Escape from Camp 14 Chapters 4-6 Summary & Analysis

Blaine Harden

Escape from Camp 14

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Escape from Camp 14 Chapters 4-6 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 4 Summary

Shin was preparing for school one day when he was summoned by his teacher. Some uniformed men subsequently took him to an office in an underground prison, where he was interrogated by a military officer, much to his confusion. When the officer stated that Shin’s mother and brother had been caught trying to escape, Shin insisted that he knew nothing of their plans.

This was the story that Shin told when he arrived in South Korea and was interviewed by the government’s National Intelligence Service, along with psychiatrists, human rights activists, other defectors, and national and international news media. There was no one around to support or refute his story, and the North Korean government denied the camps’ existence. However, while being interviewed for this book, Shin revealed that he had lied about his brother’s attempted escape. Lying was natural to him while he was in the camp, but he had since realized the value afforded to honesty in the outside world. He also came to feel guilty about his actions, but as he has tried to explain, the camp had its own rules and values that shaped—or warped—his character.

Chapter 5 Summary

The day before his interrogation, Shin had been told that he did not have to spend the night in the dormitory but could go home and join his mother for supper. The teacher was rewarding him for good behavior, as, by this point, Shin had become tougher, less of an idler, and a frequent informer. When he arrived home, Shin was surprised to see his brother, whom he assumed must have done something good to have been granted this privilege.

After supper, Shin went to sleep in the bedroom; however, he was woken by the sound of his mother and brother talking in the kitchen. He peered through the door and was annoyed to see that his mother was cooking rice whereas she had only given him watery corn soup for supper. In North Korean culture, rice is highly important—it signifies wealth and the closeness of family, and it sanctified a proper meal. Rice was rarely eaten in…

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