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.
This analysis is composed of two parts: I will focus first on the hands and later on scenes where the feet are shown.
While the hands and feet played a huge importance in the relationship between our protagonists CSH and KJH, a good observant might realize that the hand had an important part in the relationship between KJH and her friend HI. Until the episode 5, we see that JH and HI are close but not so close friends as JH doesn’t confide to her at all. She has no idea what happened in Cuba. Only when HI recognized him in the scandal, he had to explain himself.
Striking is that JH feels comfortable around HI, he teases her, runs after her after joking but he doesn’t really touch her physically. However, after revealing his identity in the hall, HI goes to a cafe and remembers the past. Interesting is that JH approaches HI in order to congratulate her. He knew that she would be alone hence he came. She is thankful but he just answers:
What HI hasn’t realized yet is what is about to happen. JH wants to take a picture and hugs her with one arm. What caught my attention in this scene was the hand.
While JH is focusing on the camera, she looks at his hand that touches her shoulder. He has just declared that she was a good friend and here with this touch, HI perceives JH for the first time in a different light. His hand on her shoulder changes everything. From now on, she views him as a man. JH is unaware that his gesture is quite “intimate” as he keeps looking at the camera.
He doesn’t see how she looks at his face. She views him as a handsome man… JH’s other hand is in the foreground, blurred which serves as contrast. JH is paying attention to the camera, not to the girl that stands so close to him and his face. For HI, the camera in front of her is not important… JH is more important to her hence the second hand of JH is blurred. With this taking, the viewer can see both perspectives: JH is unaware that his casual gesture has triggered something in HI, for him taking a good picture is more relevant.
JH gave her the picture later and for HI, this picture symbolizes the moment she fell in love with JH, the moment she realized that JH was a man after all. She clings to that memory hoping to find strength that’s why her hand is shown. For her, this picture is a treasure, the brief moment where she was so close to him: a happy memory which is linked to pain as well. Now, we all understand why HI was never able to confess to JH. Since he had declared before, they were friends… this picture marks for him the beginning of their real friendship (no more childhood friends), whereas for her it means the opposite: the moment she fell in love with him.
Since JH had touched her so casually once, I sense that HI might have thought, JH would come to touch her again like in this scene and would experience the same. She hoped that staying close to him, a casual touch might happen which would trigger feelings in him. What HI didn’t realize is that this memory has a different significance for JH: from that moment, he would always see her as a friend. That’s why he keeps saying to her that she is a friend.
However, I believe that his words must hurt her a lot because she is constantly reminded that in that moment she fell in love with him. Sure, HI had other reasons to believe that JH might come to love her… they belong to the same social class, she knows him well, she knows his family well too. On the surface, there was no reason for her to woo JH as he didn’t seem to be the type to be interested in woman. But the other reason why HI got never close to KJH is that we never see her foot get closer to KJH. She only had a connection with KJH’s hand: the red diary book or the scene with the picture (see above). HI was never able to get closer to him… that’s why we see this game: HI is chasing after KJH but she is unable to win as her feet never get closer to his.
But we were shown in many other occasions takings of hands. So the director didn’t just focus on hands between CSH and KJH or HI and KJH, he paid attention to hands generally as he had another purpose in his mind. After JH entered CSH’s world (episode 4), he came in contact with director Choi and Chairman Kim. He had to hear terrible things. These painful experiences were shown in the episode 7 in flashbacks.
Striking is that they are all in black and white, just like CSH’s memories from the episode 1,
where she remembered her sad, painful and lifeless life. As you can see, JH went through the same things than CSH. People telling him how to behave and what to say, giving harsh comments. By using the same mean of filming, the director underlined the similarity between our main leads. Moreover, these black and white scenes symbolize CSH’s world, the kingdom Taegyeong Group, the world JH had decided to enter in order to become a meaningful person to CSH. Now, he knows in what kind of world she has been living. This kingdom is huge and scary.
But in this black and white world, how can the subjects survive, as there is no sunlight and no warmth at all? Well, I had already pointed out that CSH had found ways to keep her mind sane and to express herself: the paintings and the hands. But actually, she is not the only one who uses the hand as a way to express feelings and indirectly thoughts.
In order to endure everything, to bear the humiliation and the harsh treatment, all of them, even director Choi who is just a pawn, react the same way. They hide their true feelings by hiding behind a smile or an expressionless face and use their hands in order to release their anger
(JH, episode 4… he hears director Choi insulting CSH) , anxiety, fear (episode 3, CSH’s hand sitting in front of Chairman Kim),
(JH, episode 7 after hearing about his transfer) or their hurt. That way, queen Kim and the other royals think that they are all obedient puppets. However, this is just a subterfuge. None of them stop thinking or feeling. They remain humans.
With this taking, the hands of director Choi reveal two aspects: he is hiding one hand with the other. Actually, he is scared because Chairman Kim tells him that she discovered his disobedience and she saw his gesture as backstabbing (episode 7). With his two hands, director Choi is able to deceive Kim as his gesture underlines his obedience. However, we could interpret this gesture as a way to hide his fear… while the one hand is shaking, the other is able to hide and control the shaking.
Now, you understand the “obsession” of this director with the hands. The hand is used in this cold world as a way to endure everything but at the same time to remain human. They are able to stay calm and overcome the terrible situation. Striking is that the director even decided to show the hands of minor characters like director Choi reinforcing the idea that in this chaebol world no one is actually really speechless. They might not speak in front of chairman Kim but they are still able to think on their own and feel.
But now let us focus on the takings of feet. Sure, the director often zoomed on KJH or CSH’s shoes. Nevertheless the way the taking was made has its significance. When KJH decided to enter CSH’s world, we see the following zooms:
As you can see, when we see KJH’s feet, his legs are visible, whereas it is not the case for CSH. Her shoes are partially visible or we only can observe her feet with ankles. To me, this reflects their freedom. CSH is not able to move freely like KJH. The closer the zoom, the less mobile and free the person is. Sure, this could be a coincidence. However, it was continually used this way. Let me give you another example. In the episode 7, KJH is told that he will be sent to Sokcho. Frustrated, he goes jogging. Then suddenly, we see this:
To me, this taking reflect the pressure and his actual position: he is still free to tell CSH about the demotion, whereas in reality he has not many options. He can not tell CSH the truth as he fears that she might get hurt again. Moreover, she might do something that could tarnish her reputation.
This explains why later the viewer can observe this: CSH is returning to her office after hearing the news about KJH’s demotion. Notice that this time, we see more than her feet. She has definitely more freedom than before… I see another confirmation with this scene from the episode 11:
Here, you could object that we don’t see the legs, yet their legs are visible through the shadows. So now we see that their feet are next to each other. Not only their closeness is reflected with this taking, but also their freedom . CSH chose to be with KJH and she made her decision willingly. Yet, notice that KJH’s shadow is bigger than CSH’s indicating that CSH’s situation is still different from KJH. She still has some issues: her own fears and insecurities. In the camera zoom from the episode 7, we see her walking which contrasts to the former takings from the episode 3
or 4 (see pictures above). She is no longer immobile. The zoom (Picture from the episode 7, see above) reflects her change of mind. She is active. This justifies why CSH’s feet are moving more slowly than KJH’s (episode 9).
She was trapped before, unable to move… had no freedom, now she is free but due to her long immobility, she can not run like KJH.
Striking is that just like with the hands, the director used zooms on feet of other characters.
This taking underlines two aspects: the closeness of these two persons, yet the problem that MJ is facing: the divorce of her mother. Driver Nam can only remain by her side and help her to overcome this. He can not do what he would like.
To conclude, the takings of hands and feet revealed a lot about the characters’ situation and their emotions. The director used a very unconventional way to symbolize the actual situation, the feelings of the characters.
Nowadays the focus of modern k-dramas has changed as more and more we see female characters (leads or second characters) in their thirties or forties. This actually shows that the writers are using the dramas in order to point out the difficult situation modern Korean women are facing: the struggles in the marriage, divorce, raising a child, work… By doing so, the dramas are trying to change the perception of women and their status.
Striking is that in Encounter and Romance is a Bonus Book, we see divorced women indicating that divorce has become a normality. Not just both female leads are divorced but also the PR manager Kim Sun Joo (Encounter) and Seo Young Ah (Romance is a Bonus Book). While infidelity was the reason for the three divorces, in SYA’s case it is different. The latter felt neglected and not protected by her husband. The latter not only preferred avoiding trouble, he also didn’t pay attention to her at all, since he was reading, while she was looking at the shoes.
Now if we focus on our two female leads, we will notice a huge difference. Unlike CSH, Kang Dan Yi’s life worsened due to the divorce. While CSH felt free for the first time and she managed to get a job (CEO of Donghwa Hotel) as her alimony, KDY, who had given up her career for her husband and family, was left with nothing. Her husband claimed that he was broke hence he never gave her any alimony. KDY was not just abandoned, she was struggling financially too, since she couldn’t find a job. In the end, she became homeless. Marriage had a huge impact on her life: she chose to give up on her career and to focus on her family. After her divorce, she tried to find a job like she used to have. However she was not successful, since she had to fight against younger graduated women. Her status as housewife represents a huge hindrance in her come back. People see this as if she had done nothing important, as if she had been lazy all the time. KDY worked hard as a housewife but her work is not recognized by society. I could mention another k-drama “Terius behind me”, whose female main lead Go Ae Rin was in a similar situation. She had to raise two kids while trying to find a job after her husband’s sudden death. Go Ae Rin as a housewife didn’t feel acknowledged by her husband hence their marriage was facing a crisis.
GAR was hurt and struggling as well. With these three examples, we can clearly see that the women’s situation hasn’t changed a lot: being a housewife is not rewarding, becoming dependent of a husband isn’t good either. Just like KDY, GAR tried to find a job but her status as housewife and mother became a hindrance. Yet, besides there is a new type of married woman: Kim Sun Joo
and Seo Young Ah are the perfect example. Both women have a family, yet they kept working… they never wanted to give up on their career. However both end up divorced for different reasons. Nevertheless unlike KDY and GAR, both women are not struggling financially and have not really lost their confidence. The divorce has affected them but they are still able to live normally and have no real identity crisis. For KDY, GAR and CSH, this is different. The three female leads have all something in common: loss of identity.
As you can read, both women lost their name therefore they lost their identity. In KDY’s case, we hear how she was called all these years (“Honey, Mummy, Madame”), while Cha Soo Hyun was always presented as the daughter or the ex-daughter-in-law. Striking is that the moment Cha Soo Hyun decided to do what she wants in her life, she started using her name again. Today is the first day, when she uses herself her own name. For KDY, it is similar. She also felt good being called by her name. Both women lost their identity and name as they were perceived for their function, usefulness. KDY was the one who helped her husband and daughter, CSH was useful for her father, mother and Taegyeong Group. It seems that the status as housewife and married woman is no longer a dream and reference. The reality is that housewives are isolated. In “Terius behind me”, GAR had friends but they were all housewives. KDY had only Cha Eun Ho as friend. CSH had no friend too.
Yet, in Romance is a Bonus Book we also see the other side of the coin: remaining single is not good either. Ko Yoo Sun ran away just before getting married as she was afraid of losing her job, her career and even her identity. However, now she regrets it as she is alone.
To conclude, in the actual k-dramas we see that a marriage can lead to misery and that being a housewife is linked to struggle, loss of identity and can lead to tragedy. The fairy tale with the marriage as happy ending is proven wrong. Reality is that housewives are too dependent on their husband’s income and their own worth is not acknowledged by society and even by the husband. In “Terius behind me”, her husband asked her to find a part-time job so that she would lose her weight and earn some money. As you can see, even her husband felt their situation burdensome… he was put so much under pressure as his whole family was relying on his income. On the other hand, remaining single is not a solution either as the result is loneliness. That’s why the traditional perception of marriage has changed. Being married and having a child doesn’t mean that a woman has to give up her job and career. Then Seo Young Ah’s husband made a mistake: he took his wife for granted. He thought, their love for each other would be enough and he was wrong. Love and respect are essential which is revealed in the three k-dramas I used as example. Moreover, we also see more and more that the image of men has changed either: the man should help his wife at home and raise the children as well. “Terius behind me” was the perfect example: Terius became really close to the twins and did a good job as taking care of the children. This is no longer the job of the wife. Nowadays men are expected to do house chores and raise the children. Cha Eun Ho and Terius correspond to this new image of men.
k-drama Encounter, the writer used poems, books and stories for many purposes:
more depth to the main characters
the main message from classical books like The Little Prince (“enjoy your life
with simple things, take care of your inner child”) and Alice in Wonderland or
poem (Rainer Maria Rilke f. ex.)
the beautiful side of poetry, make a connection between poetry and daily life.
demystification of fairy tales: a prince charming is just a façade
promote new books, encourage people to read
is that now there is another k-drama called “Romance is a supplement” or “Romance
is a Bonus Book”, whose story looks quite similar on the surface. Here we have
again a noona romance, where the main character is a divorced woman Kang Dan Yi.
She has a very special relationship with a younger man Cha Eun Ho.
Striking is that the story of this k-drama evolves around books as well, as CEH and KDY are both working at a publishing company. As you can see, books have a special place again. However, the use of books is a little different, since the company Gyeoroo Publishing is a fictional company. So the books they publish and are about to publish can’t be real. Besides, our protagonist Cha Eun Ho is himself a professor of literature at Hanguk University, writer and Chief Editor at this publishing company. His works are fictional as well. Then the other difference is that the writer has a different purpose, it shows how a book is born. A book is not just the result of the author, the publishing company had a lot of people working on it: the editing team, the marketing team, the designer etc. KDY even compared a book to the birth of a baby… It takes a long time before the book in his finale form is created. CEH hopes that even with “one book may change someone’s life” (episode 4). Another distinction is the way people treats books nowadays as if it was nothing special. The clients in the bookstores damage the book without even paying for it, a clear sign of disrespect. Then the viewers are confronted with different scenes where readers damage the books. This is one of the gestures:
Furthermore a lot of published books end up shredded for many reasons. The publishing company can’t donate these books, the best option is to destroy them as they can still get some money from the shredding. With these two examples, we have clearly a critic about consumer society. Moreover, it shows that many books are still published despite the area of Internet and blog.
Yet the survival and the long existence of a book is determined by his success. The pressure is definitely bigger compared to the 20th and 19th century, since more and more books are published which was visible in the scene at the print shop. They have to compete with foreign books as well. Furthermore many books become outdated and useless…
In this scene, the character Yeong-Ah sees our heroine DY searching for books about marketing. The recommendation given by YA reveal the short life of certain books. It looks like it is very difficult to create a classical book, a timeless work.
Nonetheless, both k-dramas used the fairy tale Cinderella, however with a different approach. Our heroine in Romance is a Bonus Book is disillusioned. She doesn’t believe in fairy tales any longer due to her divorce and situation in the episode 1. She rejects the shoes an unknown young man Ji Seo Joon offers her. The writer used certain elements from Cinderella: unknown identity, loss of shoes, night, a beautiful gown (in the shop window). The shoes belonged to her in the first place but due to an incident, she had lost one and decided to throw the other away which were picked up by JSJ, a book cover designer. DY tells him that she no longer believes in fairy tales and knight in shining armors as she is too old for that.
scriptwriter of Romance is a Bonus Book reminds us that diaries are actually
books, so many people are already writers. At the end of each episode, we see
written thoughts from our main characters. These could be seen as selected notes
from the diary CEH and KDY are writing. They both reveal a lot about their
affection for each other. Moreover, this was implied when KDY rejected the
shoes from JSJ. She said, she would rather write her own story.
As conclusion, although both k-dramas have a different approach to books, they have one common denominator: they are encouraging people to read. Both writers treasure books in the end. Romance is a Bonus Book reveals that it has become really difficult to turn a book into a classical book nowadays like f. ex. The Little Prince or Alice in Wonderland.
In this scene, our main characters are reading the favorite book from the other. While CSH has The Little Prince in her hands, KJH is holding Alice in Wonderland. One is a philosophical tale, while the other is more or less a fairy tale. What does it say about Cha Soo Hyun? Unlike The Little Prince that was indirectly mentioned in the earlier episodes (through the painting and his first love confession), so far, the work of Lewis Carroll was never implied before. Yet both works have many things in common. Besides both deal about childhood and they look like children books on the surface, nonetheless there is a deep message behind these stories. A deeper analysis reveals that Alice in Wonderland is about becoming an adult and Alice’s journey in that strange land correspond to her growth from a child into adulthood through adolescence. As you can see, childhood has a huge place in these two stories, nevertheless their perspective about childhood and memories contrasts, moreover their approach is different. While in The Little Prince the author wants adults to remember their inner child in order to live differently and enjoy life to the fullest, Lewis Carroll wrote in the preface this following verses:
Alice! A childish story take,
And with a gentle hand,
Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined
In Memory’s mystic band,
Like pilgrim’s withered wreath of flowers
Plucked in far-off land.
Striking is that the fairy tale and childhood dreams are compared to withered wreath of flowers. Sure, they represent memories too, yet these suffer from time as they are described as “withered”. So the author is referring to the fact as older the person becomes, the more childhood memories seem to disintegrate… they lose their intensity. Time has an impact on them. Sure, people tend to held onto these memories hence they are compared to “pilgrims” but time has an impact on these childhood dreams. Furthermore, at the end of the story, Alice’s sister tries to remember Alice’s “journey” and “dream”. She is well aware that this was just a dream. Her eyes are closed and she attempts to imagine this Wonderland. Yet, she can not live the same experience as she is not asleep. While “dreaming”, she is still awake and her mind recognizes each image and sound from Alice’s story to the image and sound of the real world. The older sister starts imagining Alice as an adult who will keep the simple and loving heart of her childhood. She will tell this story to her own children and remember this story and her childhood as something good. As you can see, childhood is linked in both works to purity and innocence and one author think that the person from the childhood won’t change that much (Alice’s image doesn’t change much in the future in the sister’s eyes), whereas Antoine de Saint-Exupéry thinks that otherwise. Adults change so much that they forget that they were once children. Time is quite important in Alice in Wonderland it is very often mentioned or implied (White Rabbit with the clock, her fall seems to be endless and during the fall, she can take things from the walls etc). Besides, Alice is even wondering if she should grow old or remain young. She decides, it is better to grow up as she doesn’t want to get lessons all her life. On the other hand, in The Little Prince, there was no time indication, the only thing related to time was the “death” of The Little Prince.
But let us take a closer look at Alice in Wonderland. Since CSH chose this book, this implies that she feels some connection with the main character. What have Alice, the main character, and Cha Soo Hyun in common? First, both are female characters, while The Little Prince was a boy… the same gender than KJH. Secondly, the story begins with a dream. Alice is sitting next to her sister, while the latter is reading a book. Alice feels bored and fell asleep. Striking is that transition between dream and reality is not visible. And this is interesting because the more we read, the more confused it becomes. The distinction between dream and reality is not clear at all, especially when it is written: (First chapter) “the sleep began to win Alice”, she is even described in her dream as “half-asleep” giving the impression that she was awake before. Yet, this is not possible as she had already made different strange experiences: meeting the White Rabbit with his clock, the endless fall where time seems to have changed. So she was already dreaming, however it looks like there is a “second sleep” indicating that she is falling deeper and deeper asleep. So the borders between reality and dream are not clear at all. Strangely is that Cha Soo Hyun is in a similar situation in the beginning. She has been in a coma for so long so that she has some problems to discern what is reality from dream. In the episode 11, while she is drunk, she confides to KJH her biggest fear. She is so happy to have him by her side that she is worried.
These words underline her confusion. For her, it is too good to be true. This must be a dream because reality is so different. Her vegetable state has affected her. She can no longer distinguish what is dream and reality. Well, in “Alice in Wonderland”, there were still allusions to the real world: her cat Dinah, her friends Ada and Mabel, her lessons etc.” so that this story is a mixture of dream and reality. A certain confusion exists in the story too. Yet, the way Alice wakes up at the end marks a turning point. She rejects “Wonderland” claiming that they are just a deck of cards. She refuses to acknowledge The Queen of Heart and her minions, she regains consciousness and can discern their true nature. At the end, there is no more confusion. CSH has a similar experience at the end. She is able to discern that this “dream” is not too good to be true… the photos of her happiness are the proof. This is reality and not a dream. So their journey are quite similar. At the end, both can distinguish dream from reality.
Another parallel between the drama and this tale is that Alice’s personality resembles Cha Soo Hyun’s character a lot. Both are curious, eager to help and both make mistakes. CSH’s curiosity is visible as she keeps trying new things with KJH (eating ramyeon at a stop area, chicken gizzards aso). Moreover, her new experiences are often linked food… just like Alice who keeps trying drinks, cookies and mushrooms in order to know what the effects will be. Another aspect is their loneliness. Alice is either talking to herself or talking about her cat Dinah which she seems to be missing a lot or she can’t stop talking to others (the duchess, aso). She feels lonely in this world. But the main common denominator is the loss of identity and their quest to discover who they really are. CSH’s loss of identity is palpable in the episode 7. She mentions
So it means
for the first time, she is living as Cha Soo Hyun. Notice in her next words, she
uses her own name, like f. ex. “I’m no longer the Cha Soo Hyun who is crazy about
the hotel”. She has already found a part of herself the moment she uses her own
name. Alice is put in a similar situation. In the chapter II, she wonders about
her own identity. Then she remembers her friend Ada and Mabel and realizes that
she can not be Ada and Mabel. Later, the White Rabbit calls her Marianne, the
pigeon confuses her to a snake. The Cater pillar is the one who asks Alice: WHO
ARE YOU? Alice had already questioned her own identity before, yet the caterpillar
is the one who confronts her with that question openly. As you can see, Alice
and CSH use both names in order to find their own identity. However, there is a
huge difference between these two characters. While in the tale Alice in
Wonderland, the focus is on growth and becoming an adult, CSH has a different
journey. For her, it is to discover her own inner child. The more episodes
aired, the more CSH became cheerful, even her secretary JMJ pointed out that
CSH was behaving like in the past. So their journey is quite the opposite. CSH
has lived for a long time as an adult and could never enjoy being an adolescent
and child. Alice goes through the adolescence in the book, just like our
heroine. CSH takes her distance from her mother and at the end, she is able to
reconcile with her as she has found her own identity and her own life. Sure,
when she talked to her mother, she hadn’t gone back to her KJH’s side, yet CSH
the Queen of heart and the King remind us a lot of Chairman Kim and her son
JWS. The latter acts behind his mother’s back, just like in Alice. The Chairman
Kim owns a chessboard which is quite similar to the deck of cards. Both queens are
threatening a lot and even trying to give death sentences. Their world is quite
violent and brutal so that both Alice and CSH are rejecting it at the end.
To sum up, the
drama Encounter and Alice in Wonderland have a lot of points in common:
The journey of a heroine
The importance of time and childhood
Loss of identity and search for identity
The visible growth of the main character
Confusion between dream and reality
Some characters are quite similar
At the end of her journey, CSH found her true identity and personality. She has found her inner child, although she is still an adult. That’s why we see this painting at the end of Encounter.
has always been the more mature one (f. ex. enduring hard times with good
memories, his letter at the end, his bet in the episode 16), the man
embodies KJH’s personality: full of wisdom and knowledge and the little girl
resembles CSH because of her childish side… she likes teasing
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.
You, one so warm, and me, one so tender, meet again? (Translation from VIU)
This poem has been used twice in this drama, once in the episode 5 and the other at the episode 10. Striking is that the drawing in each episode was referring to that poem. In the episode 5, we had the impression that the frames were like stars shining in this darkness.
The frames were representing the memories of our OTP’s different encounters so that the idea of “when will we meet again” is visible in this drawing.
But now, let us take a closer look to the drawing of the episode 10.
Behind an hedge, a man seems to float in the air in a garden. The hedge serves as wall and keeps intruders away. The man is looking at the sky. The garden and the sky are colored in dark and gloomy colors. I had mentioned in my previous post that the dark colors are an indication that the main characters will face huge problems. In the episode 10, the major issue is the possible loss of the hotel with the garden in Cuba. What caught my attention is that unlike the previous drawing, JH is not drawn in black but in white. Why the change? Sure, one reason could have been to create a contrast because JH would have been barely visible in such a gloomy scenery. However, the creator could have used yellow or gold, since JH is often connected to the sun or star. Yet, white symbolizes purity and innocence which fits JH’s personality. Moreover, his trip to Cuba is indeed so selfless and pure because he just wants to help his girlfriend.
As you can guess, the drawing illustrates a scene in the episode, when he is waiting for grandfather Samuel in the garden. But why did the illustrator make JH float in the air? Let us not forget that JH has been compared to the wind (the scene with JWS in the episode 9) and in another drawing a red butterfly embodied him. Both have something in common: the element air. As conclusion, JH floating in the air is another indication that JH belongs to the element air. We all know that he is close to nature.
However, the darkness seems to disappear a little as later, there is a golden frame surrounding JH and the garden, as if he was protected.
This corresponds to the roof of the porch.
The way the director shot that scene was really amazing as he was actually following the poem. First, we see JH looking at the star (“Among a multitude of stars”). Then the camera follows JH’s gaze and shows us the sky full of stars…
Then we have to imagine that the camera position changes and from the sky, we are brought back to JH. But it gets a little closer to him.
This camera move refers to “one (star) stare down at me”. As you can see, the camera position is changed: it is up
Striking is that as the camera position changes each time, the closer it gets to JH and to the sky indicating that they are getting closer to each other, it even becomes personal. It was as if there was an exchange between JH and the stars, and especially an exchange with one star, the one representing his beloved one, CSH (“Among a multitude of people, I stare up at that one star”). They look as if they were communicating to each other through the distance. The star reminds him of CSH and that’s why when he recites this verse, he starts thinking about her. In the last mentioned verse, the star is a metaphor for a loved one because before people were mentioned. This personification explains why JH starts thinking of CSH and their different encounters: “Where, when and as what will the two of us, You, one so warm, and me, one so tender, meet again?”.
While looking at the stars and starry night and reciting that poem, we have the impression that JH is wishing to see CSH very soon. This is not a coincidence because don’t forget the expression “when you wish upon a star”. Stars are linked to inspiration, dreams, aspiration, guidance, pursuits and magic. Indeed, CSH serves JH as an aspiration, she is his guide… Later, CSH remarks that this feels magical… and it was as if his wish had been granted, when he met the next day.
This justifies why the drawing from the ending looks like this:
CSH as star comes down to him… she is followed by shooting stars. And we all know that a shooting star is associated to wish as well. The issue with the hotel has not only disappeared, but also his girlfriend has come to him and his biggest wish has come true: “as what will the two of us… meet again?” She is now his lover. So this scene illustrates that he finds strength and comfort in the starry night. CSH inspires him to do extraordinary things (the masquerade ball, the super service, aso). His dream is to be with her no matter what. And the next day he could meet like he had wished. Nature in the form of stars is on his side.
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.
Although this story, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, looks like a book for children due to the drawings and the style, in reality The little prince is classified as a philosophical tale. First, the author is criticizing through this story our modern society… don’t forget that it was written during World War Two therefore he wanted people to question themselves and their values. The main points are the following:
– the contrast between appearances and reality
– the incapacity of communicating between adults and children
– the importance of relationships among people and to take care of them
– the sense of responsibility towards others
– the loss of true values due to money and power (represented by different kind of adults: the king, the drunkard, the geographer as scientist, the businessman, the vain man and the streetlight igniter)
In The Little Prince, the adults are portrayed in a pejorative way: their lives consist of dependencies (alcohol, the need of admiration, the greed to possess etc.), of loneliness and lack of feelings. After reading this short description, you can observe that CSH’s world looks a lot like the world in this story. The two main protagonists in The Little Prince are the aviator and the Little Prince, yet they should be considered as representing the same person because the main point of this tale is to ask people to take care of their inner child. That’s why you can read in The little Prince
“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”
The little prince represents the child embodying all the positive aspects like innocence, creativity, imagination, purity and curiosity in opposite to the adults mentioned above, while the narrator and aviator is the adult. Meeting the prince in the desert means that the aviator is able to rediscover his inner child and rethink about his own life: True values like friendship and love become visible again hence the fox says that
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
At the end of the story, The Little Prince leaves the aviator behind (officially he goes back to his planet but since a snake bit him, we can wonder if he died), yet the narrator says that he is still looking for the little prince, even asking the readers if they saw him. Besides, when the aviator looks at the stars in the sky, he always thinks of him. As you can see, the aviator doesn’t forget his “inner child”. He is an grown-up after all, yet he shouldn’t forget his inner child.
In the beginning, the aviator explains an unforgettable event. When he was 6 years old, the adults couldn’t understand his drawing hence he gave up to become an artist. From that moment, the aviator started living like a grown-up… and here we can see a parallel with CSH. It was around this age, where she was forced to give up her innocence and carefree life and become an adult at an young age. Meeting KJH is like meeting the little prince. She discovers what she has long forgotten: love, joy, carefree life aso. This also justifies why KJH has this playfulness and cheerfulness as he is still very innocent. He might be a grown-up on the surface, yet his personality reminds us of a “child”. I can not forget how some viewers sometimes reacted to his huge smiles… they were somehow bothered by these smiles. But seeing these from this perspective, KJH is the little prince, the one who will awaken CSH’s inner child. Thanks to him, CSH is able to perceive life with her heart and no longer with her eyes. JWS was too realistic and too grown-up to bring happiness into her life. On the other hand, CSH represents the adulthood because in the philosophical tale, the little prince starts changing as well: he discovers what friendship and love mean which becomes painful for him. He loses little by little his innocence as well.
He left his planet because of the rose. The flower was so vain, contradictory but vulnerable, however she ended up hurting the little prince with her words. She loves him but she is well aware that she was the reason he misunderstood her. The rose symbolizes on the one hand femininity and on the other love. The little prince only realized how unique his rose was after meeting the fox:
“It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.”
We could say that KJH is resembling a lot to the little prince. He spent a lot of time with his rose, took great care of her but due to her words, he ended up leaving her behind. The rose could be perceived either as CSH (she broke up with him) or his mother (who hurt him by forcing CSH to break up with him). Moreover, moving closer to CSH who is the archetype of the adult means facing reality and the world of the grown-ups. He met the queen Chairman Kim, the greedy director Choi, the jealous CEO JWS… Each time, he got hurt but was able to overcome the suffering. He experienced a lot with CSH. He became little by little an adult. Yet his mother refused to see it. That’s why CSH and KJH are both saying the same at the end: they make the other a better person. CSH can become more cheerful and playful again, KJH has become a real man. He is her fence and her protector. They complete each other.
Striking is that CSH has a lot in common with the little prince as well. First, she possesses a painting representing The Little prince. We could interpret that the little prince embodies her inner child that she has long forgotten and is trapped in the painting.
Their situation is similar: both are lonely. He lived on his planet, she lived for her hotel. Secondly, both enjoy watching sunsets. The prince said he could watch 44 sunsets on his planet, when he felt sad. And we saw how the sunset in Cuba had such an impact on She could forget her sad life, this even marked the time of her awakening: trying to enjoy life differently. That’s why we have this.
Yet after meeting the boyfriend’s mother and her rejection, Cha Soo Hyun is once again confronted with the reality, the world of adults. The beholder witnesses how affected she is.
Notice how she is sitting next to the little prince. She has always been turning her back on him, in a sense we could say that she has been trying not to acknowledge her “inner child”, although we know that CSH had started changing. Nonetheless, the way this scene was taken underlines another aspect: we barely see the little prince, hence we come to the conclusion that his presence has been even reduced. Don’t forget that she is about to break up with JH. Moreover, the wall/door on the side which covers the face of the little prince could be interpreted as the pressure CSH is feeling right now. She is again fighting against her inner demons: the right to be happy. She feels that happiness can only be a dream. For her, unhappiness means reality. Reality is linked to being a grown-up. She associates reality and adulthood with unhappiness since no adult around her has ever been shown happy. See her ex-husband, her mother (never satisfied with her actual life), her father (regretting his bad choice), her ex-mother-in-law, her secretary Nam (he stopped being a journalist, never confessed to his loved one…), JMJ trying to chase the perfect husband … Moreover, I sense that she might even think that she, the princess, is cursed to be unhappy in her life therefore her curse might affect JH’s family. This is the real reason for the break-up.
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.