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 anyone who challenged his authority. Kim used his government’s propaganda wing to build a vast cult of personality around himself—to the point where the nation’s media portrayed him as a superhuman figure. Kim was also responsible for instituting a series of economic reforms that permitted more capitalism and trading in North Korea—although he was practically forced to do so to avoid another famine like the one his country experienced in the early 1990s. He died in 2011, leaving the country in the hands of his youngest son, Kim Jong Eun.
The timeline below shows where the character Kim Jong Il appears in Escape from Camp 14. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface: A Teachable Moment
Chapter 2: School Days
...of soap. The classrooms are bare and undecorated—they don’t even have the usual portraits of Kim Jong Il and his father, Kim Il Sung (who, despite having died years ago, is still an... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Upper Crust
...country. He studied in Switzerland, where he played basketball and liked to draw. However, after Kim Jong Il suffered a near-fatal stroke, the North Korean propaganda industry worked hard to make Kim seem... (full context)
Chapter 11: Napping on the Farm
...period, North Koreans (possibly as many as 400,000) snuck across the border to enter China. Kim Jong Il tried to control his people, punishing those who traded goods without government permission. However, corruption... (full context)
...crisis, the North Korean government had no choice but to institute economic reform. In 2002, Kim Jong Il legalized private farming and began offering farmers higher prices for food to incentivize agriculture. Slowly,... (full context)
Chapter 13: Deciding Not to Snitch
...elite circles, and his experiences teaching taekwondo. He even claims to have shaken hands with Kim Jong Il . Shin admires Park for his humility and decency. As he spends more time with... (full context)
Chapter 17: Riding North