Ehwa grows into a confident, strong-willed young woman as her mother passes into a new stage in her own life.
I recommend reading all three volumes of this quietly beautiful series to appreciate the author's nostalgic, lyrical depiction of childhood's transformation into adulthood. His imagined rural Korea may be a bit rosier than the real thing, but he doesn't shy away from some of the hardships of the time. Characters like Ehwa's mother, an ill-fated retainer, and Ehwa's childhood friends all show how class and gender and marital status all had an effect on a person's daily struggles and future prospects. Ehwa's growing understanding of her mother's and others' positions helps her to better understand her own and make sound judgments as she moves forward.