As is loving someone, grieving someone is a natural part of life. This is why literature is especially sensitive to the matter of grief. Works by young writers, including a short story titled the “God of Love” by Kim Hwa-jin, are no expection.
The narrator of the novel is a woman who does not accept the death of her younger sibling who drowned in the water in the valley. Even though a long time has passed since the sibling’s death, she still acts as if the sibling is still alive. She still yells at the sibling for being overconfident and trying to show off by jumping into the water during the rainy season as if it is her effort to reverse the death. The younger sibling is still alive in her heart.
Such a state of mind is expressed well in her reactions to an animated movie called “The Land Before Time.” The mother of young dinosaur Littlefoot fought with a meat-eating dinosaur and says to him as she dies, “I'll be with you. Even if you can't see me.” She will always be in Littlefoot’s heart. This is how we typically grieve others’ deaths. We are saddened by the death of a loved one and replace his or her absence with memories about them. This is the normal process of grief. To the narrator of Kim’s novel, however, being alive in such a way is not the same thing as actually being alive.
The narrator decided to depict her sibling in a cartoon differently from reality. In the cartoon, the sibling is easily scared, rather than reckless, which would prevent him from drowning. Her family members who became estranged from each other after the sibling’s death still get along well together. Her father who quickly gets violent is depicted as a frequent crier, and her mother who is lethargic, inattentive, and temperamental as somebody with tremendous physical power. Such escapism into imagination means the narrator’s failed grief in common sense. In an ironic sense, however, refusing to grieve is a way of grieving. The futile efforts to save a person’s decaying body are the essence of the truest grief. “This is the law, the law of mourning, and the law of the law, always in mourning, that it would have to fail in order to succeed,” said philosopher Jacques Derrida. However, as Sigmund Freud said, “Mourning as we know, however painful it may be, comes to an end.” At one point.