Escape from Camp 14

Kim Jong Il Character Analysis

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.
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Kim Jong Il Character Timeline in Escape from Camp 14

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.
Foreword
Tyranny and the North Korean State Theme Icon
Survival, Self-interest, and Morality Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...into its limits; afterwards, “his status improved marginally.” He was allowed to see photographs of Kim Jong Il , and some of his peers were released from prison. (full context)
Preface: A Teachable Moment
Tyranny and the North Korean State Theme Icon
Survival, Self-interest, and Morality Theme Icon
Indoctrination and Brainwashing Theme Icon
...of America or China, and he doesn’t even know what the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il , looks like. Shin has been trained to inform on his family and classmates in... (full context)
Chapter 2: School Days
Tyranny and the North Korean State Theme Icon
Survival, Self-interest, and Morality Theme Icon
Indoctrination and Brainwashing Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...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
Tyranny and the North Korean State Theme Icon
Survival, Self-interest, and Morality Theme Icon
One elite North Korean, Kim Kwan Jin, spoke to Harden about his experiences in Kim Jong Il ’s inner circles. Kim Kwan Jin studied at elite universities and learned how to maintain... (full context)
Tyranny and the North Korean State Theme Icon
Indoctrination and Brainwashing Theme Icon
...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
Tyranny and the North Korean State Theme Icon
...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)
Tyranny and the North Korean State Theme Icon
...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
Tyranny and the North Korean State Theme Icon
Survival, Self-interest, and Morality Theme Icon
Indoctrination and Brainwashing Theme Icon
...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
Tyranny and the North Korean State Theme Icon
Survival, Self-interest, and Morality Theme Icon
...mounds during cold months). It is during this time that Shin first sees pictures of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung. (full context)