The book Escape from Camp 14 written by Blaine Harden is based on the life of a North Korean refugee Shin Dong-hyuk who escaped from an internment camp. This literary work gives readers in-depth insights into the experiences of a person who grew up in a totalitarian state.
In particular, it shows the repressive government can alienate parents and children from one another or even turn them into enemies. It is probably the only way in which such governments can control people. This is the main tragedy of Shin and many other people who grew up in such internment camps.
One of the most important details is that the rulers of the prison camp deliberately made people hostile to one another. For instance, Shin perceived his mother only as the rival for food. Moreover, he had very virtually no opportunity to see his father. This policy is aimed at alienating relatives from one another.
Apart from that, one should remember that children, who grew up in the internment camp, were taught to inform on their parents. This requirement was a part of their education. The top priority for such individuals should be the interests of the state, rather than the welfare of their beloved ones. In turn, Shin told the guards that his mother had intended to escape the prison.
Moreover, it did not occur to him this action would be the cause of his bitter remorse in the future. This is one of the main details that should be considered. It should be kept in mind that Shin’s mother was executed, and to some degree, her death was the direct result of Shin’s beliefs and moral principles. This is the main tragedy of the main character who still struggles to overcome the emotional traumas inflicted on him during childhood.
Overall, this book is important for understanding the nature of totalitarian state that want to dehumanize people by destroying the very notion of a family. They attempt to break these bonds in order to undermine people’s trust in one another. Shin can be regarded as the victim of this system. Since childhood, he was deprived of his parents. Moreover, he was forced to believe that they had been his enemies. This experience can devastate the inner world of a person.