Soul appears as men & women to Bun. It would seem reason is feminine, at least insofar as reasoning is reasoning to the good. Bun’s wife is always concerned with what is good for him; she fears above all that he will get himself killed. Both murderers succeed only so far as the women standing for their reasoning rule them. Reason also includes the ability to plan & deceive. The young murderer’s girlfriend is the spitting image of this kind of reasoning; as is Bun’s wife.
This is practical reasoning. Bun’s unequalled excellence as detective, his dedication to his questions, suggests a theoretical reasoning. Certainly, Bun’s ignorance is caused by theory. He ignores his own body & survival – & people’s need to protect themselves by concealing themselves. He sees & says what people want to hide. His complete dedication to the public is what causes the police to exile him into private life.
Bun’s habit of talking to his imaginary wife in public makes people think him crazy. One wonders whether a man without secrets can be trusted… His self-mutilation convinces people – surely, a fearless man cannot be trusted. Bun is supposed to be medicated – science will make him moderate. Medicine uses reason to serve the body. Maybe Bun overreacted precisely because people put body above soul.
The body holds together with the opinion about the man, or his reputation. Bun has lost his good name in pursuit of knowledge of soul; the murderers defend their good names by their crimes. Bun’s wife exposes him to destroy his reputation for intelligence: He has stopped seeing his shrink & taking his medication. The soul cannot be separated from the body, she implies. But Bun proves that the public opinion about policemen cannot simply be taken for granted.
The women do not believe in justice. Their dedication to their own good convinces them that idealism is a delusion or a lie. The men are idealists: Reputation makes heroes of men, agents of a cause – justice. Maybe they love this policeman image & want to be loved in return. Neither Bun nor the murderers can abandon it. But Bun believes that love is earned, which implies it is given freely, whereas the murderers think it is taken by force & fraud.
Bun says he was miserable in exile, but is happy working with his young friend, whose character he does not judge before promising to do him good by doing justice. The image of heroism turns on one virtue: Courage. When Bun sees this policeman as a scared child, he knows he is doomed. He reacts fearfully himself, the only time. Bun’s own courage to ask questions may be what scares the boy.