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Written by Julia Wolf
“The passive personality” of Yeong-hye could bore some people to death but not Mr. Cheong. It was true that he could detect “neither freshness or charm, or anything especially refined” in her but it “suited” him “down to the ground.” The irony of this situation was in the fact that he was ready to put up with it just because “there was no need to affect intellectual leanings in order to win her over, or to worry that she might be comparing” him “to the preening men who pose in fashion catalogues.” He decided to marry her just because he thought that the life with her would be comfortable and he was too lazy to try to gain affection of other women.
The middle course
Mr. Cheong has always inclined “towards the middle curse in life.” When he was at school, he “chose to boss around those who were two or three years” his junior, and with whom he “could act the ringleader.” He didn’t even try to take his chances with those his own age, and later he chose which college to apply to based on his chances “of obtaining a scholarship large enough” for his needs. The same why he chose his job and a wife. Ironically enough, “his carefully ordered existence” was nearly destroyed by his “completely ordinary wife.”
When Mr. Cheong found out that his girlfriend didn’t like wearing bras, he spent a lot of time “studying her attitude.” He wondered whether she was trying to send him a certain signal, to tell him something. The outcome of his studies was that “she wasn’t, in fact, trying to send any kind of signal.” The irony of it was the fact that people often try to find any hidden meaning in everything. The thought that she didn’t wear bra because she didn’t like it didn’t even cross his mind, for he was too selfish to think that it had nothing to do with him. People tend to over-analyze and often behave as if they are the center of the Universe.
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