Total Control in North Korea Commonlit Answers

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  • 9th Grade
  • Lexile: 1160

Source: Total Control in North Korea

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
Which of the following is a central idea of the article? RI.9-10.2North Korea is an oppressive state that seeks to create unity by controlling its citizens’ actions at all times.
How does the first paragraph contribute to the central idea of the article?The author provides an example of how much power the North Korean government has over citizens.
Which phrase best describes the relationship between North Korean citizens and their government?“Because of its desire for ideological unity among all citizens, the North Korean government has an iron grip over the daily lives of its citizens.” (Paragraph 6)
Which detail from the text best provides evidence of how the North Korean government spreads its ideology?“From dawn to dusk, and from birth to death, the Korean people structure their lives round loyalty to their nation and to the Kims.” (Paragraph 6)
How does the author use multiple viewpoints to support their central idea? Cite evidence from the article in your answer.The author of “Total Control in North Korea” uses multiple viewpoints to support the central idea of the extensive and oppressive control exerted by the North Korean government over its citizens. This is achieved by incorporating different perspectives and sources of information that collectively paint a comprehensive picture of life under the North Korean regime. Here are some examples:
Government Perspective: The article describes the government’s structure and its ideology, such as the role of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in controlling every branch of government and all elections (Paragraph 2). It also discusses the government’s philosophy of Juche, emphasizing political, economic, and military independence (Paragraph 5).
Citizen Experience: The text includes the experiences and viewpoints of North Korean citizens. For instance, it mentions how from kindergarten, North Korean children are indoctrinated with the stories and ideologies of the Kim family (Paragraph 6). This viewpoint is further supported by a refugee’s account, which provides a firsthand perspective on the education system and the daily life in North Korea.
International Perspective: The article references the United Nations’ accusations against North Korea of crimes against humanity due to its severe oppression and punishments (Paragraph 11). This international viewpoint provides a broader context to the article, showing how the North Korean regime is perceived and criticized globally.
Economic Perspective: The author discusses the dismal economic conditions in North Korea, citing the government’s ownership of most industries and the country’s weak and slow-growing economy due to inefficiencies and famines (Paragraph 12). This provides an insight into how the government’s control extends to the economic life of the nation and its impact on the citizens.
By weaving together these different viewpoints, the author effectively supports the central idea of the article: the total and oppressive control exercised by the North Korean government over its people,influencing every aspect of their lives from politics and economy to education and personal beliefs.

Discussion Answers

What are some modern-day freedoms that you have in your country that those in North Korea do not have? How do your thoughts and beliefs about how a government should run a country differ than what the North Korean government believes?

As an AI developed by OpenAI, I don’t have personal experiences or beliefs. However, I can outline typical freedoms enjoyed in many countries that are generally restricted in North Korea, as well as highlight common differences in governmental beliefs and practices compared to North Korea’s regime:

  1. Freedom of Expression: In many countries, citizens have the right to express their opinions freely, including criticism of the government and its policies. This contrasts sharply with North Korea, where expressing dissenting views against the government or its leaders can lead to severe punishments.
  2. Freedom of the Press: Most democratic countries have a free press that can report on government actions and societal issues without fear of censorship or retribution. In contrast, North Korea’s media is state-controlled, and independent journalism is virtually non-existent.
  3. Freedom of Movement: In many countries, citizens can travel domestically and internationally with relative ease. In North Korea, however, the government severely restricts the movement of its citizens, both within the country and abroad.
  4. Internet Access: Unrestricted access to the internet is common in many parts of the world, allowing people to access a wide range of information and viewpoints. In North Korea, internet access is heavily restricted and monitored, with most citizens only having access to a state-controlled intranet.
  5. Political Freedom: Many countries have multiparty political systems with regular, free elections where citizens can vote for their leaders. North Korea, however, is a one-party state with elections that are largely considered symbolic and non-competitive.
  6. Legal Protections: In various countries, there are legal protections against arbitrary arrest and the right to a fair trial. North Korean citizens, on the other hand, often face harsh legal actions without proper judicial processes.

Regarding beliefs about government operation, democratic values typically emphasize the importance of individual rights, rule of law, separation of powers, and accountable governance.

This contrasts with North Korea’s authoritarian model, where the government maintains strict control over all aspects of life, often at the expense of individual freedoms and human rights.

The differences in governance between North Korea and democratic nations reflect fundamental divergences in political ideology, values concerning individual liberties, and beliefs about the role of the state in citizens’ lives.


Why do you think that North Koreans do not rise up and overthrow their government? How does the North Korean government resist change? Why do North Korean people follow the crowd?

There are several reasons why North Koreans have not risen up to overthrow their government, as well as ways in which the North Korean government resists change and ensures compliance among its population. It’s important to understand that the situation in North Korea is complex and deeply rooted in historical, cultural, and political contexts.

  1. Extensive Government Control and Surveillance: The North Korean government maintains an extensive surveillance system over its citizens. This includes monitoring of communications, tight control over information entering and leaving the country, and a network of informants. Such surveillance creates an environment where dissent is risky and difficult to organize.
  2. Indoctrination and Propaganda: From a young age, North Koreans are subjected to intense propaganda and indoctrination. The education system, media, and public messaging consistently glorify the regime and its leaders while vilifying outside influences. This lifelong indoctrination can shape citizens’ views and loyalty towards the government.
  3. Fear of Repression: The North Korean regime is known for its harsh and often brutal treatment of dissenters, including the use of concentration camps, torture, and public executions. The fear of such severe consequences can deter individuals from considering or participating in acts of rebellion.
  4. Economic and Social Challenges: The difficult economic conditions in North Korea can also play a role. When people are struggling to meet basic needs, it becomes harder to focus on political change. Moreover, the government often uses food and other necessities as tools of control.
  5. Isolation from the Outside World: North Koreans are largely isolated from the rest of the world, with limited access to external information. This isolation can limit their awareness of alternative forms of government and suppress aspirations for change.
  6. Collectivist Culture and Conformity: The North Korean society emphasizes collectivism over individualism. People might follow the crowd due to a deeply ingrained cultural norm of conformity and the desire to belong to the community.

In terms of resisting change, the North Korean government uses a combination of these methods – surveillance, repression, propaganda, control over resources, and isolation – to maintain its grip on power.

Change in such a context can be incredibly challenging, as it requires overcoming both the internalized beliefs and fears of the population, as well as the highly structured and enforced governmental system.

Understanding why the North Korean people follow the crowd also involves recognizing the human tendency to conform, especially under high-pressure and high-control regimes.

The risk of standing out or opposing the norm in such environments is often perceived as far greater than the potential benefits of dissent.


The goal of communism in theory is to create a state that is so equal, it does not require a government. Why do you think the Kim dynasty, and other communist countries, fail to achieve or pursue this goal? In the context of this article, how does power corrupt?

The divergence between the theoretical goals of communism and the practical realities observed in countries like North Korea under the Kim dynasty can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Centralization of Power: One of the core reasons communist governments, like the Kim dynasty, diverge from the theoretical ideal of a stateless, equal society is the centralization of power.
    In theory, communism aims for a classless society where the means of production are communally owned. However, in practice, these regimes often end up concentrating power in the hands of a few leaders or a single party. This centralization contradicts the idea of communal equality and often leads to authoritarian rule.
  2. Practical Challenges of Implementing Communism: Implementing the ideals of communism on a large scale presents significant challenges. Managing an economy without any form of hierarchical structure or state control has proven difficult. As a result, many self-proclaimed communist states have implemented various forms of centralized control to manage the economy and society.
  3. Ideological Rigidity and Resistance to Change: Leaders in these regimes often become rigid in their ideology, resisting any changes that might undermine their authority or the established order. This rigidity can hinder the evolution towards a true communist society.
  4. Corruption and Power Dynamics: In the context of the article and the Kim dynasty, power tends to corrupt by centralizing authority and reinforcing the leaders’ positions. The leaders may start prioritizing the maintenance of their power and control over the pursuit of ideological goals.
    This corruption of power is evident in the way the North Korean government exerts control over every aspect of its citizens’ lives, suppressing dissent and freedom in the name of unity and stability.
  5. Economic and Social Realities: Economic hardships, such as those experienced in North Korea, can also impede the realization of communist ideals. When resources are scarce, the distribution of wealth and opportunities becomes even more challenging, leading to inequalities and social stratification, contrary to communist principles.

In summary, the failure of the Kim dynasty and other similar regimes to achieve the theoretical goal of a stateless, equal communist society can be attributed to the centralization of power, practical challenges in implementation, ideological rigidity, corruption, and economic realities.

The ideals of communism are often overshadowed by the authoritarian practices of these governments, leading to significant deviations from the original communist doctrine.

Other CommonLit Answer for the 9th Grade:
Someone Might Be Watching
Conformity
The Lottery
The Most Dangerous Game
The Necklace
Story Of An Hour
Was It A Dream?

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Dr. Evelyn Wordsworth
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Dr. Evelyn Wordsworth is a seasoned linguist and literacy educator with over 7 years of experience in the field. Holding a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the prestigious Harvard University, Evelyn has dedicated her career to exploring the intricacies of language acquisition and promoting literacy among diverse learner populations.

With a passion for bridging the literacy gap and a belief in the transformative power of education, Dr. Wordsworth continues to contribute to the field through her insightful research and engaging instructional materials.




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