Three-year-old Jie-won learns what money means to a poor family. He remembers Independence Day for the nineteen jeons taken off Suk-hwan’s carom board. Never, in his life, does he forget to earn and save.
Ten-year-old Jie-won sees how one night changes the life of his family. A sudden strike of mental illness not only shatters Ji-woo’s life, but also everyone else’s. Each one needs to sacrifice some facilities or other, to leave some money to treat and cure her.
Thirteen-year-old Jie-won sees how helpless Min-seo is when she fails the school final exams. Mainly because she is a female offspring of the family, marriage can make or break her hopes of living and school final scores count in her marriage prospects.
The only boundary he can recognise is the boundary between the entire world and his own family—Papa, Mamma and his siblings. He isn’t prepared to share with the world any secret of his little world: the stories of nineteen jeons, Ji-woo’s disease and Min-seo’s helplessness. Jie-won’s world is his family, a small boat that must survive the threats of the mighty ocean—the world.
He always remembers what Papa said: good education leads to a good career, good money, good marriage and a satisfying life. Papa was never a rich man, but Jie-won is indebted to him for the inheritance of Papa’s intellect and urge to learn in the face of threats from physically strong and affluent neighbours in his world.
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