Rev Dr Hye Kyung Heo
August 31, 2017

In Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, the main character, Mary, struggles to understand her Korean immigrant parents, and finally comes to appreciate the very things that she once renounced and felt disconnected from as a child. I felt empathy for Joon-Ho’s tragic incident of plagiarism which caused him to be expelled from the university because I have witnessed several Korean students fall into the same kind of trouble. That may be the reason why I wished Mary’s empathetic defence for Joon-Ho was persuasive enough to save him, but in reality I knew that would not be enough. Joon-Hoo is the victim of a social class which holds a distorted value system that views “success” only based upon prosperity and fame.

Mary’s encounters with people in the store from different backgrounds help her to see beauty in each individual. Her mother’s friendship with a local homeless man, allows her to see the importance of compassion and acceptance. People of diverse backgrounds, in other words, can come together to coexist in a community. The climax of the story is when Mary finds that she desires to know about her mother. She also discovers just how much she and her mother had in common, along with her grandmother who passed away. The three generation of women, for example, all enjoy writing and have a natural talent for it.

Josh, Mary’s younger brother, helps her realize that it is their mother’s dream for the betterment of her children that enabled her to leave her home country and work as hard as she did in their store. Interestingly, after the graduation ceremony Mary insists she and her father have to hurry back to the store to give Josh a break. She is no longer ashamed of her heritage or identity as a Korean-Canadian woman. The day of her graduation is certainly the day of emancipation for Mary. She is a free woman, no longer bound by her past or guilt. She no longer needs to take refuge in Will, the imaginary personification of her ideal man. She no longer lets herself be victimized by her pains and scars from the past. Rather, Mary chooses the route to pursue her dream to be a writer. She courageously steps into the future and cherishes people and their life stories. She is born again as a new, mature woman who shamelessly writes and shares her stories with others in the form of poetry, short stories, and eventually novels.