The Arduous March Summary

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I find Demick’s narratives in the book were very compelling, keeping you intrigued yet horrified about how raw and graphic life can be in North Korea. Every story presented makes your blood boil when you hear such horrible circumstances the characters had to go through in North Korea during the years of mass starvation and economic collapse. Even though North Korea is known for being a very secretive country the author found a way to have coherent and fluid narrative with almost connecting each story to its history. There were four aspects about the book that made you engage with this narrative, with every chapter getting more and more unpredictable like culture, economic crisis and defecting. One thing that was very noticeable trough out …show more content…

It was a series of things that brought North Korea’s economy to an abrupt crash, with the collapse of the Soviet Union there were no longer any supplies being provided by Russia. There were no pesticides and crops stopped growing. Later on, a mix of droughts and flooding year round it was impossible to create a stable food supply. At first North Koreans saw themselves finding new ways to feed themselves and their families. The book explores how people tried to innovate with what they had in order to survive, many would boil their noodles for hours for them to seem bigger, they would use every bit of corn, and people would add weeds and grass to their “meals”. Eventually when there was no food North Korean’s would go days without consuming anything, this lead to mass starvation and many casualties the most affected were the elderly and children. During this period there was an increase of black markets and illegal activities, Kim Jong-il addressed multiple times that those who were to start illegal business would be punished but it was hard to impose due to lack of transportation and electricity. Jobs weren’t no longer paying any hard currency so most of the times people would try to find ways to find food for their next meal, whether it was trading, stealing or …show more content…

The North Korean regime would have spies in China in order to capture those who were fleeing among the borders to find food or a job, people were easily targeted and brought back in order to force them labor camps. This experience made many of the defectors stop trying but at the same time it made other North Koreans to try harder to not get caught. Many saw that the only way to escape fully was by either giving themselves up to the Mongolian boarder police or find a way to get to South Korea which is not easy even until this day. The South Korean government seems to be very generous by giving these people welfare in order for them to establish themselves in this new and strange country. Something that was shocking is that once the defectors were in South Korea, whenever they would hear bad commentaries towards North Korea and the situations they lived in, they felt offended. There was still something ingrained in them that even after all the lies about their regime and leaders there was still a sense of identity with being fully North Korean. And many believed that the regime would soon collapse allowing them to go back with their families and friends. Demick’s narrative points out how in these six stories involving North Koreans defectors once in South Korea they would experience a massive cultural shock. Many pointed

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