History Literature / NothingToEnvy

2nd Aug '16 3:44:16 AM mitcher
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* FantasticCasteSystem: The "Songbun" system which organizes the population into classes based on how "loyal" a family is to the Korean Workers’ Party. Party members, family members of those who fought in the revolution are the core class, the middle class are ordinary North Koreans and the lower classes South Korean, Japanese and Chinese, those with family members outside North Korea etc. Songbun affects everything from the jobs you can hold, where you can live, the rations you get, the punishments you get for breaking a law and the prospects for you and your children. It is near impossible to move up a caste and in the book only Jun-sang (as the son of returnees from Japan who came close to joining the Party) was able to.
** One theme in the book is how the [[ScrewTheRulesItsTheApocalypse caste structure fractured during the Arduous March]]. Mi-ran was able to attend college and become a school teacher because of the lack of willing educated people with good songbun. On a less happy note, "songbun" did not help Mrs. Song and her family during the famine.

to:

* FantasticCasteSystem: The "Songbun" ''songbun'' system which organizes the population into classes based on how "loyal" a family is to the Korean Workers’ Party. Party members, family members of those who fought in the revolution are the core class, the middle class are ordinary North Koreans and the lower classes South Korean, Japanese and Chinese, those with family members outside North Korea etc. Songbun ''Songbun'' affects everything from the jobs you can hold, where you can live, the rations you get, the punishments you get for breaking a law and the prospects for you and your children. It is near impossible to move up a caste and in the book only Jun-sang (as the son of returnees from Japan who came close to joining the Party) was able to.
** One theme in the book is how the [[ScrewTheRulesItsTheApocalypse caste structure fractured during the Arduous March]]. Mi-ran was able to attend college and become a school teacher because of the lack of willing educated people with good songbun. ''songbun''. On a less happy note, "songbun" ''songbun'' did not help Mrs. Song and her family during the famine.



** Kim Hyuk survived a life on the streets as a orphan. He starts making [[HopeSpot money smuggling]] only to get arrested and sent to prison.

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** Kim Hyuk Hyuck survived a life on the streets as a orphan. He starts making [[HopeSpot money smuggling]] only to get arrested and sent to prison.



* IronicNurseryTune: "We Have Nothing to Envy in the World". At one point, a starving beggar child is singing it for money.
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: When he learns that Min-ran is married after his arrival in South Korea, Jun-sang decides not to contact her.

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* IronicNurseryTune: "We ''We Have Nothing to Envy in the World".World''. At one point, a starving beggar child is singing it for money.
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: When he learns that Min-ran Mi-ran is married after his arrival in South Korea, Jun-sang decides not to contact her.


Added DiffLines:

* OlderThanTheyLook: Due to starvation, Kim Hyuck and Dr. Kim ended up looking younger. It is even stated that by the time of her defection, Dr. Kim, a woman in her thirties, looked more like a twelve-year old.
30th Sep '15 5:45:26 AM Josh47
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* FantasticCasteSystem: The "Songbun" system which organizes the population into classes based on how "loyal" a family is to the Korean Workers’ Party. Party members, family members of those who fought in the revolution are the core class, the middle class are ethnic North Koreas and the lower classes ethnic South Korean, Japanese and Chinese, those with family members outside North Korea etc. Songbun affects everything from the jobs you can hold, where you can live, the rations you get, the punishments you get for breaking a law and the prospects for you and your children. It is near impossible to move up a caste and in the book only Jun-sang (as the son of returnees from Japan who came close to joining the Party) was able to.

to:

* FantasticCasteSystem: The "Songbun" system which organizes the population into classes based on how "loyal" a family is to the Korean Workers’ Party. Party members, family members of those who fought in the revolution are the core class, the middle class are ethnic ordinary North Koreas Koreans and the lower classes ethnic South Korean, Japanese and Chinese, those with family members outside North Korea etc. Songbun affects everything from the jobs you can hold, where you can live, the rations you get, the punishments you get for breaking a law and the prospects for you and your children. It is near impossible to move up a caste and in the book only Jun-sang (as the son of returnees from Japan who came close to joining the Party) was able to.
30th Sep '15 5:39:45 AM Josh47
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* Jun-sang -- A student with Japanese-Korean ancestry. This greatly lowered the family's social standing and Jun-sang was pressured to work hard so he could move way up and away from it. (As much as that was possible.) He dated Mi-ran in secret.

to:

* Jun-sang -- A student with Japanese-Korean ancestry.born to ethnic Korean returnees from Japan. This greatly lowered the family's social standing and Jun-sang was pressured to work hard so he could move way up and away from it. (As much as that was possible.) He dated Mi-ran in secret.



* FantasticCasteSystem: The "Songbun" system which organizes the population into classes based on how "loyal" a family is to the Korean Workers’ Party. Party members, family members of those who fought in the revolution are the core class, the middle class are ethnic North Koreas and the lower classes ethnic South Korean, Japanese and Chinese, those with family members outside North Korea etc. Songbun affects everything from the jobs you can hold, where you can live, the rations you get, the punishments you get for breaking a law and the prospects for you and your children. It is near impossible to move up a caste and in the book only Jun-sang (as the son of an ethnic Japanese who came close to joining the Party) was able to.

to:

* FantasticCasteSystem: The "Songbun" system which organizes the population into classes based on how "loyal" a family is to the Korean Workers’ Party. Party members, family members of those who fought in the revolution are the core class, the middle class are ethnic North Koreas and the lower classes ethnic South Korean, Japanese and Chinese, those with family members outside North Korea etc. Songbun affects everything from the jobs you can hold, where you can live, the rations you get, the punishments you get for breaking a law and the prospects for you and your children. It is near impossible to move up a caste and in the book only Jun-sang (as the son of an ethnic Japanese returnees from Japan who came close to joining the Party) was able to.
14th Sep '15 6:41:49 AM JustCause
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* {{Thoughtcrime}}: Mrs. Song's husband nearly got thrown into prison for making a sarcastic remark about the ''lack to shoes''. Every defector seems to know someone sent to a camp or executed for criticizing the regime.

to:

* {{Thoughtcrime}}: Mrs. Song's husband nearly got thrown into prison for making a sarcastic remark about the ''lack to of shoes''. Every defector seems to know someone sent to a camp or executed for criticizing the regime.
14th Sep '15 4:03:02 AM JustCause
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* BigBrotherIsWatching

to:

* BigBrotherIsWatchingBigBrotherIsWatching: And sometimes Big Brother is employing you and watching you and [[UpToEleven employing you to watch everyone else.]]


Added DiffLines:

* DoubleSpeak: Everywhere. The Arduous March is itself a euphemism for the famine.


Added DiffLines:

** Some of the defectors in the story adjust better than others. Mi-Ran with relatives in South Korea to help her had the easiest time. Jun-sang in contrast floundered as his degree was useless and he didn't have any relevant skills.
* {{Thoughtcrime}}: Mrs. Song's husband nearly got thrown into prison for making a sarcastic remark about the ''lack to shoes''. Every defector seems to know someone sent to a camp or executed for criticizing the regime.
21st Jul '15 8:48:21 PM cpslck
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* FantasticCasteSystem: The "Songbun" system which organizes the population into classes based on how "loyal" a family is to the Korean Workers’ Party. Party members, family members of those who fought in the revolution are the core class, the middle class are ethnic North Koreas and the lower classes ethnic South Korean, ethnic Japanese and Chinese, those with family members outside North Korea etc. Songbun affects everything from the jobs you can hold, where you can live, the rations you get, the punishments you get for breaking a law and the prospects for you and your children. It is near impossible to move up a caste and in the book only Jun-sang (as the son of an ethnic Japanese who came close to joining the Party) was able to.

to:

* FantasticCasteSystem: The "Songbun" system which organizes the population into classes based on how "loyal" a family is to the Korean Workers’ Party. Party members, family members of those who fought in the revolution are the core class, the middle class are ethnic North Koreas and the lower classes ethnic South Korean, ethnic Japanese and Chinese, those with family members outside North Korea etc. Songbun affects everything from the jobs you can hold, where you can live, the rations you get, the punishments you get for breaking a law and the prospects for you and your children. It is near impossible to move up a caste and in the book only Jun-sang (as the son of an ethnic Japanese who came close to joining the Party) was able to.
20th Jul '15 12:56:00 PM JustCause
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** One theme in the book is how the [[ScrewTheRulesItsTheApocalypse caste structure fractured during the Arduous March]]. Mi-ran was able to attend college and become a school teacher because of the lack of willing educated people with good songbun.

to:

** One theme in the book is how the [[ScrewTheRulesItsTheApocalypse caste structure fractured during the Arduous March]]. Mi-ran was able to attend college and become a school teacher because of the lack of willing educated people with good songbun. On a less happy note, "songbun" did not help Mrs. Song and her family during the famine.
20th Jul '15 12:49:35 PM JustCause
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Added DiffLines:

* FantasticCasteSystem: The "Songbun" system which organizes the population into classes based on how "loyal" a family is to the Korean Workers’ Party. Party members, family members of those who fought in the revolution are the core class, the middle class are ethnic North Koreas and the lower classes ethnic South Korean, ethnic Japanese and Chinese, those with family members outside North Korea etc. Songbun affects everything from the jobs you can hold, where you can live, the rations you get, the punishments you get for breaking a law and the prospects for you and your children. It is near impossible to move up a caste and in the book only Jun-sang (as the son of an ethnic Japanese who came close to joining the Party) was able to.
** One theme in the book is how the [[ScrewTheRulesItsTheApocalypse caste structure fractured during the Arduous March]]. Mi-ran was able to attend college and become a school teacher because of the lack of willing educated people with good songbun.


Added DiffLines:

** The book describes the kotchebi, homeless orphans whose parents abandoned them or died.


Added DiffLines:

* ScrewTheRulesItsTheApocalypse: A running theme in the book is the societal and governmental breakdown during the famine. Previously illegal activities like private markets and prostitution sprung up. Criminals thrown into the prisons (supposedly for life) were often let out after a few months to accommodate a new influx of prisoners. And anyone could bribe an official to look the other way.
10th Jul '15 8:32:15 AM JustCause
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c-- North Korean Children's Song and an ironic one at that.

to:

c-- -->-- North Korean Children's Song and an ironic one at that.
9th Jul '15 7:46:04 PM cpslck
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-->-- North Korean Children's Song and an ironic one at that.

to:

-->-- c-- North Korean Children's Song and an ironic one at that.



* BrokenPedestal: Many of the characters start out as patriots who believed in North Korea and the Kims. The famine and defecting changed that.
--> She still wanted to believe that her country was the best place in the world. The beliefs she had cherished for a lifetime would be vindicated. But now she couldn't deny what was staring her plainly in the face: dogs in China ate better than doctors in North Korea.



* DramaticIrony: Readers can see past much of the North Korean propaganda even if the characters fully believe it.



** Mrs. Song loses her job and is forced to worked in illegal markets even if that goes against her beliefs. Then the famine drags on, her family gets poorer and her son, mother-in-law and husband die.
* GreaterScopeVillain: The Kims. [[TheGhost They never personally appear in the story]] (even if their presence is everywhere) and the main characters are more concerned with survival that any attempts at overthrowing them but as the dictators of North Korea, every decision they make has dramatic consequences.

to:

** Mrs. Song loses her job and is forced to worked in illegal markets even if that goes against her beliefs. Then the famine drags on, her family gets poorer and her son, mother-in-law mother-in-law, son and husband die.
* GreaterScopeVillain: The Kims. [[TheGhost They never personally appear in the story]] (even if their presence is everywhere) and the main characters are more concerned with survival that any attempts at overthrowing them but as the dictators of North Korea, every decision they make has dramatic enormous consequences.



* HeroicSafeMode: A common coping mechanism. Mi-ran and Dr. Kim both learned to ignore the suffering of their schoolchildren and patients in order to survive.



* OrwellianEditor: Mrs. Song's husband Chang-bo worked as a "reporter". This generally meant editing all information and news coming into North Korea.

to:

* OrwellianEditor: Mrs. Song's husband Chang-bo worked as a "reporter". This generally meant editing all information and news coming into North Korea.



** We get a first hand description of a camp when Kim Hyuck and [[spoiler: Oak-hee gets sent to prison]]

to:

** We get a first hand description of a camp when Kim Hyuck and [[spoiler: Oak-hee gets sent to prison]]prison.]]
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