Escape from Camp 14 Important Quotes

Blaine Harden

Escape from Camp 14

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Escape from Camp 14 Important Quotes

1. “Stunted by malnutrition, he is short and slight – five feet six inches and about one hundred and twenty pounds. His arms are bowed from childhood labour. His lower back and buttocks are scarred with burns from the torturer’s fire. The skin over his pubis bears a puncture scar from the hook used to hold him in place over the fire. His ankles are scarred by shackles, from which he was hung upside down in solitary confinement. His right middle finger is cut off at the first knuckle, a guard’s punishment for dropping a sewing machine in a camp garment factory. His shins, from ankle to knee on both legs, are mutilated and scarred by burns from the electrified barbed-wire fence that failed to keep him inside Camp 14.” (Introduction, p. 2)

This passage describes the physical scars that Shin has incurred during his time in the camp. His slight appearance attests to malnourishment, which, in turn, explains his preoccupation—and fascination—with food. His body also reveals the intensive labor, punishment, and torture to which he has been subjected. This quote thus establishes the effects of his time in the camp, and the book goes on to detail the specifics of Shin’s experience.

2. “Most North Koreans are sent to the camps without any judicial process, and many die there without learning the charges against them. They are taken from their homes, usually at night, by the Bowibu, the National Security Agency. Guilt by association is legal in North Korea. A wrongdoer is often imprisoned with his parents and children.” (Introduction, p. 6)

This quote summarizes the process whereby most North Koreans find themselves in labor camps. This is not applicable to Shin, who was born in Camp 14, yet what Shin has in common with many of these individuals is his ignorance about what he has done wrong. In North Korea, no trial is required before people are imprisoned: people are simply snatched from their homes by the National Security Agency and find themselves in labor camps. As this quote also affirms, they do not even have to have committed…

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