Camp 14 Dialectical Journal

622 Words3 Pages

For Shin, in the camp, the idea of family was nearly nonexistent. He wasn’t made because two people loved each other; his mother and father were just forced to marry. “Neither bride nor groom had much say in deciding whom they would marry. If one partner found his or her chosen mate to be unacceptably old, cruel, or ugly, guards would sometimes cancel a marriage. If they did, neither the man nor the woman would be allowed to marry again.” (page 17) Shin also didn’t really get along with his parents. In order to try and survive, he stole his mother’s food. “...Shin took as much food as he could from his mother as often as he could. It did not occur to him that if he ate her lunch, she would go hungry.” (page 16)

Education in the camp found …show more content…

Shin failed to do this because he is a very honest, but well-meaning, person. “‘You haven’t lived but a few years,” one of the guards told Shin. ‘Just confess and go out and live. Would you like to die in here?’ ‘I… really don’t know anything,’ he replied.” (page 58) One other way to survive is to not show any signs of rebellion or free speech. Expressing displeasure is especially prohibited. “‘Why’d you stop working and run away?’ the teacher asked when Ryu had been found and marched back to school. To Shin’s astonishment, Ryu did not apologize. ‘I got hungry, so I went to eat,’ he said flatly. …’Is this son of a b**** talking back?’ the teacher asked. …’Beat him until he comes to his senses.’...” (page 32)

The relationship between Shin and Uncle in jail is definitely more productive than any of Shin’s other relationships. This is because he actually took the time to talk to him about things. “[Uncle] was an entertaining talker, whose knowledge of North Korea thrilled Shin, especially when the subject was food.” (page 64) Shin’s parents didn’t care for him a whole lot. However, Uncle has done many favors for Shin. “[Uncle] turned mealtimes into thrice-daily medical treatments, using a wooden spoon as a squeegee on Shin’s infected blisters.” (page …show more content…

Shin was trying hard to be a nice person, but he cannot deal with the guilt of knowing that he did some horrible things back at Camp 14. “He told Kyung that he ‘disgusts’ himself, that he cannot escape dreams of his mother’s death, that he cannot forgive himself for leaving his father behind in the camp, and that he hates himself for crawling over Park’s body.” (page 182) He finds it impossible to let go of what he did in the past. Sometimes, he even feels like he is still in the camp. “When he struggled to fall asleep in the group house or when nightmares woke him up, he crawled out of his bunk and slept as he had in the camp- on a bare floor with a blanket.” (page

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