This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/dine_vampire But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes.
Actually, I wanted to write about this topic much sooner but due to “Painter Of The Night”, I kept postponing it. Once again, I’ll examine the evolution of Joo Sooin and Park Chi-Hwan, yet under a different aspect: Emancipation. When both met and came to an agreement, both experienced deliverance. While the human was no longer exposed to abuse, the vampire was no longer forced to kill vampires in order to survive. Consequently, while liberation will be the topic of the essay, I’ll question at the end, if their emancipation just announces a positive change.
Before explaining Joo Sooin’s liberation, it is important to remember how the protagonist’s life was preceding Kwon Sungha’s death. Joo Sooin had no control over his own life. The abusive roommate supervised main lead’s every single move and word. For example, Sungha forced Joo Sooin to lie to his girlfriend.
Or he even ordered him to return from work at a precise time, well aware that Sooin would have to struggle in order to follow his order.
In that scene, Kwon Sungha was particularly vicious because he planned to set up a trap for his roommate, like the drawing below proves it. He knew that his “friend” would arrive at this hour.
When Sooin arrived two minutes later than ordered, he caught the so-called friend with his girlfriend in a embarrassing position. He interrupted them, while they were about to have sex. This gave the double-faced man the excuse to send away his girlfriend, avoiding to have sex with her, whereas he could accuse the poor “roommate” of embarrassing him and his girlfriend. Later he could even justify his abuse because Sooin needed to be punished for his wrongdoings (the interruption and his lies). Simultaneously, he ensured to make his former best friend feel guilty in order to underline his superiority and demonstrate his power. He was the master, the one deciding about Sooin’s fate.
Furthermore our main lead wasn’t even the owner of his own body, Sungha marked and bruised him like he wanted. The double-faced man even supervised their sexual encounters, he never took the uke’s pleasure into consideration. In fact, he actually enjoyed it, when the protagonist would cry. He abused the main character so much that at the end, Joo Sooin had even adopted Sungha’s worldview. As a homosexual, he was a dirty and filthy pervert. The red-haired man had succeeded to transform Sooin into a man with no confidence, no dream and no desire. That’s why I described him as a zombie in my first analysis about Dine With A Vampire (“What defines being a human?”). Imagine that for a brief moment his “only hope and dream” was to be thrown away, as if he was some garbage.
That’s how little he thought of himself, a vulgar and soiled object. Besides, Sooin would even use the same vocabulary than his abusive “boyfriend”, like for example “dirty”.
However, everything changed the moment Park Chi-Hwan helped him to cut ties with Kwon Sungha by killing the inhuman doctor. When the vampire got rid of the violent roommate, Soo Jooin could finally be free and could regain the control of his own life. However, this perception has to be relativized.
The problem with victims of abuse is, they need time to change completely as their thoughts and actions have been formatted by their violent partner. Since everything revolved around their partner before, the abused need to regain a new identity, to change their own behavior and as such to rediscover their own taste. That’s why the red-haired man’s influence still exists in the protagonist’s life, even after the perpetrator disappeared.
First, Sooin is reminded of Sungha, when he touches the vampire’s cheek in order to restrain him. The reason is simple: he did the same gesture with his roommate.
As you can observe, a victim of a toxic relationship has some issues to forget the ex-partner and his past habits, born out of fear and the need to protect themselves. This shows that many reactions have been internalized. This incident explicates too why Sooin finds it very difficult to choose his own food and clothes properly. Notice that he picks not only the least nutritious meal
but also something looking similar to Sungha’s porridge (white and sticky due to the butter):
Imagine, he doesn’t even look at the more delicious dishes and even feels awkward to receive so many expensive clothes, hence he has to be pressured to pick up some shirt and trousers. Here, due to the colors (dark blue and black) the selected shirt and the trousers resemble to the jacket he wore, when he was living with the future doctor.
His choice of clothes and dishes not only reflect his low self-esteem but also mirrors his problem to forget his life with his abusive friend. As you can detect, despite the disappearance of Sungha, Sooin is not truly liberated from his ex-best friend’s shadow.
Therefore during his sleep, our main character keeps having nightmares about Sungha, revealing that his fear of his former best friend has not completely vanished. (chapter 9 and 14). He recalls the way the monster had sex with him.
Fortunately, the man remembers Park Chi-Hwan in his dream so that the ex-partner is repressed. Yet, he comes back in form of a shadow, making him feel guilty. He is the one responsible for his death.
In other words, Sooin is still tormented, although he has someone nice by his side. Because of the long exposure to abuse, his angst and guilt are deeply engraved in him. This explicates why the young man keeps apologizing to Park Chi-Hwan. He imagines that the vampire might react like his ex-friend (see the chapter 12 too).
Furthermore while having sex with Park CHi-Hwan, Sooin’s requests are related to Sungha’s sexual habits. Sooin didn’t want the vampire to cum inside him during their first sexual intercourse. There is no ambiguity that this is again related to Sungha as the latter saw sperm as something dirty, especially when the manhwalovers recalls his remark made with the porridge. When Sooin asked the supernatural creature to grab his head so that he could take his whole shaft, I believe that this desire was influenced by Kwon Sungha too. What caught my attention is the main lead’s reaction, when he hears from his lover that he will do what Sooin wants. The quotation marks indicate a certain surprise and hesitation expressed by the sensitive human. At that moment, the new lover has no idea that the request doesn’t truly reflect the human’s wish, it is more linked to the violent internist. Besides, if you consider how rough the fellatio is (deep throat), even the vampire wonders how he can allow this, because he knows how delicate the human is. This would explicate why at the end, when the vampire declares that Sooin looks like a mess, the latter starts crying and apologizing. The deep throat fellatio and Chi-Hwan’s words triggered the main lead to remember about the negative image he has about him.
As the manhwaphiles can observe, time is essential for victims of abuse. That’s why this story is very interesting. It makes the readers understand how difficult it is for these victims to distance themselves from their terrible experiences and their past. Outsiders often don’t understand why abused people can’t cut ties with their controlling and violent partner immediately. The latter often uses guilt as a way to dominate their partner. In the manhwa, Sungha even blackmails Sooin and the latter had no way to protected himself. That’s why the victims of abuse have problems to leave their abusive partner, they sometimes think that they can even turn them into a better person. In other words, if they want to start a new life, they have to leave everything behind: their former habits and thoughts. It was, as if they needed to relearn how to live on their own. This is what people caught in a controlling relationship need to do in order to be truly emancipated:
- Reclaiming activities
- Being kind to his own body.
- Connecting with people.
- “You. Survivors need to learn to put themselves at the center of their lives. After structuring their time around the abusers’ demands, it can be difficult for survivors even to remember their own opinions and wishes.” quoted from https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/invisible-chains/201512/recovery-after-controlling-relationship
The murder might have helped Sooin to run away from Sungha, yet he has not truly cut ties with his past and overcome his trauma.
However, the readers get to see more and more small changes in the protagonist. For the first time, he is able to think on his own and even speak about himself, a huge step in his emancipation. . The personal pronoun “I” is quite central in order to detect the slow recovery. If you compare to the way he spoke much earlier, his sentences in the second picture above are much longer and without any break. Sooin is less reserved and more determined. There is a progression between the two pictures, the “I” becomes more and more important.
Sooin’s slow transformation and liberation is only possible because Park Chi-Hwan treats him with respect and tenderness. He ensures that the young man eats better. He lets him eat some meat so that the human is able to discover that he likes that dish. The supernatural creature doesn’t mark his lover with bruises and bites in order to claim the human as his partner to other vampires, he uses his scent. He even tells Sooin that he will always listen to his wishes and desires. Why is there such a huge contrast between this relationship and Sooin’s bond with Sungha? Sooin and Chi-Hwan call each other master hence there exists no superiority between them, unlike Sungha who was the only master. For him, Sooin was just his pet or his object. While Sungha planned to cage his sex partner in a studio for his own sexual desires, Chi-Hwan uses the expression “our home”.
The more time passes on, the more Sungha’s influence is fading away as the innocent human discovers how a real relationship works. Chi-Hwan and Sooin are open to each other, there is no secret between them. The vampire never lies or sets up his lover. They don’t hide their fear or thoughts from each other contrasting so much to Sungha’s manipulations and secrets. Besides, the vampire is determined to erase this monster from Sooin’s memory. This explicates why the more episodes we read, the more the human’s mind is focused on Park Chi-Hwan. Little by little, the young man accepts him in his heart. He is even willing to do anything for him. He is not even repulsed, when he sees blood on the ground. He just gets scared as his lover has blood on his face and he could have been hurt.
While Sooin wanted to escape from Sungha’s claws, the opposite is happening with the vampire. The human fears to get separated from his lover. He even envisions how to help Chi-Hwan because the latter could get arrested for murder. As you can detect, Sooin’s liberation is not complete as he is still concerned about Sungha, but the former has already made huge progress. He has found comfort and love in Park Chi-Hwan’s embrace and care. Consequently the moment Sooin discovers that his former lover has survived, he might get scared shortly. However, I am expecting that the victim will reject his former lover and no longer fear him, although he has become a vampire. His relationship with Park Chi-Hwan will become his strength and anchor to fight against his former best friend. The irony is that Park Chi-Hwan might be a vampire just like Sungha, yet the former metamorphosed into a “human” due to Sooin’s scent and blood (while keeping his supernatural nature), whereas this won’t be the case for Sungha. He was a monster as a human and I am quite sure, he will remain one as a vampire.
Now, it is time to focus on the vampire’s emancipation. In the introduction, I mentioned Park Chi-Hwan’s liberation and explained that thanks to Sooin’s blood, he was no longer forced to kill other vampires for his own existence. However, I see another aspect in his emancipation. His new lover has turned him into a human, being able to ooze warmth and tenderness. Notice that he smiles and even laughs more, while in the introduction, he appeared more grumpy. He was avoiding humans and even vampires. The reasons were quite simple. He disliked the scent of humans’ blood and he needed to avoid vampires so that he could hunt them without getting noticed. In other words, he was quite lonely. He couldn’t share anything with others. Affection and care were non-existent. I also believe that he also discovered sexuality and its pleasures thanks to Sooin. Notice his reaction, when he drinks the human’s blood for the first time.
The human’s reaction works like an aphrodisiac for the vampire too. His words in the picture outline that his knowledge wasn’t based on experience but on hearsay. His gaze and mouth express fascination and joy. This new discovery awakes the vampire’s appetite for excitement. Therefore he warns Sooin that he won’t be satisfied very quickly. We could say that for the first time, he felt thirst for sex and pleasure.
That’s why I say that his life has changed a lot too. Thanks to Sooin, he is no longer living in hell, can finally smell nice things, feel pleasure during intercourse. He is hungry and thirsty for love and sex. Observe that at no moment he questions his relationship with Sooin. Homosexuality seems something natural and normal for the supernatural creature. His mentality stands in opposition to the internist’s, the latter judging sodomy as filthy. For the first time, the supernatural creature is enjoying life and is no longer living in hell hence sodomy can’t be dirty. No wonder why Park Chi-Hwan calls it a miracle.
We have to imagine that before meeting Sooin, his life was quite empty but gory at the same time as he needed to kill his “fellows” for his own survival. Moreover, his comment in the drawing above lets transpire that he hadn’t expected to ever meet such a human in his life. We could say that the supernatural creature has come back to life. He has been set free from his life as vampire, now he is living like a human, without losing his supernatural powers.
We discover in the chapter 14 why Park Chi-Hwan is able to kill his fellows so easily. Since he eats vampires, his powers are stronger than vampires feeding on humans. And this could be the weakness the new vampire, introduced for the first time in the chapter 16, is referring to. Since he has bonded with a human, the origin of his powers is now Sooin and no longer the vampires. Does it signify that he will lose his supernatural powers over other vampires in the long term? Honestly, I believe the opposite. But we’ll see if this impression will be proven correct. Besides, as human’s life is so fragile, it is normal that Park Chi-Hwan’s enemy will target Sooin because he seems to be the weaker one. Once Sooin is removed from Chi-Hwan’s side, the latter will lose his happiness and joy.
Let’s not forget that the gentle protagonist keeps reminding Sooin of his mortal condition. Therefore the vampire’s liberation appears to be a source of danger. He might have found joy and love but these become his weaknesses thereby he could lose his immortal life for good. However, I doubt that the new vampire is taking into consideration that Joo Sooin is metamorphosing into a strong and reliable human thanks to Park Chi-Hwan. At some point, the human will become the vampire’s strength, the more he gets loved and encouraged to be his own person. They are already working together, worrying about each other very much
that’s why their liberation will help them to fight against their enemies. Sungha and the new vampire might be working together, yet they have different mindsets and goals in my opinion. Sungha will try to reclaim his “pet” and prey, while I can envision that the other vampire would prefer getting rid of Joo Sooin. I envisage that Sungha could decide to go after his rival but the white-haired vampire won’t permit it. For the latter, killing the loved one would be more effective than just removing him from Park Chi-Hwan’s side. We can also sense the white-haired vampire’s resentment and lack of emotions in the final scene. Observe the contrast between the supernatural creature’s words and his facial expression.
The secret beholder is far from showing any happiness and relief. He seems to be far from emancipated from the past. I believe that just like Sungha, he must resent Park Chi-Hwan for abandoning him. He is certainly jealous of his former friend who could live without him and he is now annoyed that he could find happiness with a human. I have the impression that this vampire wants to make Park Chi-Hwan regret his past decision. The latter shouldn’t have freed himself from his fellow and former friend.
While Park Chi-Hwan made a huge new experience with Sooin, the other seems to still live in the past, full of resent. He will make sure that Park Chi-Hwan’s liberation turns his life into hell.
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