Thursday, March 10, 2011

Secret Garden and Alice in Wonderland Similarities

OK. This was something I wrote in the height of my passion about Secret Garden, the Korean drama that starred Hyun Bin and Ha Ji won.

This post is gonna talk about the similarities between Secret Garden(SG) and Alice in Wonderland(AIW)’s characters.
RI= Gil Ra Im
JW=Kim Joo Won

JW is of course, Alice, the titular character in AIW. Alice, is a seven year-old girl who has to grow up but refuses to. So one day in the garden she sees a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat and having a pocket watch and thus follows it into Underland. So she has an identity crisis. JW has it too because of his amnesia and phobia. JW has this irrational fear of the elevator and enclosed spaces, and it weakened him. He is also incomplete because he has a part of his life (13 years of memories) missing from him and he doesn’t even know it. But at the recess of his mind, he knows he’s missing some clues and pieces of himself but he couldn’t pin or explain it. Thus he becomes confused and unsure of himself and very childish. He knows that he cannot rely on his physical strength thus he makes himself capable intellectually. He’s very good with words and logic and verbal attack. He hurts people with his words (just like kids do).


The biggest clue of JW=Alice in the drama (besides JW admitting that he has AIW Syndrome lol) is that he wears a blue tracksuit. Alice, in all her sketches, is traditionally in blue pinafore. Alice is also portrayed in yellow pinafore, and JW’s second tracksuit’s colour is yellow too! (leopard-print tracksuit really)

But why the hell is the tracksuit SPARKLING? Which normal, sensible adult would wear such deliberate showing off suit? He's not! At least not normal nor sensible nor an adult mentally! The reason is JW wants people to recognize his status, his worth because that's how the world functions. It’s a call for help, actually. He’s saying ‘look at me, look at me but don’t look at me’. Look and marvel at my status, my wealth but NOT ME PERSONALLY.

I believe RI is The Cheshire Cat (TCC) and I also believe she is The White Rabbit (TWR). In the beginning, she is TWR, as JW was so curious to see that there actually exists a girl like her, that he feels compelled to help her, no different than TWR to Alice, who follows it because she's curious of The Rabbit who wears a waistcoat and carries a watch, exclaiming 'he's late'. Later on, RI becomes TCC, because she guides JW in 'Wonderland'. Remember in the earlier episodes JW said that he keeps seeing RI? And that in his imagination, RI actually smiles even though he has never seen the real person smile yet. RI’s smiling is akin to The Cheshire Cat who is known for his grinnings, that even Alice remarks that TCC grins and when it disappears, it leaves only its grin.
If I could assign Ra Im 's dad in the world of Wonderland, he would be The Caterpillar. The caterpillar who always asks Alice 'who are you?' In AIW, The Caterpillar(TC) is hinted to turn into a butterfly, and this similarity with RI's dad are the flowers around him in the mysterious garden. Oh, and TC always smokes when Alice sees him, it's like a nod to RI's dad's job, that deals with smoke and fire.

JW who always unsure of himself. He hides behind his logic so that there is a foundation, an anchor, in a vast sea of confusion for him to hold on too. Alice in Wonderland is a journey that Alice goes through in order to become an adult. JW/Alice is lost in Wonderland/love, and navigates through it with the help of The Cheshire Cat/RI. JW/Alice faces many obstacles, especially from his mother/The Queen of Hearts. He faces these obstacles so that he could remember and become the adult that he is. He no longer hides behind reasons and logic,  because to fall in love is in itself illogical, and he bravely defies his mother's interference, not unlike Alice's defiance towards the Queen of Hearts when The Queen declares "off with her head" Alice just outrules it and ignores the order. In the end, Alice knows and understands herself and does not take what other people say blindly.

Yes, therefore JW’s mother is The Queen of Hearts because TQOH represents blind fury. Sounds familiar? JW’s mother refuses to acknowledge JW-RI’s marriage till the end of the drama. Sad as it maybe, the writer stays true to AIW’s characterization. The Red Queen? She represents The Governess and in SG, she is none other than JW’s grandfather's new wife or JW’S new grandmother. Notice that she wears red on the last episode, when JW and RI go to see JW’s grandfather to tell him of their marriage. JW’S new grandmother acts perfectly regal and majestic and tells the couple to persevere since they have committed themselves to this. Sounds like what a governess would tell ya, rite?

The White Queen is Ah Yong as TWQ is often absent-minded but could tell things that will happen in the future as we have seen AY did. Isn't it curious that AY is some kind a seer but she can't foretell her own future?

Oska is The Mad Hatter cuz both TMH and Oska are singers and TMH was punished by Time (for killing Time) to always live in 6 o'clock (Thus he always is having a tea party, and Oska, well he can't forget his first love). Remember when he tells RI that as years passes by, he feels that he hasn't aged at all. That's Oska-The Mad Hatter for you. Seul would then be the March Hare cuz she is also trapped in the past, with Oska. Tae Ssun would be the Dormouse, trapped and used by both Seul and Oska.

LOL JW's sis disappears and her character is not developed because JW is Alice. In AIW, Alice has a sister, Margaret but we don't know much about her except she wakes her up for tea at the end of the book.

LOL another thing-why 3 kids/ why 3 is the number? Alice has a cat named Dinah, and Dinah has 2 kittens. So in all Alice has 3 cats=JW has 3 children.LOL This is pretty evident in eps 20, the cat plushies are white and black, just like Alice's cat colors.



  1. waa , i love secret garden so much , i have see that film 5times . :D :D
    and thangs for making this article :)

  2. so nice to read this! thx for such a relevance. never imagine that a classical can be develop to a very modernized and interesting storyline.
    thx again :)

  3. I was rummaging around the Web looking for comparisons to the Secret Garden novel when I happened onto your analysis. Reads well, will need to think about it. In the meantime, thanks.

  4. Please let me know if you have any thoughts along those lines.


we're all calm, rational people rite?