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Almond: The emotional story of the unemotional Yunjae

Almond: The emotional story of the unemotional Yunjae

The novel Almond follows the emotional story of the unemotional Yunjae by Sohn Won-pyung. Here we get to see how each, and everyone’s reality differs even when all of us take up the same space.

Almond: the emotional story of the unemotional Yunjae

Yunjae has a brain condition called Alexithymia that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends—the two almond-shaped neurons in his brain have seen to that—but his devoted mother and grandmother provide him with a safe and content life. Their little home above his mother’s used bookstore is decorated with colorful post-it notes that remind him when to smile, when to say, “thank you,” and when to laugh.

Then on Christmas Eve—Yunjae’s sixteenth birthday—everything changes. A shocking act of random violence shatters his world, leaving him alone and on his own. Struggling to cope with his loss, Yunjae retreats into silent isolation, until troubled teenager Gon arrives at his school, and they develop a surprising bond.

As Yunjae begins to open his life to new people—including a girl at school—something slowly changes inside him. And when Gon suddenly finds his life at risk, Yunjae will have the chance to step outside of every comfort zone he has created to perhaps become the hero he never thought he would be.

Lessons from Yunjae

Being different can be difficult especially in a society where uniformity is given importance and even high recognition. A person’s uniqueness serves as their weakness and often made to think that the world is their enemy.

This leads to isolation which often also lead to more problems for the person alienated. Which is why, almond became quite famous due to the different tone the protagonist set in the story.

When reading this story, I often felt annoyed because of how oblivious Yunjae seem and often forgetting his disability. But as the story progress we see how his condition also brought a sort of innocence to him.

He doesn’t understand other people’s emotion and feelings which leads to misunderstanding and challenges to him. That doesn’t feel as different as to how I often feel towards other people, friends, and family.

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Navigating life while being different

Life in general is very difficult, imagine having to live through it being different. That’s a whole other ball game. Yunjae represents so many different individuals having to live through a certain disability or disadvantage in life.

He eventually figured out how to live his life through the help of all his loved ones beside him. But I can’t help how difficult having to live differently from the norm all alone.

That’s why we all should continue to practice being nice to each other because we never know what the other person may be going through. Respect everyone no matter who they are.

Simply existing should be enough of a reason for anyone to respect you.

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