The Orphan Master’s Son

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Jun Do would not flee when offered the opportunity and he did not have an escape plan in place when faced with instances of liberation. Escaping without a timetable meant that his wish for independence would not be realized as a result of the region's current regime. Escaping without completing the tasks he had set for himself meant a huge disappointment on his part (Kirkpatrick 60).
Furthermore, it is clear that Jun Do did not leave when given the opportunity due to the fact that he already had a mission to fulfill. Incidentally, Jun Do was aware of the life outside North Korea which complicated the understanding he had of his government making it hard for him to ignore the fact that the people from his country were not living their lives to the fullest. Clearly, they lacked their sense of ambition regarding what they truly desired and they did not have the knowledge of what freedom meant. Therefore, after meeting Sun Moon, his sense of purpose is awakened and his desire to fight against the crazy regime is seen. Therefore, he could not leave without accomplishing the set mission of fighting for the freedom of the people ("The Orphan Master's Son." 32).

Question Two

In The Orphan Master’s Son, the identity of women in North Korea is constructed to represented the female gender as objects of victimization. The women in the region are brought out as preservers of the feminine virtues with their asexualized bodies (Kim 257). Taking into consideration Johnson’s definition of Jun Do’s mother, it is evident that she was a beautiful woman with large lovely eyes. Her lips were pursed making her even more beautiful. According to Johnson, “she was quite lovely-eyes large and sideways looking, lips pursed with an unspoken word” . It is apparent that all beautiful women in the region are shipped to Pyongyang providing an indication that the women in North Korea are considered as objects of victimization after they become asexualized.

Furthermore, the fact that the women in the region did not have the power to speak against the authority shows that the women in North Korea are construed as the preservers of the traditional feminine virtues. As is, Jun Do’s mother did not speak against the fact that she was to be taken to Pyongyang and be separated from her family. Johnson indicated that it was a tradition that all beautiful women had to be shipped to Pyongyang (Adams 80).

Question Three

It is evident that Jun Do believes that he is not an orphan. The presented fact affects his journey in that he does not fall victim of the violence and patriarchal authority evident in the region. Despite the fact that the author does not provide a clear identity of the boy, Jun Do imagines that the Orphan Master is his father and his mother was an Opera singer. It is apparent that the orphans in the region are loaned out to engage in unpleasant activities as well as dangerous works. However, the fact that Jun Do is not considered an orphan avoids such instances which mean a high level of emotional detachment from the community and the society (Schwabe 25).

Furthermore, the belief that he was not an orphan affects his journey by providing him with a high level of power to a point that he could fight for peace. Apparently, Jun Do confronts evil at varied levels. Johnson has shown that Jun Do often makes the choice of helping and protecting the people, including sacrificing his good and safety for that of the other (Gaughan 23). The presented instance, suggests power which comes about as a result of the belief that he is not an orphan.

Question Four

Oppressive propaganda is highly evident in various sections of the book. It is evident that propaganda echoes from loudspeakers available in every household. The persons who do not lived by the requirements of the official script always find themselves in deep trouble. The propaganda chapters contribute into the reading of the novel by outlining the factors about North Korea which seem hidden from the general audience’s view. Apparently, the propaganda chapters show that North Korea operates through the use of brutal ideologies which implement a totalitarian Kim regime (Moeller 76). The presented propaganda chapters communicate a message that North Korea is a place where the state’s agenda matters as well as the desires of the state.

The propaganda chapters provide an insight into the fact that the interest of the people is significantly overlooked since there is no place for aspects such as self-determination or individuality. According to Johnson, the DPRK must be “...the most difficult place on earth to be fully human, a place where spontaneity is almost impossible--where confessing your heart and your wants and desires run counter to the state and could get you in trouble.” Therefore, the chapters provide an indication that it is difficult to live in the region as a result of the existing oppressive regime (Hoffert 69).

Works Cited

"The Orphan Master's Son." Library Journal, vol. 138, no. 1, 1/1/2013, p. 32.

Adams, Michael. "The Orphan Master's Son." Library Journal, vol. 137, no. 5, 15 Mar. 2012, pp. 81-82.

Gaughan, Thomas. "The Orphan Master's Son." Booklist, vol. 108, no. 7, 12/1/2011, p. 23. 

Hoffert, Barbara. "Interesting Facts." Library Journal, vol. 140, no. 4, 3/1/2015, p. 69.

Kim, Mikyoung. “The Social Construction of North Korean Women’s Identity in South Korea: Romanticisation, Victimisation and Vilification,” Korea Yearbook, (2009): 257-276.

Kirkpatrick, Melanie. "Incarceration Nation." Commentary, vol. 133, no. 3, Mar. 2012, pp. 59-61. 

Moeller, Carl. "My Top 5 Books on North Korea." Christianity Today, vol. 56, no. 4, Apr. 2012, p. 76. 

Schwabe, Liesl. "Nothing Is Illuminated Adam Johnson." Publishers Weekly, vol. 258, no. 46, 14 Nov. 2011, pp. 26-27. 

September 11, 2021

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