Escape from Camp 14

Shin In Geun / Shin Dong-hyuk

Shin Dong-hyuk, born Shin In Geun, is the protagonist of Escape from Camp 14. He was born in Camp 14, one of the many prison camp located in North Korea, to Jang Hye Gyung(read full character analysis)

Kim Il Sung

Kim Il Sung was the first premier, and later president, of North Korea. Following his service in the Korean War, Kim was backed by the Soviet Union to lead the newly created North Korea. During… (read full character analysis)

Kim Jong Il

Kim Jong Il was the leader of North Korea between 1994 and the 2011. During this time, he ruled his country with an iron fist, pursued an aggressive nuclear missile policy, and continued to punish… (read full character analysis)

Kim Jong Eun

Kim Jong Eun is the current leader of North Korea, and the son of Kim Jong Il. He was raised in luxury, and studied in Switzerland. In spite of his apparent lack of qualifications… (read full character analysis)

Jang Hye Gyung / Shin’s Mother

Jang Hye Gyung is the biological mother of Shin Dong-hyuk, although she fulfills few of the roles one typically associates with a mother—she doesn’t nurture, educate, or, it would seem, love her son. Jang… (read full character analysis)
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Shin Gyung Sub / Shin’s Father

Shin Gyung Sub is the father of Shin Dong-hyuk, but a minor presence in the book. At Camp 14, fathers aren’t permitted much time with their children—they’re forced to live in dormitories with their… (read full character analysis)

Park Yong Chul

Perhaps more than any other person, Park Yong Chul is responsible for inspiring Shin to escape from Camp 14. Park is a humble, intelligent man, who’s sent to Camp 14 after he flees the country… (read full character analysis)

Kim Jin Myung / “Uncle”

Kim Jun Myung, who goes by the nickname “Uncle,” is Shin’s cellmate during his time in the underground prison of Camp 14. Uncle is a kind, educated man—Shin assumes that he must have been… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
An Myeong Chul
A former guard at a North Korean prison camp, who later defected and spoke out against the cruelty and meaningless sadism of the prison camp system.
Linda Dye
Husband of Lowell Dye, and a benefactor of Shin.
Lowell Dye
Wife of Lowell Dye, and a benefactor of Shin.
Gong Jin Soo
One of Shin’s coworkers at the garment factory.
He Geun / Shin’s Brother
He Geun is Shin’s brother, and the eldest son of Shin Gyung Sub and Jang Hye Gyung. He’s executed at Camp 14 after Shin informs on him.
Hong Sung Jo
One of Shin’s only friends at Camp 14 and the only person Shin talks to when he plans to inform on his parents.
Hong Joo Hyun
The grade leader in Shin’s class.
Charles Robert Jenkins
An American soldier who was captured and imprisoned in North Korea for many years.
Kang Chul Min
Another prisoner at Camp 14, who works in the garment factory alongside Shin.
Kang Chol-hwan
A North Korean defector who lived in South Korea for many lonely years.
Kim Dae-Jung
President of South Korea during the early 2000s.
Kim Hye Sook
A survivor of Camp 18, and later a noted human rights activist.
Kim Kwan Jin
A former member of the North Korean elite, who later defected and spoke out about North Korea’s massive insurance fraud system, which continues to finance the Kim family’s lavish lifestyle and provide a significant chunk of all government revenue.
Kyung Soon Chung
A pastor’s wife, who effectively adopts Shin after he moves to the United States.
Harim Lee
A young Korean woman who’s briefly involved in a relationship with Shin.
Sergeant Matthew E. McMahon
An intelligence worker living in South Korea, who interviews Shin and passes his story on to American intelligence officers.
Moon Sung Sim
A young girl, the same age as Shin, who later loses her toe in a mining accident.
Park Choon Young
A seamstress who’s sexually harassed, impregnated by her factory superiors, and eventually killed.
President Lee Myung-Bak
President of South Korea from 2008 to 2013.
President George W. Bush
43rd president of the United States of America.
Ryu Hak Chul
One of Shin’s classmates, who Shin later joins the rest of his class in beating.
Hannah Song
Shin’s translator and the director of LiNK (Liberty in North Korea), a nonprofit human rights organization.
Elie Wiesel
Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor, human rights activist, and writer whose most famous book is Night. Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.