Think about the time you received a gift. When people receive something they want or feel comforted by, they say it's a "gift." Gifts can carry various meanings depending on the person and the situation. Despite the purpose of a gift, material or immaterial, it provides the value of "happiness." Then, let's take a look at the meaning of gifts in these two works.
"One small step at a time. It may seem like we're just spinning in a single place, but we're growing up."
<Donguri Sisters (2014)>
The names of the main characters, Donko and Guriko, come from "Donguri," the Japanese word for "acorn." Called the "Donguri Sisters," they were raised by their affectionate and humorous parents and lived in harmony. The older sister, Donko, describes Guriko as a gift from her parents, and the sisters rely on each other. However, one day, after losing their parents in a car accident, the sisters were passed between various relatives' homes and ended up living with their grandfather. Their disabled grandfather, who loves them as much as their parents did, shows sincere affection to them after their tragic loss, and the sisters are motivated by the rewarding experience of taking care of him. Determined to help more people and find meaning in their lives, the sisters start a website called "Donguri Sisters," where they receive and respond to anonymous people's stories about their troubles. In running this website, can Donko and Guriko give someone the gift of comfort?
In this book, the keyword that strongly influences the characters is "affection." The emotional gift of unconditional love from their parents and grandfather helps the sisters to support each other. Furthermore, their actions of giving and receiving affection, which were previously limited to themselves, spreads out to anonymous strangers through the website. Donko and Guriko's answers to the stories they hear are a comfort to the anonymous people. In this sense, it can be a gift to them, as they receive positive influences. Also, the action of writing answers works as a gift to the sisters as they can learn about diverse ways of living life through various stories. While the story doesn't immediately attract the reader with elements such as a major conflict between the characters, the warmth of the sisters' stories seeps in and out of the story, creating a soft but powerful impact.
"I wouldn't give up my family for all the chocolate in the world."
- Charlie Bucket
<Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)>
The Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory is well known for having the world's best quality chocolate. It produces a lot of chocolate every day and transports it to countries around the world, but it is a secret space in which no one has ever seen anyone come in and out. Wonka, the owner of the factory, is a mysterious figure who is never seen outside of the factory. Meanwhile, Charlie, who lives in a very old cottage right next to the chocolate factory with his family, falls asleep every night imagining what it would look like inside. One day, Wonka declares that he will invite five children who find the lucky "golden tickets" hidden in five Wonka chocolate bars to enter the factory and observe the secrets of the chocolate production process. Children around the world try to find the golden tickets. Charlie also wants to find a ticket; however, he has a very slim chance of winning because he is so poor that he is only allowed to eat one Wonka bar on his birthday. Will Charlie be given the golden ticket as a gift and see his dream to enter the chocolate factory come true?
The movie's main theme, golden tickets, presents young children's desire for chocolate and the opportunity to observe the inside of the factory. The joy on children's faces when they finally get their hands on their golden tickets reminds us of our childhood when we got what we longed for as a present. At the same time as the desire for the ticket, there's a sense of innocence as we watch Charlie wait to receive a small piece of Wonka chocolate as a present every year on his birthday. Meanwhile, the movie depicts the process of chocolate making in the factory and the colorful dessert in a vivid way. The mystical feeling of the factory also draws the audience's interest. The movie's stunning visuals, which bring these things to life are the reason why this movie is still talked about even though it's been around for almost 20 years. This movie captures the innocence of children in a fun way and is a feast for the eyes.
Jo Yoo Suyeon / Reporter
Kim Park Yeonhoo / Reporter