Nothing to Envy Book Review Essay

3019 Words May 2nd, 2011 13 Pages
Nothing to Envy 2/15/11

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Koreans who have experienced a great deal of hardship and turmoil living under one of the most notorious communist regimes. Throughout the years these North Koreans lived through the death of their great Kim Il-Sung, the rise to power of his successor Kim Jong-Il, and the horrific famine that has left many in despair. Although North Korea is constantly in the news globally it is surprising to realize little is known about the country itself. Communist dictatorship has shut out the North part of the Korean peninsula from the outside world and has ruled with an iron fist. In the years following WWII Kim Il-Sung and
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The family was considered to be part of the lower class system because Tae-woo is of South Korean origin. After he fought in the war he was taken as a POW in what was now part of North Korea and had to assimilate in the communist country. This meant he was sent to work in the mines and would never be able to achieve any higher ranking. This unfortunately was also the case for anyone related to Tae-woo, especially his children. No matter how hard they would study and work, they were to meet the same disappointment their father had faced. “Your song-bun, as the rating was called, took into account the backgrounds of your parents, grandparents, and even second cousins “(26). Even ordinary citizens were subjected to invasive screening in order to rank their political trustworthiness. Mi-ran began an innocent relationship with a young man named Jun-sang, who was a few years older than her. Although, Jun-sang came from a good family and was in turn in a higher class, he was intrigued by Mi-ran. They would often walk in the dark of the night, since there was rarely electricity, they were able to do so inconspicuously. She worked hard for her education and was even accepted into a teaching school. She grew tired of the small emaciated children she would see everyday. Children would many times come to school without any food and would ultimately stop coming to class. She did not like to think of reasons why they would not be in class

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