A Simple Way to Add Value to Our Lives through Books & Movies
Best-selling books in bookstores nowadays contain essays, and have become so popular because many people are struggling to survive in this highly competitive society. Such books tell them that it is okay to seek comfort and rest for a while. For the same reason, TV programs that offer relaxation and healing in a secluded countryside have become more popular than those deemed as more challenging to watch. As a college student, I spend four months working on assignments, such as repeated test sessions, reports, and presentations, in each semester. Then, I crave for relaxation and rest. So I choose to spend my time on books and movies. In this article, I would like to recommend a number of books and movies.
The first book I will discuss is "Almond" by Sohn Won-pyeong. Sun Yoonjae, the main character who cannot sympathize with somebody else because he cannot feel emotions, slowly begins to feel empathy toward Lee Soo, who calls himself "Gon." What is special about this book is not only about the growing years of Yoonjae, leading to such sympathy, but also the contradictions in society as a result of people's indifference. All the characters in the book point out, "It's a robot. He’s a weird kid," as they watch Yoonjae, who does nothing while his family was murdered. However, Yoonjae finally develops into a child who can sympathize with others, enough to do the right thing to save Gon. Although the word "sympathy" seems to be unique to Yoon, it is common to see that empathy has been lost in our society. People who witness newsworthy incidents do nothing and just walk through them, thinking it's nothing but a misfortune. I think it would be the biggest contradiction for these people and the society as a whole to see Yoonjae as an emotionless robot. Gon, who reminded Yoonjae of his sympathy, is also a child who is accused of being violent and twisted by the society. However, Gon also reveals his heart to Yoonjae, who is not very emotional. He is a child who can sacrifice himself for his friend. The society that criticized him as a violent child made him so. "Was he born like this? That's the worst thing to say," Gon said. "People don't know what Gon is like, but I disagree. No one just wanted to know Gon better," Yoonjae said. As you can see in the previous two sentences, not all the children are born as people see them, but mature into the environment they grow up in and into the interpretation of the people around them. It is a book that makes you reflect on the society and the people blaming these children. Also, it is a must-read book for those who want to change society and help children see and grow without prejudice.
The next book is "Her Name" by Cho Nam-joo. She is the well-known author of the feminist book, Kim Ji-young born in 1982. The book is uniquely designed to interview 60 women who are 6 - 69 years old and weave their stories. The women’s ages and professions vary in each episode, including a story of a student’s protest at Ewha Womans University, marriage, divorce, and a mother's story. Marriage and childbirth are inseparable aspects in women's lives, especially in Korea, where women's independent career lives are very much likely to end after marriage. That's why I sincerely recommend this book to women, including my mother and sister, and especially to men in the society. I felt uncomfortable upon reading this book as a woman, and realized that there were many difficulties for women in my country. Also, it was frustrating to realize that women were experiencing such hardships in the society without knowing it. If both men and women can read this book and look back on the lives of women in the society, it would be ideal to promise to create a society where children in the future will not be constrained by the framework of women, and can live without anxiety, regardless of gender. If all women get married, I wish they would rather live in their own person than make sacrifices as someone else's wife, daughter-in-law, or mother. That would be the most important step for an individual to live a happy life. I am recommending this book because it inspires one to establish a healthy family and society.
Finally, a movie I would like to discuss is "Moonrise Kingdom" by Wes Anderson. The main characters are children who are considered odd by adults and the society. Two children go on a journey to protect themselves from such bias. It's an ordinary, fairy tale-like story, but I recommend it because I think it is a unique film made through Anderson’s different expressions of color and content. The director has become famous in Korea for the pastel-colored movie, "Grand Budapest Hotel". He has a sense of eccentricity, like telling a story outside our world. This movie’s color sensation attracted attention from many audiences. Unlike the colorful images, however, the movie's portrayal of the characters is straightforward, adding to the movie’s merits. The sequences provide a warm impression through the use of yellow filters. The tents or the cars in the middle, the wall of the room where Suzy and Sam greeted each other, and the dress Suzy wore at the time were all yellow. On the other hand, unlike this warm color representation, he describes all the kinds of cruel scenes. Sam makes and presents an earring made out of worms and fishhooks for Suzy, showing rather disgusting scenes, such as the sight of blood flowing through her ears in a wooden wire. Start with "Moonrise Kingdom" , a unique film that escapes from reality, and watch the rest of the movies directed by Wes Anderson.
If you want to add value to your time and get away from your busy daily life, why don't you check out the books and movies discussed above, and seek your own diversion?
Park Tae-ha (ST Reporter)