Not only does Ji An go through a complete transformation from her initial cold, tough, unfeeling self to a person who could wish well for someone other than herself, she comes out the other end without losing her inner strength and other admirable traits that make her Ji An. She is a rare K-drama heroine.
by @tiger457_stv from Soompi:
But get back to the trial by fire that Lee Ji-an went through. Throughout her life, she has faced numerous obstacles, both small and large, some seemingly unsurmountable…but she has survived them all, overcome them all… and thanks to Her Ajusshi, has changed and become a better person.
This reader felt for her when she had to take grand mother out of the nursing home, unable to pay the bill, one tiny little girl pushing that heavy gurney down the steep hill…. did she cry? did she show frustration? did she curse? did she lament? NO…she just grimly did what she had to do (if that was this reader in her shoes, there will be 4 letters words everywhere from frustration!!!)
Her hard life had conditioned her to be extremely resilient and tough… But she does have a conscience and knows what is right and wrong, and feel emotions but they are all kept deep inside, in a lock box, let they come out and endanger her and grandma survival.
Several of our distinguished soompians have discussed the matter of “whether Ji-an had smooched any one before Ajusshi”…. this discussion makes this reader cringe…. because of the potential abuses and degradations she may have faced in the past just to eat. But abused or not, she survived them all and at the end, thanks to Ajusshi, could integrate herself for the 1st time into society.
The Lee Ji-an of the first 4 episodes, the grim, taciturn, impolite (the staffs think she was impolite because she did not even answer them when they asked or gave them terse one syllable answer, but did not realize that she never socialized with people and distrusted them) brat …. had at the end becomes a young woman who can socialize, can smile and share her thought with her peers! This is an amazing transformation and a triumph that she could break out of her hermit-self and becomes human (after all human….equates society…equates socialization)….and she did it alone in PUSAN, drove on by her promise to Ajusshi (Ji-an will you find peace and comfort like your name… yes… yes).
This reader is impressed that despite her transformation, Ji-an remains essentially Ji-an. She did not become like many other of her peers, who are only interested in material and emotional needs (shoppings, boyfriends etc..). She obviously apply herself to her occupation, even become a sign language instructor which takes time and effort. This shows intelligence, determination and no-nonsense self discipline…… This reader wonder who else she knew has that attitude?
Then she also found love. One may say that her love is one sided, unconditional but incomplete…. The truth is that we don’t really know what will happen later since we do have an open ending, but one thing we know about Ji-an is that she is very persistent, especially on what she wants or need to do. Passive Ajusshi with his private life in tattered, living alone eating ramen, smiling once in a while at photos of his son, won’t be able to resist her for long. She is like the beaver that gnaws at the aspen tree trunk…. the tree will fall, no matter how big and strong it may be. After all, chemistry mixed with persistence becomes…..fire work!!! hahaha.
We just have to be patient and imagine and cheer……..
In the same breath, we can curse the writer for making us suffer!!! hahaha