The Story of Yeonmi Park

A good way to learn about life around the world is to read about it using the perspective of someone else. In the case of one Yeonmi Park, this example can be set all the way back to North Korea. For Yeonmi Park, living in North Korea had its benefits and privileges but also had plenty of negative features about it. All of these are mentioned in her recently published autobiography entitled “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom.” In her novel, Park goes into great detail to explain how despite being born with a fairly decent lifestyle, life in North Korea was not glamorous in the way that she was led to believe. In fact once she was old enough she saw that the reality of the nation was oppressive and brutal, the opposite of what she had known in the past. This awakening is the main reason why she and her family decided to escape the regime, enlisting help from human traffickers and entering China, Mongolia and eventually settling for a new life in South Korea. Even after attaining freedom, the concept of certain things like hunger take on new meaning, such as only being a mild inconvenience now. Regarding Yeonmi Park‘s early life, she is originally from Hyesan, North Korea, her father working as a civil servant for the Worker’s Party at the town hall, and her mother was a nurse for the Army. While she lived a privileged life in North Korea as a youth, things were not so nice as she got older, including learning that her father had been arrested and sent to a concentration camp after being accused of insider trading. After realizing that the Kim Jong-Il regime was brutal and tyrannical, Park and her family decided to escape from the country, by way of crossing the border into China with the help of traffickers. From there the family eventually made their way into South Korea and began a new life. However, Park’s father was diagnosed with colon cancer and sadly died before being able to achieve this.

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