The Rabbits’ Heroic Journeys
A Structuralist Approach to Kate DiCamillo’s novel The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
vis-a-vis the Korean Drama My Love from Another Star
by Jahzeel Dionne V. Ybasco
For months, people have raved about My Love from Another Star, its literally out of this world plot and its eye-candy characters. It is the first of its kind that an alien from KMT 184.05 has got stranded in Earth for 400 years and Do Min Joon, the alien, resembles a human being only with “far-superior-Asian-looks” (as admitted by the character itself in one of its twenty-one episodes). Sticking to the idea of an alien, Do Min Joon has supernatural powers including super-strength, sonic hearing, and x-ray vision. With all his godly powers, he cannot help but fall in love with Cheon Song Yi, a popular Korean actress turned damsel in distress as she has been falsely accused of being the reason why another actress committed suicide.
Since Do Min Joon has spent a good number of years on Earth, he has been able to take different jobs and earn himself a living, gaining assets at par with a ‘chaebol,’ the Korean word for someone extremely rich. He has even earned the countenance of such. At the time his story is being unfolded, his profession is a college lecturer. Being thus, he has to appear extremely knowledgeable. He, given the time he has, is able to read numerous books which he stores in his private library.
However, he has a particular fixation on one novel which he reads every night. Do Min Joon has the habit of quoting lines from the book from time to time, a subtle way of comparing himself to a character and the situation he is in. This novel turns out to be Kate DiCamillo’s novel, the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, published in 2009. Some may claim that the novel has received its much needed attention because of the drama. However in my humble opinion, the MJET has provided MLFAS its overall structure and made it into a more complex story than a boy-meets-girl love story.
The Miraculous Journey is about a porcelain rabbit named Edward Tulane which gets lost, stolen, broken, and remade to find the most important emotion in the world: love. He has been to different places: the sea, the desert, the dumpster, the cot, the streets. He practically has traveled far and wide without meaning to, as he is made of porcelain and though his bunny ears, arms and legs can be twisted to different directions to show his emotions, he can’t control them.
In terms of characterization, Edward and Do Min Joon share similarities. Edward, though a stuffed rabbit, looks magnificent and stands out because of its real rabbit ears, furs, and tail. Its core is porcelain. His owners like to dress him up. Do Min Joon also manages to dress well and stand out regardless of the time period he is in. Though the alien does not have a porcelain body, his demeanor acts as his shell. He is cold to everyone. Since the rabbit is not a real one, time does not have any meaning to it. The same thing with Do Min Joon since he’s an alien and his planet follows a different time pattern.
Their similarities do not end there. They also share an uncanny ability to take people and things for granted because they get tired of handling too much emotions like hope and despair, given the “time” they both have to spend on Earth. Do Min Joon receives a love confession from a girl but takes it for granted as he does not understand human emotion. Edward hears praises, admiration, and “I love you’s” from Abilene who has loved him first and eventually lost him. He regards the endearments only as a sign of his superiority, beauty, and uniqueness as a rabbit. However as any hero story goes, as their stories progress, these two characters have learned a vital lesson: how to love. Do Min Joon realizes how important spending the time, now matter how long or short, with someone he loves is when he is about to leave for KMT 184.05; Edward has finally admitted to loving somebody and “the china rabbit’s heart had begun, again, to open” when he, broken and mended, is about to lose hope in a Doll Shop.
Both characters’ stories have ended quite happily. Do Min Joon is able to return to his planet and finds a way to return to Earth any time he wants. Still, his relationship with Cheon Song Yi faces challenges due to different timezones. At the end of the rabbit’s journey, Edward, who has been desolated, is found and owned by a girl who turns out to be the daughter of Abilene. He has to witness Abilene growing old and forgetting all about him but he can now love with all his heart and appreciate his time with Maggie, Abilene’s daughter. Both characters have found their ways home.
To say that The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane has become popular because of My Love from Another Star is downright demeaning particularly from those who haven’t read the novel. The resemblance of the drama to the book may have been sugarcoated by the characters, the overly dramatic scenes and lines, and other Korean drama stereotypes. Still, the book has provided a good structure for one of the most popular Korean dramas ever made. However, I cannot deny and huge number of people will agree with me, Do Min Joon and Cheon Song Yi are worthy eye-candies, taking the alien concept to a different level. Perhaps people aren’t ready to accept a love story between a rabbit and a human yet. At least, not yet.