I have always believed that books carry an incomprehensible magnitude of impact on readers. Some words, certain phrases and that one line can leave a reader stupefied for a long time.
If a work of art is good, the influence does not last for a few seconds. Instead, it stays forever with the individual. The moments from that piece often comes back as lessons like an advice from a close friend.
I never thought I would have my moment of enlightenment so soon. It was practically impossible to believe that a sentence from a comic would made me realize the trap I have lured myself in than real human advice.
Last week, I was reading “Cheese in a Trap”, a manhwa (an episodic web comic). Simply put, the comic is about a college student Hong Seol. Even though it has a romantic plot, the comic shows the life of a college student pretty well.
Seol Hong, the main protagonist has complying kind of personality. She works hard to avoid hardships but life always betrays her. She is always bumping into bullies who sugar coat and use power to get things out of her.
But one episode changes her attitude towards herself and others. In an academy she goes to study English, she meets Beak In Ho, the second lead of the narrative.
Beak In Ho has already had his bit of experience in cruel word and upon seeing Seol suffering, he gives her a piece of advice. He tells her that there is always time to say “No”. If she keeps on getting exploited by the powerful, the powerful will keep on exploiting her.
The next few events put her to test. She is put in a group of free loaders, is stalked and harassed by fellow students. In her first group presentation, she fails to acknowledge the pain she has been going through because of free loaders but in her second group presentation, she makes a point to show them their real place.
But just one tiny conversation with Beak In Ho make her realize that
ripples fall on everyone but they are just ripples and like everyone she too must endure but when time comes and ripples start hurting you, they can’t be endured anymore.
I identify with Seol on several levels. The episodes in the comic are not just lessons to her but to me as well. The comic really taught me that sometimes, it’s good to be selfish. As Seol reflects and acts to get herself out of the “trap”, she emerges as true hero who I can look upto. Now, I do look upto her.
Have you read “Cheese in the Trap” ? If yes, what do you think about it?