Hi there @triplem
Just temporarily delurking and tagging you because you mentioned on another thread that you had questions about this kdrama. Now, I’m going out on a limb here but did your questions concern the ghostwriter Jin-Oh’s scenes with the Se-Ju’s agent Gal Ji-Seok and Se-Ju’s mentor/surrogate father? Like, how are these two men able to see Jin-Oh if JO is only a ghost? Do these men have special powers, too?
If you rewatch those scenes again, I think you’ll notice that Gal Ji-Seok never actually acknowledges JO’s presence. It’s a nice camera trick, though. When Ji-Seok walks out of the mansion, JO approaches him as if he’s been waiting for him to come out of the mansion. Then they both casually walk together. Gal Ji-Seok is expressing relief for evading SJ’s wrath, and JO interjects comments as if he’s part of Gal Ji-Seok’s conversation. In reality, Gal Ji-Seok is only muttering to himself. He doesn’t spare JO a glance the whole time.
Same thing with the surrogate father, Baek Do-Ha. What he sees under the table isn’t JO, but the manuscript “Fate” which JO is sitting on. Baek Do-Ha is upset when he saw the manuscript. Why? Because it’s evidence incriminating his son, and he thinks Se-Ju should have known better and should have disposed of it to prevent embarrassment and damage to his son’s and family’s reputation.
But in regards to who this Ghostwriter Jin-Oh actually is, I don’t know yet.
He IS definitely a real phenomenon, and not something that Se-Ju is seeing simply because he’s having a nervous breakdown. The Chicago café owner didn’t imagine his encounter with the night-poltergeist.
But right now, FOR ME, it’s possible that the:
1. Ghostwriter is a separate entity, an actual ghost of a friend of Se-Ju in the 1930s. Or,
2. The Ghostwriter is his ALTEREGO. You see, Se-Ju has suppressed a lot of emotions to become the successful writer that he is now. And it’s possible that seeing that old typewriter again, his “old friend,” has reminded him – or TRIGGERED since we’re talking of Chicago Typewriter and machine guns – him of what it is to be a real writer again creating stories with his very own SOUL. The Ghostwriter JO is Se-Ju’s spiritual or ghostly manifestation of his attempt to break-away from the expectations of being famous writer and to find his "real self" again. This explains why the Ghostwriter tells Se-Ju that he’s only typing words that Se-Ju has written himself. And that the Ghostwriter doesn’t know the ending.
Also, both "theories" (Ghostwriter is a separate being vs Ghostwriter is alterego) can explain Jeon Seol’s double vision in Episode 2. Remember: in Episode 2, when Jeon Seol is pointing the gun at the stalker and having a flashback, she can’t tell who she’s pointing the gun at.
She’s seeing double: she’s seeing the images of Ghostwriter JO and 1930’s Se-Ju from behind. Her vision can either mean: that her recollection of the past is hazy (and she can’t remember who she’s trying to kill as the traitor/Japanese collaborator) OR that, in her subconscious, she’s PERCEIVED the Ghostwriter Jin-Oh and the 1930’s Se-Ju to be one and the same person.
Anyway, it’s too early FOR ME to pick sides and settle with one theory. But I’m simply tossing both ideas out here to make you, @bebe1989 and others who are open to different interpretation of the same scenes.
Another thing: Time pieces. Notice the clocks hanging in the café and Salvador Dali’s melting clock in the foreground in Episode 1 during the book-signing event in Episode 1? I think the clocks as prop are deliberate, especially the melting clock. That melting clock is from Dali’s famous surrealist painting called “Persistence of Memory”. I only saw it once in New York, decades ago, so the details of the painting are fuzzy now. But I remember admiring Dali’s sense of humor. He said that the inspiration for the clock (or let’s say, his “muse”) was Camembert cheese melting in the hot sun.
And I also remember thinking what a brilliant way of proving a point: TIME is literally…errr, visually, MELTING AWAY. You see, for me, the central message of that painting was that our interpretation of daily events can be confused or distorted or colored by our memories of the past. That is, the “persistence of memories” intrude in the present time, making it harder for people to discern, grasp or understand reality for what it truly is.
And I think this is one of the major themes of the show Chicago Typewriter: memory.
We see that Seo-Ju’s having a difficult time differentiating reality from the past. He doesn’t know if he has dreamed of it before, or has read of it before, or has lived through it before. For him, an action that is happening in REAL-TIME becomes mixed-up -- or fused -- with an identical and corresponding action that occurred in past. Like the ghostwriter JO, his memories persist in haunting him.
So it’s going to be interesting how he deals with recovering his past, suppressed memories.
@bebe1989 and @CatchMine_ID:
I can't write long now (hahaha) because of -- what else? -- work. I'm only posting this now and will edit/revise/clarify later. So hang in there.
When I brought up the definition of Chicago Typewriter, I had only seen the title and haven’t watched a single episode of the kdrama. I didn’t know that the writer and I were on the same wavelengths, and that we both understood the historical context of a manual typewriter from Chicago.
So here’s another factoid (three, to be precise). Since I’ve watched all six episodes, I know these haven’t been mentioned in the story, and I won’t be repeating anything, like a nag.
The portraits on the wall – from left to right:
James Joyce, Irish writer. Famous for the novel, Ulysses. Known for the “stream of consciousness” style of writing. Meaning, the written words try to mirror the character’s FLOW of thoughts. A paragraph can run on and on, without breaks in the sentences or periods, and the topic jumps from one thing to another, which is confusing for readers – just like our active minds have no order.
The three portraits on the other wall are portraits of American writers. BTW, all four writers were known alcoholics. They battled their alcohol addiction just as they battled with the written words: daily.
Ernest Hemingway. Famous for the novels, "Old Man and the Sea," "Farewell to Arms," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Known for his journalistic way of writing. Meaning, the “who, what, when, where and why” are delivered in succinct and staccato style.
F. Scott Fitzgerald. Known for The Great Gatsby, considered the greatest American novel in the literary world because of the way it depicted American decadence vs American idealism. His wife, and love of life, Zelda, had schizophrenia and he took care of her. I thought it was interesting that, from a bystander’s point of view, Se-Ju appeared like he was suffering from a split personality, too.
Eugene O’Neill. He was a playwright who won many accolades: Pulitzer and Nobel prizes. The literary world considers him to be the American equivalent of Shakespeare. But to be brutally honest, I think his plays are overrated.
Anyway, Eugene O’Neill is known to “haunt” the hotel where he died. The hotel is now a residence hall in Boston University…lol.
Which brings me to a minor thing -- the ghostwriter’s name:
In O’Neill’s most famous play, Long Day’s Journey into the Night, the female protagonist was told to forget the past, and she replied with deathlike calm. “Why? How can I? The past is the present, isn't it? It's the future, too. We all try to lie out of that but life won't let us.” This is a famous quote, and in a sense, I think it’s fitting that the Ghostwriter’s name is a play on Eugene O’Neill’s name.
Because you see, Se-Ju is himself fighting the ghosts of his past – not just the 1930s/Japanese-imperial-era/reincarnated spirit-world past – but his past troubled life as an abandoned child and youth. He’s battling these specters (or “issues” as people say nowadays) because he’s been living a life of lies. His PERSONAL past IS very much connected to his present, and it will be in the future, too.
On the surface, he seemed to have everything made: He’s rich. He’s disciplined. He churns out stories with precision. He doesn’t have writer’s block or writer’s weakness for addiction like booze and cigarettes. He takes good care of his body and image. He has a huge following. He’s got solid contracts, thanks to his agent. And his life is well-oiled machine, thanks to his secretary. He’s a famous, world-renowned writer, comparable to Stephen King.
But he’s been living a lie. I think, even from the beginning of the drama, this “delusion” of his greatness was foreshadowed. That impressive fight scene at the beginning of Episode 1??
To me, that whole scene is a figment of HIS imagination. It didn't happen. Lol.
I don’t think Se-Ju’s such a great fighter himself. Several incidents belie that. For instance, when he and Jeon Seol are chasing the dog. lol. His running form is klutzy, and he appears out of breath. Then, when he’s attacked by the stalker. It’s Jeon Seol who finds the gun in the dark, like a ninja. And he’s seems to be cowering in the dark. He doesn’t even have the wits about him to call the police; Jeon Seol has to remind him. Also, when he’s stressed out, he faints. Like, when he imagines that Jeon Seol hitting him with the shovel, and when realizes that he’s been conversing with a real ghost. He’s hardly a brave, quick-thinking street fighter that we see at the beginning of the Episode 1.
Furthermore, his success as a writer is a lie. Despite his fame and fortune, he really hasn’t written THE greatest story of his life. His all-moving, all-powerful, chef-d'oeuvre is yet to be written.
Jeon Seol’s friend, Bang-Jin, hints at this. In Episode 1, she scoffs at Se-Ju’s books, and I think it's because as a writer herself, she understands that Se-Ju's books are a “sold out” (meaning they’re guaranteed blockbusters) AND a “sellout” (meaning, they’re sold because of popularity, not because of its literary value. The writer has betrayed the craft). Of course, Jeon Seol defends her writer-idol and refuses to listen to Bang-Jin’s honest appraisal. But Bang-Jin’s is right. So far, Se-Ju’s been re-living his old 1930s self and writing stories to seduce women and to gain fortune.
Also, did you notice that Se-Ju hasn’t come up with any ORIGINAL thoughts on writing yet? He’s been quoting from other famous writers, like Chateaubriand, Steven King, Louis L’Amour, Hemingway… because he hasn’t come up with his OWN insight on writing. Up until now, he’s been writing pulp fiction. And when Jeon Seol asked him what kind of writer he wanted to be, his answer was so banal. He said, while looking at his REFLECTION in the mirror: to write well (or something just as shallow). In other words, no… I mean, in his OWN WORDS, he has no idea what he truly wants. Lol. He has to quote and borrow somebody else’s words to sound profound.
Which brings me to this:
Why did I bother mention all the writers on the wall? Lol. (Honest: I’m not trying to be a twit, or an insufferable bore.) Those men are Se-Ju’s “idols”. He looks up to them, he wants to be like them, he seeks to emulate them.
But he’s sooo different from them. Those four men lived tortured lives. They had enormous inner conflicts, troubled memories, and personal specters. And the reason these writers became famous writers is because they wrote what they had personally wrestled with every single day. They were authentic.
In contrast, Se-ju writes to ESCAPE his unresolved issues, secret demons, and his dysfunctional family. He avoids struggling with his writing.
One, he does “research” because he himself hasn’t personally LIVED through the stories he narrates. Two, he can “reward” himself with gorgeous pastry, fine coffee and a cinnamon stick after each deadline met, because for him, meeting that deadline is simply another mission accomplished. Three, he doesn't break a “sweat” while writing his fiction; there's no "blood equity." Four, remember his confrontation with his stalker? The heinousness of mass murder -- and that his stalker was influenced by his writing -- so shocked him as if the concept of evil is so alien for a crime-fiction writer....
And last but not the least, there isn’t any angst involved in his writing because his emotions aren’t involved.
Remember what he said during the fight scene? He said he has to protect his notes, his hands, and, most importantly he says, his head, because these are important to his livelihood.
But I personally think he’s forgotten the most essential of all, for any writer: the soul.
He’s missing his soul. And the Ghostwriter, whether by accident or be design, is there to give it back to him.
In the 1930s past, the Chicago Typewriter is the gift that starts Se-Ju off to becoming a great writer. He has this “flashback” in Episode 6 of the true significance of the Chicago Typewriter to him. But I want to call it his “flash of inspiration.” Every time, he gets a flashback, he also acquires an inspiration to his story. So, let’s see if his discovery that the Chicago Typewriter is gift will inspire him to find what he’s been missing for a long time now: his soul... A soul which hasn’t been used for quite some time.
And didn’t you notice? In Episode 2, the shaman mother of Bang-Jin asks Jeon Seol if she delivered an urn. Jeon Seol didn’t deliver an urn, she delivered a typewriter.
For all intents and purposes, the typewriter did indeed contain a dead soul. Whose soul is it? To me, whether it belongs to this actual Ghostwriter named "Yoo Jin-Oh" (lol. The name he gives to Bang-Jin is "yoo" or YOU in English, which I thought was clever, because he can be the Writing Spirit that SHE prayed for.) or to Se-Ju himself (because he's in need of his alterego) remains to be seen for now.
Off to a meeting now. Will edit and revise later.
Have a good weekend, y'all.
Tagging some people: @Berou (this is what I was obsessing about in that other thread...) @MadraRua hello.
@staygold liked your Liar and Lover post. Will comment this weekend.
@phikyl @fikachuuu @nonski (yes, will look at that kdrama, too. Thanks for the tag. Will see if I can watch before my flight. Although I so detest having to cover my ipad from nosy people trying to look over my shoulders to sneak a look at what I'm doing.... What I watch or read or write is absolutely none of their business.... lol) @hushhh @lynne22 @onlysb1 @romanov (I'm here, and at Liar and His Lover) @nearsea (for when she returns )