Will and Mi-Su are two main characters in Smiles To Go. They are different in many ways, but yet they are two very intimate friends. Throughout the entire story they helped and influenced each other, and their differences shaped the entire story.
The first contrast between the two characters is most vital to Smiles To Go, for it reveals to the readers the main theme of the story and made the plot dramatic. The difference that I’m indicating is that Will lives in the future, Mi-Su totally lives in the now. In PD16, the chapter that features Will going to church at Sunday morning reveal to us Will’s first meditation for his future (page 39 “I begun writing down my famous twelve-step plan”) and his future’s future, his life as an angle in heaven (page 40 “If Heaven and angles exist in a timeless medium we call Forever... Then guess what... There will be no end off me!”). And from then on, his infinite thoughts and concerns for the future snowballed. On the other hand, Mi-Su is the exact opposite. She dedicate herself in musicals, in being popular, in meeting more friends and in making every day count, and by doing these she became successful and gained enormous amount of self-confidence (page 141 “She threw herself into it and smiled her killer smile and acted like she was facing a thousand people in Broadway.”). And the next sentence on the page is the one that shows us the contrast between the two main character at this stage of the story (page 141 “Before I sunk out, for a minute, I pretended that she was performing just for me.”). The kept-living-in-the-future Will suffered worse than the making-every-day-count Mi-Su. It is because what Will didn’t realize is that the future is unpredictable, therefor impossible to plan. Will squanders all his time on planning his future he doesn’t even have the time to be organized for the now.
The second difference is very important too, because it made the ending of the story, Will is much less observant in the matter of love than Mi-Su. This lack of understanding of love created the misunderstanding between him and his sister Tabby which consequently created the incident on dead man’s hill. Mi-Su played a part in letting Will realize what Tabby is trying to do is just to gain the attention and love of her brother (page 211 “You’re so... It’s not about chess or ice cream or skateboards or BT or anything else. It’s about you. You and her. She loves you. That’s all it’s about. She loves you, you stupide... Idiot... brother.”). Here, the difference between the two characters is positive. This is positive difference that Mi-Su uses to influence Will. This difference is what friendship is all about.
So, the two differences are extremely important to the story for it has created the dramatic plot of the story, shaped the two main characters’ characteristics, one main theme (live in the now not the future) and an underlying theme(the value of friendship).