Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003)

Brief Intro

“Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” is a 2003 South Korean film directed by Kim Ki-duk. This serene and meditative movie, set in a floating monastery in a pristine forest, explores the cyclical nature of life through the changing seasons, embodying a profound narrative about growth, spirituality, and redemption.

Literary Devices Used in Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring


Movie SceneDevice Example
Spring: The boy harming animalsRepresents the innocence and ignorance of youth
Winter: The man carrying a rock up the mountainSymbolizes the burden of past sins


Movie SceneDevice Example
The doorless monasteryRepresents the openness of the mind and soul
The seasonsSymbolize the phases of human life


Movie SceneDevice Example
The boy tying a rock to a fish, frog, and snakePredicts his future karmic retributions
The master’s warning about karmaHints at the protagonist’s future struggles


Movie SceneDevice Example
The wooden figures carved by the masterReflect the inner transformation of the characters
The changing seasonsRecurring element to signify life’s phases


Movie SceneDevice Example
The boy’s mischievous acts leading to his spiritual pathUnexpected path to enlightenment
The return of the man as a monkIronically fulfilling the master’s teachings despite his past


Movie SceneDevice Example
Buddhist symbols and teachingsDirect references to Buddhist philosophy
The landscape and settingAlludes to the spiritual isolation and purity of nature


Movie SceneDevice Example
The entire movieRepresents the journey of life and enlightenment
The cycles of seasonsSymbolizes the inevitable passage of time and life stages


Movie SceneDevice Example
Peaceful monastery vs. the protagonist’s turbulent emotionsHighlights inner conflict
Serenity of nature vs. the turmoil of human lifeEmphasizes the contrast between man and nature


Movie SceneDevice Example
The tranquil setting housing intense dramaReflects the paradox of human nature
The master’s calm demeanor amidst chaosShows the paradox of spiritual enlightenment


Movie SceneDevice Example
Visuals of the changing seasonsEvokes a sensory experience of time passing
Detailed portrayal of the monastery and natural surroundingsCreates vivid mental pictures

Character Analysis Through Literary Devices

Character Studies

Protagonist (Boy/Man/Monk)

SymbolismThe protagonist’s actions with animals in spring symbolize innocence and ignorance
MetaphorHis journey carrying a rock up the mountain in winter represents his burden of guilt and search for redemption


AllegoryThe master embodies wisdom and the path to enlightenment
ForeshadowingHis teachings predict the protagonist’s future struggles and growth

Character Dynamics

Protagonist and Master

IronyDespite the protagonist’s initial misdeeds, he eventually follows the master’s teachings
JuxtapositionThe master’s serene presence contrasts with the protagonist’s turbulent journey, highlighting the impact of wisdom on personal growth

Protagonist and Female Visitor

MotifThe relationship introduces the recurring theme of desire and its consequences
SymbolismTheir interactions symbolize the temptations and distractions in the path to enlightenment

Thematic Analysis

Life’s Cycles

SymbolismThe changing seasons represent the different stages of life
AllegoryThe movie itself is an allegory of life’s cyclical nature and the journey towards spiritual enlightenment

Karma and Redemption

ForeshadowingEarly actions and the master’s warnings foreshadow the protagonist’s future consequences and need for redemption
MetaphorThe protagonist’s arduous journey with the rock symbolizes his path to atone for past sins

Nature and Spirituality

ImageryThe serene natural setting enhances the spiritual atmosphere of the film
JuxtapositionThe calmness of the monastery juxtaposed with the protagonist’s internal conflict underscores the film’s spiritual themes

Cinematic Techniques That Enhance Literary Devices

Visual and Sound Techniques

Literary DeviceTechniqueExplanation
SymbolismCinematographyThe serene and cyclic visuals of nature symbolize life’s continuous flow
ImagerySound DesignNatural sounds (water, birds) enhance the vivid portrayal of the setting
ForeshadowingLightingThe use of shadows and light foreshadows the protagonist’s moral dilemmas

Key Scene Analysis

Spring: The Boy’s Pranks on Animals
YouTube Link: Spring Scene
This scene sets the foundation of the protagonist’s journey, introducing key themes like innocence and karmic retribution.

Summer: The Arrival of the Female Visitor
YouTube Link: Summer Scene
This pivotal scene explores desire and distraction, crucial to the protagonist’s development and the thematic depth of the narrative.

Winter: The Protagonist’s Return and Redemption
YouTube Link: Winter Scene
The climactic scene where the protagonist’s physical and spiritual struggles culminate, showcasing intense symbolism and metaphor.


Interactive Multiple Choice Quiz

  1. Which literary device is exemplified by the changing seasons in the film?
  2. What does the boy’s action of tying rocks to animals foreshadow?
    • A) His future profession
    • B) His karmic retribution
    • C) His relationship with the master
    • D) His enlightenment
  3. The master’s calm demeanor amidst the protagonist’s chaos is an example of:
  4. Which theme is highlighted by the serene natural setting of the film?
    • A) Urbanization
    • B) Spirituality
    • C) Modernization
    • D) Conflict
  5. The protagonist’s journey with a rock symbolizes:
    • A) His strength
    • B) His burden of guilt
    • C) His rebellion
    • D) His love for nature

Answers: 1-C, 2-B, 3-A, 4-B, 5-B