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Heartbreaking Tale In Escape From Camp 14 By Blaine Hardyn And Imprisoned, Shin Dong Hyuk

1802 words - 8 pages

Blaine Harden, former national correspondent and writer for the New York Times, delivers an agonizing and heartbreaking story of one man’s extremely conflicted life in a labor camp and an endeavor of escaping this place he grew up in. This man’s name is Shin Dong-hyuk. Together, Blaine Harden and Shin Dong-hyuk tell us the story of this man’s imprisonment and escape into South Korea and eventually, the United States, from North Korea. This biography that takes place from 1982-2011, reports to its readers on what is really going on in “one of the world’s darkest nations” (back cover of the book), that is run under a communist state and totalitarian dictatorship that was lead by Kim Il-sung, ...view middle of the document...

Shin was extremely furious that his mother “would put his life at risk for the sake of his older brother.” (53), now some would say, why is he mad? Well the first rule of Camp 14 was, “’Any witness to an attempted escape who fails to report it will be shot immediately.” (198). So, Shin told a guard about his mother and his brothers' planned escape. Little did Shin know that the guard he confided in would take credit for this discovery and Shin would eventually be tortured by being shackled and hung over a pot of fire because of this event.
Shin eventually left the prison blindfolded along with his father. Both did not know where they were going and were worried about what was going to happen to them. The guards led them in front of a huge crowd and once the blindfolds were taken off they saw the place where executions took place publicly. Shin became increasingly nervous until he saw his mom and his brother step up, be hung, and then shot multiple times. Shin didn't feel guilty. Later on, after years of being tormented by other students and people, Shin worked in a textile factory. At the textile factory, Shin met a man named Park. Park was a man who was a political prisoner that had the chance to be outside of North Korea at one point in his lifetime. Park intrigued Shin about the wonders of China and how people are free to do what they want. So one day, they both planned to escape. In 2005, they had their chance to escape when they were working on the side of a mountain, next to an electric fence. Shin and Park both studied the intervals of where the soldiers had a space in between them, so when the perfect interval came, they would run to the electric fence. When they began to run, Shin tripped and fell which lead Park to go the electric fence first. When Park got to the fence, he was electrocuted and died. So, when Shin ran up after him, Park acted like a resistance to the electric fence which caused Shin only to be shocked and hurt a little by the fence while still being able to escape. After all of this, Shin journeyed through the rest of North Korea, trying to find food and warm clothes. He eventually got to South Korea and met a journalist who worked with him to make his story known. Shin then went to the United States and spread awareness about North Korea's camps.
All through Escape from Camp 14, any reader could see that in the camps, people have no capability of feeling. Shin had no feelings, no idea of what a family is, and never knew what love is. It is extremely impressive he was able to adapt well enough to his new life in South Korea and eventually, the United States. However, it took him some time. Many of Shin's friends said that, "There is - there will be, no quick, easy way for Shin to adapt to life outside the fence, whether in the United States or in South Korea" (180). One of Shins closest confidants also said, "He cannot enjoy his life when there are people suffering in the camps. He sees happiness as being selfish"...

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