is his need to touch physically CSH while singing to her. So he goes to the white howl embodying our heroine and touch the plush toy. Our main character is indeed a greedy person, as he can not get enough of CSH.
And let take us a closer look at JWS. In the beginning, we never see him calling CSH. They just meet and we have to assume that she called him (episode 3) or he called her. First, in the episode 10, we witness a scene where JWS calls CSH but the latter rejects the offer to meet him at the Sky lounge. This scene is quite important because it reveals that JWS has always had her cellphone number and he could contact her anytime. Yet, JWS has only one picture of CSH in his cellphone… the one he had before he met her. This proves that he never used the cellphone to get closer to her. Moreover, we never see him texting her. Only in the episode 11, he sends a text which CSH doesn’t see as she is dating JH. But his text is rather common… while CSH and JH put a lot of thoughts in their texts. We see them texting one thing, then erasing the text and tip another text. In the pictures above with the texts, the viewer see the final message, the one JH and CSH read. To summarize, JWS’s failure is visible with the mobile usage. He only sees it as a way to meet CSH. Our main leads utilize the mobile in order to cheer up their partner, to share their thoughts, to convey their love, to take pictures, to sing, to locate the person aso. JWS is a pragmatical person who is not romantic at all. Furthermore this also underlines JWS’s lack of expression skills. He doesn’t use the cellphone that much because he barely talks.
Finally, the cellphone plays an important in the second couple: Lee Dae Chan and Jang Mi Jin. Although both have a false impression of each other, they are able to connect through the cellphone. JM played a part in it as he downloaded the dating application. What caught my attention is that DC and JMJ post the same picture. They hide half of their face in the picture. The face, half covered, symbolizes that they are revealing just a part of their identity. They are not entirely revealing who they are. However, their relationship progresses much quicker than JH and CSH’s as they have less hurdles. JMJ and LDC only needed to get rid of their prejudice and first impression. The app revealed that they had some affinities, yet JMJ had more expectations about her future boyfriend. The closer she gets to DC, the more she changes her criteria about a boyfriend. In the last episode, she made a move in that direction: she visited DC’s restaurant as she wanted to see him… yet, she was a little embarrassed. Nevertheless, DC is a step ahead of her in my opinion. He openly admits that he likes her and he even mentioned marriage in front of his friends.
To conclude, the use of cellphone in this drama reflects the evolution of our modern society. However, there is this common critic that cellphone and Internet contribute to the isolation of people and lack of interaction and communication among people. Strangely, the drama showed the positive side of the cellphone.
What caught my attention in the episode 13 is this Now, you are wondering why. JH’s mother is using the tangerine syrup in order to lure CSH. And this contrasts to teacher Lee’s gesture in the episode 6:
Both pictures have something in common, the citrus fruit. Before analyzing the first scene mentioned above, we have to pay attention to teacher Lee’s gesture. Lee gave the mandarine to show JH her support and comfort. Her gesture was very warm, even motherly because she had peeled the mandarin for him before. In that scene, we could see that Mrs. Lee was worried, yet she never said anything about it. She offered the fruit which made JH happy. Moreover, it seems to me that offering an orange can signify wishing him good luck because tangerine and chance have the same sound in Chinese. Lee’s gesture indicated that she would support him no matter what.
Now, observe the contrast with the tangerine syrup. First, the mother didn’t offer this tangerine syrup directly, she had to use LDC and JMJ in order to reach CSH. Then she is not offering a tangerine as such, but a syrup. We all know that syrup is made of sugar and too much sugar can become poisonous. I connect the syrup to the love of JH’s mother. The love of JH’s mother for her son and her family is actually too much. This explains why she points out that she wants her family to be as they have been. She is refusing any change, especially when it comes to JH. The latter has always loved her so much… remember the smile he had, when he was talking to his mother over the phone and got caught by CSH. The latter thought, he was talking to his girlfriend. So for the mother, it has nothing to do with CSH as such. She uses her special status as an excuse. She acts like a jealous woman. So offering the tangerine syrup was a poison, CSH thought, she had been accepted. Imagine the pain, when she realized that it was the opposite. JH’s mother heard her son saying to his father that he couldn’t live without CSH but notice, she avoided to hear it from her son herself. By not hearing it herself, she can act behind his back excusing herself that she had no idea. Moreover, she can dismiss it, saying that JH will overcome it. To conclude, JH’s mother loves JH too much, just like the syrup is symbolizing it. (love = sweet) That’s why we offer chocolates to our loved ones (=sweets). She is actually trying to kill the love between JH and CSH with the tangerine syrup. The syrup fits the mother’s personality: the sweetness of her manners and voice can not make us overlook that she is trying to destroy that wonderful love. Besides, the mother’s request is too unrealistic: her family not to change is impossible… her sons will leave her at some point and start their own family.
JH’s mother uses her “weak constitution” and “gentle, sweet manners” in order to have her family focused on her. That way she is able to get her ways. Her words towards CSH were actually rude in my opinion:
– First, she expected CSH to be upset. She never mentioned the word “pain, suffer” or something similar. She implied that CSH’s pride had been hurt or CSH considered herself as superior.
– Secondly, she made an allusion that CSH had never intended to marry JH. “Dating doesn’t lead to marriage”.
– Thirdly, she claimed that CSH and JH belonged to two different worlds. This showed that she had no idea about CSH and had huge prejudice about her. Moreover, she used this as an excuse that they couldn’t be together.
To conclude, the mother is as selfish as the other mothers in this drama. Her own fear and her desire to keep her son by her side were the reasons for the rejection. The syrup of tangerines was a gift as a departure, a reminder that our heroine should do what the mother asked her. She perverted the gesture, the wish of good luck was turned into the opposite.
This place is introduced in the second episode, where JH goes after spending the evening with his friends DC and HI. However, he is not alone. HI followed him there.
JH teased HI so that the latter ran after him. This place is also mentioned in JH’s application letter which makes CSH curious, therefore she goes there on her own.
However, she is caught by JH who is so happy because this gives him the opportunity to approach her. In his letter, JH described this place as his place of retreat, even CSH could feel that he treasured it very much therefore she wanted to see it with her own eyes. Curiosity and her experience with JH in Cuba were the reasons why she went there. After the scandal is revealed, HI and JH are seen again at the playground.
She asks him about the photo. As we can see, HI also knows the importance of this place. She knew what JH would do after seeing his picture in the internet. After revealing his identity due to the anonymous post, JH goes to the playground in order to think and gather some strength. He is not sure if he could convince CSH to get closer to each other. Striking is that HI is not with him. The moment he revealed his face to his coworkers, HI is never shown in the playground again. We can conclude that HI has already given up on JH, although she has not really admitted it. After the episode 4, HI only talks to JH at their office or at DC’s place. On the other hand, little by little CSH takes over. In the episode 9, she even goes there without him. In the episode 10, CSH even discovers that this playground is about to disappear. In the episode 11, we have this wonderful scene which represents the climax of their relationship.
As conclusion, the playground represents what grandfather Samuel told JH:
The playground is the place where CSH and JH’s love could start… If she hadn’t appeared there in the episode 2, I doubt that JH would have pursed her. That’s why we see the playground, when the preview for the next episode is shown.
Notice that there is no one… So CSH and JH might not be there any longer but when we see this place, we remember these scenes of JH and CSH there, especially the scene from the episode 16 which seals their love. The playground might disappear or change, yet their love will still exist.
Now, let us focus on the different meanings of the playground. A playground is a place where children go to play in order to have fun. And this is no coincidence that JH cherishes this place. This is linked to JH’s personality. JH’s favorite word is “fun”, he was always portrayed as a cheerful young man. Secondly, JH used the playground in order to spend time alone too. So this playground represents his secret place, where he can hide from others. Strangely, a playground is usually full with people therefore it is not really possible to hide. Yet, he goes there during the evening/night or if it is during the day, there is no one else there. Even if there was someone, I am sure, he had a book with him so that no one would approach him. Now, we can better understand why JH is using his smiles as a mask, he acts the same with the playground. This is his habit: hiding something in front of everyone. He doesn’t seclude himself where no one can see him. It is in the open air, he has an opposite behavior compared to JWS who goes to his room. Behind doors, our second lead can dwell on his feelings and thoughts.
Then if we pay attention to HI and JH’s interactions in the playground, we can see why from the second episode on, her one-sided love was doomed. In this scene, HI is chasing after JH who teased her just before calling her ugly.
Here, you can see on the one hand the playful nature of JH, on the other hand HI’s real position: HI has been waiting and chasing after JH but she was not able to catch his heart. So this scene symbolized their real position: HI will never be able to touch him and his heart. JH is not even aware of her feelings. He only has fun on his mind. Then later in the episode 3, both characters are sitting on the swing next to each other.
Neither JH goes to HI’s side, nor the latter approaches her friend. Both remain at the same distance which underlines once more that their relationship will never change. HI will never get closer to JH, but she will remain by his side. This is important because this illustrates that HI will never betray him.
Then if we take a look again at the scene where JH sees his boss for the first time at his playground, the viewer sees how CSH jumps off the swing as soon as JH calls her. Striking is that CSH chose to sit there before JH’s appearance. This outshines CSH’s sleeping playfulness. This is not visible yet. Then both remain standing close to the swings. Their position and their gesture reveal the gab between them. However, we can see the contrast to the scene in the episode 11:
Here, JH is kneeling in front of CSH. He left the swing and went to her side, touching her knee. This scene illustrates everything: CSH has accepted the playground as her treasure, she has already left the chaebol world. This metaphor comes true at the end of the episode 12. But JH’s kneeling in front of CSH embodies their respective status in the couple: for him, CSH is his princess. He is kneeling like the boy (credit to @Jemrie (forum soompi))
They have here the same position. Striking is that although CSH was considered as a princess due to her marriage with JWS, she was never treated as such in that terrible family. Neither JWS nor his mother treated her like a princess: she was either a maid or a doll. That’s why JWS bought her so many expensive gifts. He wanted to dress her up but the doll was always put in a certain place where people could admire her. Yet, it bothered him because the doll never reacted to his gifts. With JH, CSH’s cheerfulness has resurfaced, she likes being at the playground, she likes it, when JH pushes her gently… he brings movement and joy into her life. Then now, you must wonder why I came to think about JWS, while analyzing the playground. In my opinion, only when JWS sees JH and CSH interacting at the playground, he will realize that he has never treated CSH like a princess, that he has never known the real CSH. He never knew that she had a cheerful side, she could make jokes and tease her friends.
Remember that JWS only saw JH bringing CSH home with her car or he saw her at the hotel (episode 3) with JH, our second lead never witnessed how CSH would be in a different surrounding. CSH was always seen in his world with JH but never in JH’s surroudings.
The presence of this philosophical tale is only really revealed at the end of the episode 14, where CSH is reading the book next to KJH. However, it appeared much earlier with the painting in CSH’s bedroom.
This is the biggest painting on the right. What I didn’t know is the existence a sculpture of The Little Prince with the fox in South Korea. As I had mentioned it before, the fox is not really visible in the painting. The little boy is the main character which shows that CSH has always felt a certain closeness towards this extraordinary character. Another visible trace is the bouquet, it is protected just like the little prince protected his rose.
To conclude, the writer and director used different visuals to create a connection between the philosophical tale and this drama (bouquet, painting, the book). But it goes far beyond that.
The title of this drama has a lot in common with this French story. Encounter is what actually defines the work from François de Saint Exupéry. Because the aviator had a plane crash in the desert, he met casually the Little Prince. Then the little boy meets the fox as a coincidence as well. The appearance of his beloved rose is not something planned either. One day, she appeared on his planet and the little prince had no idea how it came to life. So far, he had been busy taking care of his planet (see the picture above):
– cleaning the volcanoes,
– taking out the roots of baobabs as they represent a thread to his planet
Therefore when he saw for the first time this flower, he was clueless what she was and where she came from. As you can see, due to encounters, The little prince changes little by little, is forced to make decisions which leads him to leave his planet, to explore other planets and to meet new people. He leaves his planet because the rose due to her vanity, carelessness and arrogance took him for granted and thought, he would remain by her side despite her behavior.
And this leads me to the third aspect, the brevity of the encounters. The Little Prince never stays very long on the different planets he visits. First, the adults he meets are very flawed hence not interesting. They are even more self-absorbed, which the main character realizes. Secondly, even after meeting the aviator and spending some time with him, The Little Prince decides to leave the desert and to go back to his planet. By announcing to the aviator (the narrator) his immanent departure, he forces his friend to leave the desert too. As you can see, even if their encounter was very meaningful because the Little prince became a meaningful person to the narrator, they don’t stay together in the end. Their separation is indeed painful. He knows that the aviator can leave the desert with his plane hence he forces the narrator to do it by announcing his own departure. And here we have the difference between The Little Prince and Encounter. KJH wants to remain by CSH’s side no matter what and he keeps telling her that in order to reassure her. CSH had a lot of encounters, but all of them were with the same person: KJH. For the Little Prince, it was different… he met different people which made him realize how adults were, what friendship and love was aso. On his journey, The Little Prince makes a lot of new experiences which changes him little by little… he becomes more mature and wise. At the end, he discovers in a painful way what love is. Here, I also perceive another similarity with CSH, our protagonist. Thanks to KJH, she discovers love, cart food, average dishes, sand game, the joy of the salsa dance, an open-air gallery aso… Thanks to KJH, her horizon is broadened and enriched. She can feel again, her heart can see things which she couldn’t before. And it is the same for The Little Prince. Since I had already compared KJH and CSH to the Little Prince, my main focus will be elsewhere here in order to avoid any repetition.
Another similarity between these two works are the characters. I have the impression that certain people from The Little Prince resemble a lot to the characters from Encounter, like for example Chairman Kim. She could be compared to the King. The latter lives alone on his planet but he needs to have subjects in order to act as a King. And here, the Chairman Kim acts and lives like a queen. For her, she is royalty and her subjects have to follow her orders. Once she no longer needs them, she can discard them. Yet, at the end she ends up alone because she had abused her position. She didn’t realize that for her position, she had to act reasonably in order to keep subjects around her. And The King in TLP (The Little Prince) is well aware of that. He knows that his demands have to be reasonable, yet he tends to abuse his power anyway. The contradiction is visible in both stories. Their sense of superiority can only exist as long as there is someone besides them but they are not aware of that. Then we have the businessman who could be also linked to the Chairman Kim who wants to possess more and more. Her thrust for money is endless that’s why at the end, she is caught for bribery. But the most important character from TLP resembling to a character from Encounter is the fox. You might wonder about his identity in Encounter…. In my opinion, teacher Lee acts a lot like the fox. The first connection is her title. She is a teacher and the fox is the one who teaches The Little Prince what friendship is and what love is. He listens to him and gives explanation without giving him real advice. He doesn’t just explain what friendship is, he teaches him through experience. He asks the prince to tame him and as such to create ties between them. The fox is the wise teacher, the one who is there for him and who declares that the colour of the wheat fields will always remind him of The Little Prince. And teacher Lee has a similar behavior in Encounter. She doesn’t interact much between CSH and KJH, she always listens to both and explains things without giving any advice. She never stopped CSH from breaking up with KJH. She felt sad and sorry but she said nothing. Then in the dark room, she is the one who reminded CSH to enjoy the present because death could occur anytime. She mentioned missing her husband after his death… Yet she never told CSH to visit KJH. She let CSH make her decision. And that’s exactly what the fox did too. He always let the little prince come to his own conclusion. He only helped him by giving him valuable information.
Furthermore another comparison is the place. KJH and CSH met in Cuba, a country where they were on their own. So for them, Cuba was like a desert as they only interacted with each other. For them, the others were like inexistant. Don’t forget that CSH and KJH didn’t pay attention to the dancers during the sunset, they were both focused on the beautiful scenery.
CSH didn’t see the couple dancing. Then later, they walked barefoot without paying attention to others again. So they acted as if they were alone all this time. And to me, the desert from The Little Prince resembles a lot to Cuba. Although it is a desert, The Little Prince is able to meet the narrator, the fox, the other roses and the snake. It is not an empty place, it is a place where it is difficult to live. And the evening spent together in Cuba was exactly like that. CSH had trouble to walk to the top of the hill, she had lost her cellphone and purse therefore later they hadn’t much money, it was quite difficult to manage to eat and have a good evening. Her situation is really similar to the aviator’s situation: his plane needs to be repared and he has nothing. Yet despite everything, CSH was able to survive and to enjoy the evening: experience new things. And this is exactly what happened to the aviator and the little Prince. Despite the loneliness, the harshness of the environment, they were able to survive, to overcome the loneliness as both became close, just like CSH and KJH.
The picture above from The Little Prince represents the street lighter turning on and off the light. He lives on the smallest planet and the latter turns around one cycle per minute hence the worker has no time to rest. The street lighter is blindly following the instruction. He never questions the meaning of this instruction or tries to change it hence he is unhappy. As you can sense, the street lighter represents the workers’ social class in reality. But what does he have to do with our favorite drama Encounter?
First, let me remind you that the story written by François de Saint Exupéry contains a lot of drawings which makes you think that this book is for children. So the drawing above is the perfect illustration. And Encounter has the same approach: it uses drawings in each episode in order to illustrate the topic or the main event of the episode.
Looking at such a drawing, you can’t help thinking about fairy tales and we all know that fairy tales are stories for children as well. As conclusion, both works give the appearance of being stories for a younger audience (one a fairy tale, the other for little children), while in reality the purpose of these stories is different. On the one hand, Encounter is actually using fairy tales elements in order to demystify the fairy tales, on the other hand the writer and director want us to reflect about life and happiness. And The Little Prince has the same purpose: the adults should question their own values and even not forget their inner child in order to be happy. The adults portrayed there were all very flawed as they had forgotten what was really important in life. In Encounter, CSH is in the end the perfect illustration of such an adult. She is trapped in her own world, too focused on others and forgetting herself in the end. This explains why The Little Prince is still so popular after so many years, its message is timeless. And this is what the writer and the director tried to do with Encounter: they used books, paintings, poems from different times so that a certain intemporality can be perceived. Besides, this drama made you think of an old film, a classic due to the music (intro) and the drawings. Sure, there is a difference with the story The Little Prince, like for example the use of the cellphone. Remember that I had pointed out how the cellphone helped KJH to get closer to CSH (first texts, then phone calls, thirdly pictures, then video calls, then song over the phone etc). In the book, there is no description of the plane f. ex…. and the planets explored by the prince seem to be too unreal making us think that this is a story for children. This difference can be easily explained: we are not reading a book but watching a drama so the story is embedded in its time
But now let’s go back to the street lighter. So far, The Little Prince had more sympathy with him than with the other adults (King, drunkard, the businessman or the conceited man) hence he wished to have become his friend. One of the reasons was that the worker was not selfish, due to his work he is not self-absorbed. He takes care of others in reality. Besides, his work shows a certain utility: in the prince’s eyes, turning on the light is as if a star would be born/shine. It looks beautiful and nice. However, the little boy doesn’t stay on that planet because it is too small. And who resembles to this character in Encounter? To me, the street lighter reminds me of KJH’s mother. First, the mother belongs to the same social class: the workers’ class. Then she is not someone who questions values and traditions, just like the street lighter who never questions the absurdity of the instruction. She sticks to her role as mother and wife: helping her sons and husband. That’s why she can be perceived as not selfish. She lives in her own world, too scared to disobey or even question anything. When The little Prince offered advice and help in order to improve the street lighter’s situation, the latter clearly refuses it. He was too scared to change anything. The refusal of any change, even the rejection reminds us KJH’s mother. She rejected CSH claiming that she belonged to another world, she said that she wanted to keep her family as it was. To conclude, she has a lot of similarities with the street lighter:
– the lack of judgement, the prejudice
– the refusal of any change even if it means discomfort. Both are prisoners of their past in the end. The street lighter had a nice life in the beginning, yet it changed as the planet turned around much quicker.
– the same social class
– the fear: The Little Prince even got aware that the worker would be looked down by the others (conceited man, king, businessman) due to his situation and KJH’s mother had this fear.
But if CSH’s father is not the street lighter, then who resembles him? I have the impression that CJH could be the geographer, the scientist. Both have a similar work: the geographer writes books, CJH was a journalist. Both love books as well. The flaw of the geographer is that he never explores himself the world, he keeps writing and reading books, yet he never experiences the beauty of the ocean. He never leaves his desk hence he doesn’t know his planet at all. He represents the uselessness of the science if someone is forgetting the real purpose of the science. He is actually a prisoner too, just like the street lighter… but not of the past but of the future. And a politician is often too focused on the future, forgetting the present. Yet the geographer is the one who encourages The Little Prince to explore the world and discover things. He is not different from CJH. The latter encourages his daughter to face the world, to experience new things… and at the end he realizes that he should change his life as well, not focussing too much on the future but enjoy the present.
As for the conceited man (“le vaniteux”), I see some parallels with our second lead, Jung Woo Suk. Both are focused on their appearance as they are seeking admiration. JWS pays a great deal to his clothes because he thinks that Cha Soo Hyun might be impressed by his appearance. Remember his unfortunate encounter with Cha Soo Hyun at the shop. However, the difference is that the conceited man lives alone hence he has definitely no admirer around him. Being alone means that he can never find any admirers. For JWS, this is different. He is used to be admired. Despite this contrast, they are both in the same situation. JWS is determined to win her love (which is a sort of admiration), just like the conceited man asks the little prince to be his admirer and clap his hand. Their selfishness and their lack of consideration to the other are visible in both cases. The Little Prince is tired of clapping his hands and he realizes that the vain man is blind and deaf. He is just too self-absorbed to have a normal conversation with the main protagonist. He just gives orders and he is not even aware that his whole existence is pointless as he lives alone on his planet. JWS is not really different from him. He might have many female admirers, however he is just as blind and deaf as the vain man. Moreover, he also gives orders to CSH (“meet me at the sky lounge”). He thinks, he is generous enough to tell her that she can take her time. He ignores her words that she won’t meet him. Finally, he is also alone in his own world. While the vain man lives on a planet, we could say that JWS lives in a coffin due to his liking for brown and black and for rectangles.
Even the painting and the windows have the form of oblongs.
He is never seen outdoors (only when he is forced to meet KJH, his rival). And even in a room, he usually doesn’t look outside.
His back is always facing the windows which reflects his personality: narrow-mindedness. And just like the vain man, JWS ends up alone in his realm. The Little Prince is bothered by the behavior of this adult, Cha Soo Hyun has never loved him and will never love him. Unlike the vain man, JWS gets aware that he will never be able to win CSH’s heart. He accepts his fate and turns his attention towards the other woman in his life, his mother. But since she is in jail, he lives alone in this lifeless and empty house.
This last picture reflects perfectly JWS’s life: loneliness. He is a king without any real subject. He just has his loyal secretary and that’s it. He is still sitting with his back to the windows. His life has not changed, just like with the conceited man. MEeting the little prince doesn’t change the life of this adult. The only difference is that JWS is no longer seeking Cha Soo Hyun’s love.
Another similarity is the presence of the star.
We have the poem “Enchanted” where the star is mentioned, then this illustration where the sun and moon are reunited which creates a shining star. Their love transcends time and space. And at the end of The Little Prince, the narrator asks the readers to think of The Little Prince if they are in Africa in the desert and a start shines… the little prince could appear anytime. The star as symbol is used in both works.
Finally, I would like to remind that each adult in the philosophical tale should be seen as a different part of ourselves. They just represent a certain flaw and the adult has to keep these aspects in check in order to enjoy life and be happy.
After meeting KJH’s mother, it becomes clear that CSH will choose to break up with him. She has many reasons for this decision. First, we have to imagine that she suffered a lot in her first marriage due to the mental abuse from her mother-in-law. So when she met YJ, the words from the latter clearly showed that she wouldn’t accept her as future daughter-in-law. So I doubt that anyone who suffered abuse from a mother-in-law would be ready to go through the same experience again. Secondly, KJH kept pressuring her to marry him. He had noticed her unhappiness, when she saw the couple in wedding clothes. He offered her the bouquet but she never gave an answer… he had to ask over and over again, until she accepted his proposal. Her hesitation is quite understandable. She associates marriage to unhappiness. When she saw the wedding dress, she was reminded of her unhappy marriage which left a huge scar in CSH’s heart. CSH was not only scarred by her mother-in-law but by her marriage as such. Don’t forget that until she finally met SA, she really thought that her husband had fallen in love with another woman and never really loved her.
So when we see this scene, CSH is looking at the painting created by Soo Ah. The painting is called the bride and strangely, the bride has no head. We only see the gown of the bride. Since the head is missing, it creates an anonymity. Due to the colors (yellow, beige and grey), a certain melancholy oozes from the painting too. Moreover, the bride dress is not really white, rather cream giving the impression that time had passed on. To conclude, this bride and marriage is not evoking happiness, rather lost time or dreams.
In this taking, CSH in the background is standing for a long time in front of that painting. To me, it looks like CSH is actually thinking about her next move, the break up. Yet, I also sense that by looking at the picture she is trying to find solace. She will break up with KJH, yet she is imagining herself getting married again. On the one hand, the painting helps her to escape from her oppressive situation, on the other hand to find closure. By imagining herself in that dress, she is able to give up on the marriage. That’s why there is no head. The beholder is asked to imagine herself in that gown.
Then in this taking, we have the fake mistress in the foreground. She is the author of that painting. In my opinion, she was inspired by her own situation. Back then, she had signed a contract with JWS asking her to eat with him and spend times with him in exchange for money. She had to act like the girlfriend and mistress. However, as time passed on, she fell in love with JWS and she started dreaming of marrying JWS. As you can see, she drew the painting with this wish in mind. She wished to be the bride and kept waiting and hoping that this would come true. That’s why the beholder perceives longing and melancholy in this drawing. However, she could never express her wish because she was bound with the contract therefore the bride has no head. She can not show it in the open. The painting helped her to hope and overcome her loneliness. However, when JWS broke up with her, she realized that this had just been a dream. JWS has always loved his wife. Giving the painting back to CSH means that SA gives up on her dream. She has come back to reality, she wished that CSH can get a new start (a happy marriage either with her boyfriend or with her ex-husband). Since she explains the whole situation to CSH later, from my point of view, she actually tries to help JWS in the end. They might get a new start, however this is too late. Moreover, JWS had hurt her with his action. Since she saw CSH with KJH at the gallery, she knows that her relationship with KJH is serious… that’s why I sense that SA’s gesture (offering the painting) illustrates her wish to redeem herself and to help CSH to find happiness and a new start in life.
because they mark the turning point in CSH’s life. This scene represents CSH’s awakening and the eyes are the evidence of CSH’s change. When someone sleeps, the persons closes his eyes. So the eyes reveal if the person is awakened or asleep. However, when someone is in a coma or vegetative state, the eyes can remain opened, yet they show neither emotions nor reaction to their surrounding. To sum up, the eyes represent an important signal for the physical state of a person. Since CSH explained to JWS (episode 7) that she had been in a coma for so long, we can conclude that her eyes had been opened all this time but they were emotionless and distant. So the eyes in the second taking above illustrates the change in CSH’s mind: her eyes are shining like stars, even smiling because she has been touched by the beauty of the sunset. All of her senses are fully awakened now. She is reacting to the sunset and to the wonderful music.
This explains why the famous Roman senator Cicero (1. Century BC) wrote once: “The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter”. From ancient times, people could notice the importance of the eyes. In French and in English, we have the saying too that eyes are the mirror of the soul. Why? First, we have no control over our eyes, unlike our mouth. With the latter, we can decide to remain mute or lie or say the truth, however it is not the same for the eyes hence the eyes give away a lot of information about our emotional state. The person can never really control his emotions. People can fake their smile but they often forget about their eyes. We could use as example for this CSH’s smile at the end of the episode 14. She fakes happiness, while her eyes reveal her sadness and pain. Hence the gaze is connected to sincerity and genuineness. Moreover, the eye is more complex compared to the lips, as it is composed of a pupil, the tears, an eyebrow, eyelid, the corner of the eye, of possible dark circle under the eye. Furthermore, we have two eyes and not just one which reinforce the expressed emotions.
But let us go back to the eyes of our heroine before the awakening (episode 7). They show neither reaction nor emotion. Her eyes are totally blank. This scene confirms her allegation, when she confronted Jung Woo Suk in the episode 9.
She really looks like a person in a vegetative state as she doesn’t even move her head or her body. Striking is that CSH’s eyes are looking down. And this gesture is really important. First, this reflects her actual situation. By lowering her eyes, she is in reality lowering herself in front of her mother-in-law. Her eyes outline her inferiority in front of Chairman Kim. Secondly her action shows that she is actually avoiding people’s gaze. While her mother-in-law is talking to her, she keeps staring at her dish. Why is she avoiding people’s gaze, if she is in a coma? We have to understand that the eyes have another function as well. They can reflect the other. The other’s gaze is a substitute for the mirror. If CSH looked into the chairman’s eyes, she would see a glimpse of herself, but it is a deformed reflection because the chairman Kim judges her at the same time. She only catches a small part of CSH. Through her mother-in-law, she would see herself in a coma. She would be reminded of her terrible situation which would increase her pain. But if you pay attention to the scene in the episode 7, you’ll notice that the chairman Kim is doing the same. She is also avoiding CSH’s eyes. Only when her son appeared, she turned her head towards him and looked at him. Later, we discover why JWS’s mother avoided CSH’s eyes.
Chairman Kim says: ” I always felt uncomfortable about the look in her eyes. That look in her eyes always bothers me. I hated her for that.”
Why did she dislike CSH’s eyes? A simple answer would be that CSH’s eyes were different. CSH never envied or admired her and her son. While all the others would worship them and try to get closer to them, CSH was never attracted by them. The mother-in-law couldn’t bear the thought that someone was looking at her differently, was not considering her as a queen. That’s why chairman Kim abused her and tried to control CSH. In this scene (episode 7), the mother-in-law gives the following orders:
“Get your hair done… wear the clothes they prepared (…) People would be waiting to see your face. You have to be tidier than situation like this. Smile more. But don’t smile too much.”
As you can see, she is taking control of CSH’s body. She treats her daughter-in-law like a doll which explains why her son criticized her in an earlier episode for treating CSH like a thing. But this is not just the hair and the clothes, but also the way she smiles and she moves. And now we have to remember this: we have no control over the eyes. How can the mother-in-law take control over the eyes, if the owner can not even control them. This is impossible. The mother-in-law was fighting against nature, a doomed battle. Now we have another explanation why the mother-in-law was upset. This was the only thing she could never control as CSH couldn’t even control her own eyes. This underlines the dictatorial tendency of JWS’s mother. A third explanation is that the chairman Kim also saw a glimpse of herself in CSH’s eyes which she didn’t like. As I said before, the eyes function as a mirror, although the reflection is deformed as the other judges you at the same time. Chairman Kim saw a part of herself, she didn’t want to see: the abusive, greedy and selfish person. CSH might have been in a vegetative state and never react to her mother-in-law’s cruel words, however CSH never stopped thinking and couldn’t stop herself from resenting JWS’s mother. This would infuriate the mother-in-law which would force her to abuse CSH even more and it became a vicious circle, until CSH and JWS’s mother avoided each other’s gaze as it had become too unbearable.
Since we talked about mirrors, I would like to explain why CSH was so obsessed with mirrors. She had one next to her desk and in her bedroom. Her mirrors were even huge. The mirrors outlined her loneliness, by having her own reflection next to her, she would feel less lonely. Moreover, by looking at herself, she would feel that she was still alive. The mirror would confirm her existence, would reassure her… Moreover, this would give her the opportunity to take control over her body. The mirror reflects the image she wishes to see but the problem with the mirror is that it doesn’t really help you to see your personality, only the appearance. On the other hand, the other’s gaze let see you a part of your personality… even if it’s a deformed and partial view. Only with the presence of another person, you can discover your true self. CSH tried to see herself in the mirror but she only saw her appearance not her personality. Only after meeting KJH and looking at his eyes, she started seeing herself and discovering herself. Remember that she said that she had many identities (CJH’s daughter f. ex.) but in reality, she was seeking for her own identity. Who is exactly CSH, the person behind this name? While the chairman’s gaze revealed to her an terrible reflection, with KJH she could perceive her good side. His eyes let her see how beautiful she was. But she never saw her own happiness. That’s why KJH’s words in the episode 16 are so important. “With these pictures, you will see a side of you that you never knew”.
Now, we have another aspect: the importance of the pictures. The pictures serve here as a mirror of her happiness, the side she never saw and knew. Neither the mirror nor the eyes were able to allow her to discover another glimpse of herself.
As you can see, CSH was desperately searching for her own identity and personality all this time and had no idea how to find it. The pictures helped her to find herself and allowed her to choose happiness. And this also justifies why CSH is determined to take many pictures later. For her, the pictures have a meaningful purpose. Because they helped her, she realises the importance of pictures. However, when she sees herself in the pictures, she is not alone. Teacher Lee is by her side and tells her how she judges the pictures: “I really love your expressions. How pretty. You look happy”. Then she remembers Kim Jin Hyuk’s words:
As conclusion, Cha Soo Hyun can only discover herself thanks to the pictures and thanks to the eyes of her boyfriend and teacher Lee. Alone, she wouldn’t have been capable. Through the eyes of others, the human being is able to perceive himself, discover a part of his personality. This idea comes from the French philosopher Sartre who wrote the theater play “No exit” (Huis-clos) where the 3 dead main characters, reunited in a room, are forced to live together and see their own flaws in the eyes of the others as there is no mirror in the room. They realize what kind of persons they truly were in their past life. That’s why this famous phrase comes from this work: “Hell is other people”. Actually, Sartre is not saying that we should avoid social contact, it is just that the eyes of others might become unpleasant as we see a glimpse of ourselves in them. However, the real conclusion is to incite people to make the right decisions and to do good to others so that the gaze of others reflect a good image and judgement of ourselves. Here, the happiness of Cha Soo Hyun will shine and be reflected in Kim Jin Huyk’s eyes. It will make him happy and that’s what Cha Soo Hyun realized in the dark room.
Through the introduction with the drawings, especially in the first episode, we have the impression that we are about to watch a fairy tale. First, we see a flying horse, an imagined animal. Then the main character, Cha Soo Hyun, is presented as a princess living alone in a huge castle. She is wearing a crown, however she leaves her huge palace and has to go through a huge forest full of thorns in order to be able to see the sun and the sunlight. She arrives in Cuba.
From the start, we see the reference of Cinderella. Cha Soo Hyun loses one of her shoes which KJH has to pick up
, he even buys her new ones, sandals that are far more simple and comfortable. Just like the prince, Kim Jin Huyk has no idea about her identity. He is just fascinated and attracted by her. Even Cha Soo Hyun exclaims after her return from the ball (salsa show) that she has been Cinderella. Furthermore we have other allusions about Cinderella:
more than one ball (the second happens at the end of the episode 8),
the mask representing a pumpkin,
the fact that the color of the mask is grey, the same color than ashes because she is hiding herself behind her expressionless face. Don’t forget my interpretation in another essay where I compared our heroine to a fire that had been covered with ashes. Only her eyes are revealing her true feelings and thoughts (especially after Cuba).
The other reference is the Sleeping Beauty. This is visible through the drawing (the forest full of thorns).
Then Cha Soo Hyun describes herself as a vegetable in front of her husband. During many years, she was like the Sleeping Beauty (in the fairy tale, she sleeps for one century). This explains why she was suffering from insomnia. How could she fall asleep, if she was already in a coma?
The common denominator of these two fairy tales is the existence of the prince. The prince is the one who awakes the Sleeping Beauty with his kiss and in the second one, the prince finds Cinderella thanks to her special shoes. In my opinion, since Cha Soo Hyuk is linked to the sea and Kim Jin Hyuk is associated to the sun in the drawings, we have to imagine that the sunset in Cuba represents the kiss of the prince, the sun kisses the sea which causes Cha Soo Hyun’s awakening. So on the surface, the prince seems to be Kim Jin Huyk. However his situation doesn’t fit the description of a prince. He comes from a lower social class. He has neither powerful parents nor wealth. However, we shouldn’t forget that first in different fairy tales like The story of a Youth who Went Forth to Learn what Fear was or The King of the golden mountain (both from Grimm), sons from a lower social class (merchant, craftsman) are able to marry a princess at the end and become kings. As you can see, the origin of our hero can’t be the main objection for not considering him as a prince. However, we have a real prince in the story: Jung Woo Suk. He is rich, handsome and powerful. He represents the archetype of prince charming. He is the prince since his mother, the chairman Kim, views herself as the queen as the leader of Taegyeong Group. Striking is that we have two princes in this “fairy tale” which is quite unusual but not extraordinary as some few fairy tales contain such elements. So the existence of two princes indicates that there will be a competition. Who can earn the princess’ love?
Cha Soon Hyun can never love Jung Woo Suk as he has no idea what she really likes and who she is.
Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty the two only fairy tales that are mentioned and
exploited here in Encounter? I see two other possible references: Snow-white
and Little Red Riding Hood, although there was no explicit allusion like with
the other stories.
the stepmother is jealous of Snow-White, she abuses her and wants to get rid of
her. The beholder can observe the similarity. Moreover, since CSH’s nickname is
the Ice princess, it means that her “face” is white and cold like snow. And
Snow-white received the same name due to the color of her skin which reminded her
mother of snow. Then we saw that chairman Kim abused Cha Soo Hyun so that at
the end, she left the “palace” divorcing Jung Woo Suk. Snow-White is forced to
leave the palace. At some point, the queen wants to kill her, when she realizes
that she is still living with the dwarfs. Here, Chairman Kim wants to take away
Donghwa Hotel as CSH has been able to change the financial situation of that
company. The impact is almost the same. Since CSH put all her energy into that
hotel, taking it away from her would mean to kill her literally. The dwarfs are
the driver Nam and the PR-manager Kim Sun Joo among others.
The final reference is The Little Red Riding Hood. First, we see Cha Soo Hyun wearing a red dress in the first episode, the same color than the little girl in the fairy tale.
Then later, in the drawing of the episode 11, a wolf appears.
The wolf could embody Jung Woo Suk who has come back in order to claim his “ex-wife”, his first love. What people most don’t know is that in the original version, the French fairy tale written by Charles Perrault in the 17th Century, the story ends with the following moral:
never talk to strangers,
for if they
should do so,
well provide dinner for a wolf.
various kinds of wolves.
also those who are charming,
at home and
in the streets.
it is these
who are the
most dangerous ones of all.
As you can see, the author warns the young women not to listen to seducers. I see here some parallels as CSH was also convinced by her parents to marry Jung Woo Suk. She was polite, complacent and sweet (just like in the moral) and at the end, her life was ruined. Sure, the message has been modernized and transformed. However, the message is that people should think really hard and not allow themselves to be influenced. Naivety and ignorance were the reasons why the women were easily seduced; in CSH’s case, I would say that she had been trained to listen to her parents.
Striking is that many fairy tales end with a marriage with the saying: they lived happily ever after. Since our heroine has been married once and is now divorced, this characteristic represents a contradiction to the fairy tales. In reality, the characteristics of the prince have been perverted. Due to his power, wealth and social status, CSH suffocated and suffered so much that she became a vegetable. Moreover, her husband was not even able to protect her from his jealous mother hence CSH judged him as weak and poor in the end. On paper, JWS was the perfect husband candidate, in reality he was the opposite. The elements from fairy tales happen after her divorce indicating that divorce is not the end of the world. This is also a chance to get a new start. In my opinion, the writer is in fact trying to demystify the fairy tales. Kim Jin Hyuk is just an average man and as such he is as brave and strong as any other man. A real good husband is the one who pays attention to his partner, observes her carefully and takes care of her. Money and power are not a synonym for happiness. To conclude, this drama sends the right messages for women by using elements from fairy tales:
Fairy tales (marrying prince charming) are just an illusion
a normal person might be the right partner for you,
be happy with simple things and enjoy the ordinary days of your life.
At the end of the episode 3, KJH moves his foot closer to CSH’s shoes… but just a little, while he confesses that he went to Sokcho because he wanted to see her, he missed her. After hearing that KJH feels something for her, she moves her foot away from his. Here their feet are under the table indicating that they are now in the same world.
With this camera position, the director wanted to use the foot as symbol for the attempt of KJH to change their relationship. He doesn’t want to keep this boss-employee relationship any longer, he definitely wants more and since he knows from the radio that CSH considers him as friend, he thought, he could try to be acknowledged as friend. Notice the connection between the small distance he moved his foot and his attempt to ask her to become an official friend. In the same episode, just before they went eating, Kim Jin Hyuk stood at her hotel door and the director used two takings in order to point out that they were still in two different worlds. But at the restaurant, the situation has changed, KJH has decided to step up and be more active in his pursuit of our heroine.
We know that he loves her because from the first episode, he was interested to know if she had a boyfriend. Yet here he only asks merely for a friendship as he knows that he can not ask for more right now. But as you can see, CSH rejects his offer and tries to maintain that relationship as boss-employee.
A lot of people understood the symbolism behind this scene, however what I, like many viewers, failed to see is that the director and writer had been already using the feet and the hands as symbols since the first episode. Someone might even wonder as joke if the director is not a foot and hand fetish.
Just in the first episode, we have 8 takings with the feet and 9 with the hands which is quite a lot. The first taking is this:
JH brings her shoe back and puts it next to her foot. Here, her high heels embody the chaebol world which is a uncomfortable and painful world. That’s why her foot has a wound. She might look good in high heels but with such shoes, it is impossible to walk for long and properly. JH with his hand offers assistance. Striking is the meaning behind the hand, JH has to lower himself but he doesn’t mind it at all. The hand reflects two aspects: modesty and kindness. This simple taking has such a deep significance but it marks the start.
From that moment, the director pays a lot attention to the hands, arms and feet of our protagonists. But let’s go back to that scene where KJH puts CSH’s shoe in front of her. That’s when he notices that her foot has a wound hence he proposes to walk barefoot. After convincing her, he offers his arm to help her to come down from the wall
Notice that here KJH is keeping a certain distance from her, as he just offers his arm and not his hand. With some reluctance, CSH accepts his assistance one for time.
But why does the director spend so much time on focusing on the hand and foot in this scene? In my opinion, first he would like to underline CSH’s shyness, she is not used to physical contact. Secondly, he also outlines how quickly their relationship evolves. First, his hand was close to her foot which revealed a huge gap. Now, he is bold enough to offer his arm. The gap has diminished. Then we see her walking barefoot and at some point, JH looks at her feet
and notice that they don’t look good. CSH is not used to that way of life… being totally destitute that’s why he proposes her to buy shoes. Since they drank beer together and walked together barefoot for a while, JH feels naturally closer to her that’s why he grabs her arm gently without thinking as he proposes to buy sandals.
It’s a natural gesture but it outshines how comfortable JH already feels with her. For him, there is no longer any gap between them, they don’t really belong to different worlds. However, CSH’s reaction (she pushes his hand away) makes him realize that she is not feeling the same. She is definitely not used to be so physically close to anyone. Why buy shoes? He wants her to treat her like a princess but with his own means. He chooses “funny” shoes for her. She is hesitant to put on the sandals as this is totally new to her. However, the moment she puts on the shoes, she notices that they are comfortable.
Since she looks at them, the viewer can feel her emotions. She is agreeably surprised that’s why she accepts the sandals and walks later happily with him. But before that, the director focuses one more time on the feet.
JH is still barefoot unlike CSH. So this taking illustrates that JH already gives priority to CSH.
This zoom has another meaning. They are now in the same world… they are equal but not poor. They are not totally deprived. By experiencing walking barefoot, JH realized that CSH did belong to another world but he had no idea that she belonged to the chaebol world. As they walk together, CSH puts her hand on her stomach. She is signalizing that she is hungry.
The hand is used here as a way to express oneself that’s why we have sign language. The hand is a tool for communication. I had already pointed out that CSH had never been allowed to express herself. She had to remain silent and obedient, however she developed two strategies where she could express herself freely and show her emotions: the paintings and the hands. In other episodes, like in the episode 2 we see her caressing the watch she wore in Cuba.
This tender and intimate gesture illustrates that she treasures this time spent with KJH. She is remembering all the emotions she felt that time. In this scene, she does it, when she is alone, no one can see her being so tender. But let’s go back to the scene, where JH notices that she is hungry. This is really important because it shows that JH is a good observant. He already pays attention to her body language, which JWS doesn’t and has never done. For him, she was always sour-faced as he only looked at her face. He never looked elsewhere. What caught my attention is when they are at the restaurant, the director has two similar takings.
Unlike in the other camera positions, the hands are not the focus but they are both in the center of the zoom. Both serve the same purpose. JH’s hand indicates his hesitation if he should pay for the salsa show, CSH uses her hand to hide her laugh and smile. Both are expressing a certain shyness. She doesn’t dare to laugh in front of him, he is thinking if this is worth. He is still unaware if she is attracted to him or not. He had already told her that he found her cute. This “shyness and awkwardness” will be even more visible later, when they are about to part from each other.
They already like each other but they don’t know how to approach the other without looking like a flirt/playboy. But between the restaurant and the departure, they went to the salsa show… here, JH is able to take CSH’s hands which is really important.
She allows him to touch her and become close to her. It took JH the entire evening and night spent with her to be able to touch her, however this was for him a signal that he had some chances. That’s why he wants to meet her the next morning. He wants to know if she is as interested in him as he is in her. What KJH didn’t see is this. When she is in the taxi, she looks at her shoes and has a huge smile.
CSH not only likes the shoes but she already perceives them as meaningful. She is happy and has already a good memory of the time spent with KJH. She doesn’t feel that she belongs to a different world from KJH.
This is the reason why the director pays so much attention to KJH and CSH’s hands and feet. The evolution of their relationship is not only visible with the feet but also with the hands… CSH’s shyness was the reason whyKJH was very cautious around her and knew that he had to take little steps so that CSH would put down her walls and become physically intimate with him. Moreover, CSH shows a lot of emotions (anger, fear, …) with her hands, as she has learnt to hide her thoughts and emotions. This is unnoticed by many, especially JWS, but not by KJH.
So only in the episode 5, KJH was able to take CSH’s hand again, when he proposed to have a some-relationship. It took him some time in order to come closer again… the gap between the two worlds was just so huge, however KJH was determined and persistent in his goal. Little by little, his hands got closer to hers again but it took some time:
First, he had thought that he had succeeded after having spent the afternoon with her, nonetheless when he saw this :
he got anxious that he might have failed. As you can observe, the picture on the right shows two hands joined together… and KJH had not been able to take her hand after his return from Cuba. That’s why he got worried… he knew that if he had touched her hand again, she wouldn’t be able to cut ties with him.
And the break up is also reflected in the hands: In the episode 15 KJH tries to hold her hand but he fails as he can only grab two fingers.
In a similar scene, he tries again to hold her back but this time he only grabs her wrist. He doesn’t even dare to touch her hand. He still respects her, although it is painful for him.
And this visible distance between their hands culminates to the point that his own hands are about to cut his ties with her and her world. With his hands, he wants to write the resignation letter. With his own hands, he is about to leave her world as he has the impression that his hands and love were not strong enough to keep her by his side, since she feels guilty. she could destroy his happy family.
But then he remembers his good memories with his girlfriend and his own advice: to endure pain and hard times with good memories hence he changes his mind. He won’t give up on her… his strong will and determination are back, he won’t let her influence him.
Morro Cabana is the place CSH went in order to watch the wonderful sunset at Malecon Beach. The man working at the Havana Hotel recommended her this place by telling her that this was the place to fall in love. However, CSH went there alone and on her own. After JH’s rescue, she woke up and realized that she had put her head on JH’s shoulder. Nonetheless, after some awkward moment, she saw the beautiful sunset and was mesmerized by it. However, JH told her that in order to be more moved by this beautiful sunset, she should listen to a certain song. The moment she listens to the music, you can see how the song and the scenery affect her.
Suddenly tears appear showing a sadness and even a heartbreak. In that moment, the image becomes white and black…
It was as if CSH gets aware of the unhappiness and tragedy in her life. She remembers sad moments in her life, where she has to fake smile and happiness, like f. ex. this one
or her marriage.
In the picture above, she doesn’t even smile which indicates how terrible for her the wedding was. She never wanted to get married. All these events, showed in black and white, are sad and painful memories of her life. Actually, we could say that her life was lifeless, since it was colorless. The negative emotions are clearly visible and palpable in these memories. Then the director contrasts her memories with the couple dancing in the sunset.
The couple is moving, there are a lot of bright colors (red, gold, yellow) indicating that in this place and in this moment, there is life and joy. People are enjoying the moment and their life, living to the fullest. But instead of getting too emotional and even depressed, she closes her eyes and takes a long breath.
It was as if she decided to come out of the coma, not to let her “vegetative state” continue. She breathes for real and get rid of these terrible memories that have marked her life until now. Then the camera position changes and we see couples dancing to the music, while CSH just sits there.
So the contrast reinforces the idea that CSH’s deep breath before was an awakening. She might no longer be in a coma but she doesn’t move. She doesn’t know what to do, she just enjoys the moment: the beautiful scenery and music. For the first time, she smiles genuinely.
Since the camera is always focusing on her head and face and not her body/heart, the director intends to underline two aspects:
– CSH has made up her mind… her reason is behind it, not an emotional decision.
– her disposition has changed. She has made up her mind: she wants to enjoy life and not continue living a lifeless and depressing life. To conlude, her mindset has changed: she wants to live differently.
This explains why for the first time, she asks someone for help. She even expresses her desire: to drink some beer. So some might say that CSH’s awakening was CSH’s own decision and JH had nothing to do with it and JWS was right to wait. However, this is not correct because JH was the one who offered her to listen to the music… without the music, CSH wouldn’t have been that moved. All her senses have been touched due to the combination of music and the wonderful sunset. For CSH, it was a magical moment. JH sensed something, when he saw her mesmerized by the beauty of the view. Because of his own experience, he wanted her to share the same feelings and experience. What he didn’t realize was the extent of this gesture. His gesture would move her “brain” so that we witness CSH’s awakening…
JWS could have waited for a lifetime… nothing would have happened. Sure, another element played in JH’s favour: his sincerity and his simplicity. Since JWS is playing games with her (deal at the birthday party: I’ll deal with my mother, you treat me nicely / begging for a divorce as he fell in love with a woman… but he is still not married), JH is the exact opposite. He is always honest and humble. CSH had many opportunities to see that: the camera, dancing in the street, the offered shoulder, the music, barefoot walking, helping her with the shoes… but more importantly,
What JH tells her clashes with her ex-husband’s behavior during their marriage: remaining quiet and the next day bombarding her with expensive gifts. JWS’s behaviour contributed to her emptiness and loneliness. Here, JH is not acting as her boyfriend but these words outline his maturity. Moreover, they are quite similar to the other advice he will give her in the episode 7: enduring it together with our good memories. He gives her the support she needs so that she becomes brave and can reveal herself to others. He is her source of strength, the sun that can makes the moon shine.
I have already written an essay called Time, however the mentioned analysis was focused on the episode 14, where time was the main topic of the episode which was illustrated in the drawing in the form of the huge hourglass. Nonetheless, this occurred to me that time plays a huge part in Encounter and is not limited to one episode. We could even say that time is what helps KJH and CSH to get together, although in the episode 14 we have the opposite impression. Time appears as the main hindrance. However, this is just a temporary state. The whole drama outlines the power of time.
First, the title is linked to time. Encounter means a casual meeting, hence timing is important. In order to meet each other, the paths of our main leads had to cross. Without the right timing, they would have missed each other and never met.
Notice that at the end of the episode 5, it is clearly shown that their paths crossed, yet they didn’t notice each other. This was not the right time. Strangely is that CSH complained to JMJ in her car (episode 5) that the timing wasn’t right therefore she couldn’t be with KJH. She was divorced, had a difficult and complicated relationship with her ex-mother-in-law and was the CEO of Donghwa Hotel. She wished, she had met him before. Yet only the viewers know that in reality she met him before but neither he nor she caught the attention of the other. I guess, CSH’s sad but beautiful face was the reason why she caught his attention in Cuba. This can not be just the red dress. Even later when he looks at her picture, the photo is in black and white and he is so fascinated by her. CSH became a “vegetable” due to her life with JWS’s family and only through this experience, she became like that. Since KJH is a very happy and humble person, her sadness contrasts so much to his own life. Yet, after spending some time with her, he discovered a cute woman who could smile, laugh and even joke. He realized that with him, she was like transformed.
However, the way CSH saw KJH for the first time looked like an unfortunate event: they met due to a car accident. So on the surface, it really seemed like a bad time because KJH’s camera was damaged. Yet his reaction was the reason why Cha Soo Hyun noticed him first. Later she caught him dancing and she realized the reason why he kept refusing the money, but accepted reluctantly the card of the secretary. Later, our hero saved her life because she could have fallen down from the wall and died in Morro Cabana. So time was on our hero’s side from the first episode on. However, CSH thought the opposite, especially if you consider the “unfortunate” car accident.
As you can see, CSH was wrong with her statement that this was a bad timing. In fact, it was the opposite. Without her past, nothing like that would have ever happened. Fact is that CSH needed KJH which the latter realized. He made her smile and was happy with it. On the other hand, we have an encounter contrasting so much with the different encounters CSH and KJH had together. In the episode 6, JWS arrives at the store for a new suit as he wants to impress a picky lady, unaware that CSH is already there. She gets the impression that he is still womanizing. This is a bad encounter for JWS underlining how time and nature were working together against JWS. The latter was never meant to be her first and only love. He was just the first husband. But even the other title “Boyfriend” could be perceived as something linked to time as well because a boyfriend is not a permanent state. Either there is a break up or it ends with a marriage. That’s why the viewers can not see their wedding in the end as the focus was on Boyfriend.
Then appointments, although totally different from encounters, are also linked to time. Striking is that although CSH and KJH had planned to meet the next day, they missed each other. This is interesting because it underlines that time can not be controlled by human beings. Nature and time worked against KJH and CSH first, but they helped them later. On the other hand, JWS has to call in order to meet CSH (episode 3, episode 9, episode 11). And CSH is always bothered by these appointments. This outlines that no matter what CSH could never feel comfortable around JWS and could never fall in love with him.
Then the presence of time is often used with visual tricks through watches,
The last picture comes from the episode 14, Cha Soo Hyun is looking at the time of Havanna remembering good memories, she is doing the same when she is caressing her watch so delicately. These visuals have two purposes: on the other hand, we see how time has passed on and we see a scene from the past (like the first photo with the watch) or we can see the person remembering good memories from the past without using any flashback. Yet, we have two time jumps in this story. Here is just one example. Concerning the calendar that Kim Jin Hyuk uses (here episode 5), it gives to time another dimension: the length is much longer. First it is not limited to the day (24 hours like the watch and clock), the year marks the beginning and the end of the time hence it already implies that our hero wants to remain by Cha Soo Hyun for a long time. However, he has not declared it yet. It happens much later.
Then in the dialogues, time is often mentioned. For example, KJH keeps saying that he will stay by CSH’s side for a very long time or CSH and KJH’s mother need time. With the break up, KJH will have a hard time. You observe that people describe time. Since KJH speaks about death in the episode 11, the beholders are reminded that CSH and KJH’s time together is limited. Death will separate them. However, the drawings and the use of fairy tales and of The Little Prince underline the aspect of timelessness. The stars, the moon, the sun in the drawings, just like the trees alley in the episode 11 and the garden where the love began and was completed indicate that although their time together is limited, their love is not. Their love will survive time hence at the end, we see the birth of a star: the symbol of their eternal love. Time becomes here an eternity.
The bouquet with the note shown at the end of the episode 16 is another allusion for time as well.
This taking is important as both objects mark the beginning and the ending of their love story. Besides, they represent good memories. Since they are protected by a glass, it illustrates that CSH wants to keep them for a long time. They should be preserved and even survive time. Like KJH said, love is ageless as death can not kill a love.
If we pay attention to the time of narration, it doesn’t correspond to our own time. First, it starts with the past (scenes of CSH in black and white), then the story begins around September/October, while the first episode was aired in November. Then we have one time jump (episode 2). So when CSH and KJH meet at the hotel (episode 2), where CSH is greeting the new employees, the time is now the same as the time the viewers were watching (November). The time is sometimes slower and sometimes quicker than our real time outlining that this is a story. In fact, we have two time jumps, yet no one complained about the time jumps. CSH and KJH’s mother needed time to get used to each other. KJH made a mistake in my opinion, when he proposed to her for the first time with the flower. Imagine, it was around February and they had started dating in December!! Within two months, he proposed which is quite rushed, especially for a woman who has been through a divorce and had a difficult relationship with her mother-in-law. The story ends in 2020, ahead of our own timeline. We see here the future… As you can see, the story had elements from the past, from the present and from the future. So time was represented in his whole entity. And in my opinion, this is another reason why this story is indeed intemporel. Except the use of cellphones which definitely marks our modern society, everything seems not to be bound to age and time limit. Actually, I doubt that cellphones and Internet will disappear from our life. The cellphone might change its form but not its function and purpose, just like the Internet. Notice that our OTP walked in the nature (on the streets, in a field, in a beautiful alley) and never visited any amusement park.
To conclude, time played a vital role in the love of CSH and KJH. CSH never realized that she had got it all wrong: wrong timing aso… in the end, it was the perfect time for her to change her life as she was about to meet KJH while watching the beautiful sunset in Cuba.
As you have already guessed, the queen is the chairman Kim. Now, you might be wondering why I chose such a taking. In the foreground, the beholder notices the chessboard, while she is in the background. Chairman Kim has just heard the news that the assemblyman went to the prosecution office in order to reveal the bribes he received from Taegyeong Group.
The chessboard embodies perfectly the life of this terrible woman. She is just like the queen in this game. She is the most powerful pawn in chess, can move in every direction and at any distance. She has even more power than the king. Since she has always considered herself as a queen, entitled to everything, she believed that her power was endless. However, she made a huge mistake. Just like in chess, the game is over when the king is caught: checkmate. If life is a game for the chairman, this means that all the other pieces are just pawns that can be used and thrown away, the moment they become useless or a thread to her. As time passed on, we saw how she lost her trusted minion and then the director Choi. She always thought that losing a pawn is not terrible as they mean nothing to her. However, she never realized that she was losing little by little all her pawns so that at the end, she became dependent of one pawn: Cha Soo Hyun’s mother. In the picture below, we see Jin Mi Ok kneeling in front of the queen. She is humiliating herself in exchange for her support. However, chairman Kim abuses her power. She lets the woman kneel and rejects Cha Soo Hyun’s mother. Notice that the door frame corresponds to the form of the chessboard indicating that her world and life are in reality limited. This scene also illustrates the delusion of the queen. She really thinks that her realm is endless but this is quite the opposite.
At the end, since she saw how Jin Mi Ok humiliated herself, she has the impression that the former will never betray her and testify against her. But the opposite happens. She testifies against the queen who ends up in jail. Striking is that her realm (door frame) has the same form than the chessboard which can be explained by her liking for squares and oblongs. Ironically, she ends up in jail which usually has such a form. Her realm has been reduced to a prison cell. If she was the queen in the chessboard, who was the king? I think, it is her son Jung Woo Suk. She acted as a overprotective mother isolating him from others, even harassing his wife. Now, we can understand why the chairman Kim never liked Cha Soo Hyun. Sure, the gaze was a reason. However, just like in a chessboard, there is only one queen. There is no room for a princess. This explains why Jung Woo Suk is not able to see his mother at the end, as the latter refuses his visits. She has realized that she ruined her life and her son’s life as well. Life was a game for her, she saw others as “dust” or “dog” or “race horse” forgetting that in order to be a queen, you need subjects. By losing all her pawns, she lost all her subjects, Jin Mi Ok is the perfect example. If the queen doesn’t act reasonably and shows no loyalty, then why should a mistreated subject have any loyalty towards the queen? This justifies the chairman Kim’s action: she throws the chessboard enraged that she had been betrayed. Her gesture underlines that she has realized that life is not a game and pawns are not just useful and disposable items. Once lost, they are lost forever. She got aware too late that her power was limited by the number of pawns and the size of the chessboard. She can not control the entire media and the prosecution office all the time, especially when the politician Cha Joon Hyun had already mobilized the journalists and alerted the authorities.
Encounter/Boyfriend is the K-drama that incited me to create this blog.
It was a magical encounter, just like the character Cha Soo Hyun experienced by watching the beautiful sunset in Cuba. After that, her life was changed forever. She saw life in a new perspective.
After reading my essays and analyses about Encounter and other k-dramas, you will discover that literature and television are actually compatible and can enrich your knowledge. Since my interest for korean culture has been increasing, I am even now thinking about analyzing certain manhwas.
So feel free to recommend me any k-drama or manhwas and to give me any feedback.
The Queen in Encounter
Cha Soo Hyun’s eyes
The influence of The Little Prince in Encounter
The importance of Time in Encounter
The significance of hands and feet in Encounter (part 1)