Study Guide

Pyongyang Isolation

By Guy Delisle


All the lonely people. Where do they all come from?” Hey, Paul and John, we’ve got the answer: they’re in North Korea.

In Pyongyang, not only is North Korea cut off from the rest of the world, its people are also isolated from each other. They are rewarded for turning against each other, so can you blame them? When you’re starving, you might kill for a box of Rice Krispies too.

Isolation is a great way to control people. You’ve heard “united we stand, divided we fall.” North Korea is divided, and it’s falling faster than the U.S. Congress’s approval ratings. And that’s fast enough to break the sound barrier.

Questions About Isolation

  1. How does North Korea isolate its people?
  2. How has North Korea isolated itself from the world? How does the world isolate North Korea?
  3. Is the United States working to integrate North Korea into the world, or is the U.S. only trying to isolate North Korea further?
  4. What has North Korea contributed to global culture, if anything?

Chew on This

Isolation contributes to fear. The North Koreans aren’t just isolated from the outside world, they’re afraid of it. They’re afraid of Americans. They’re afraid of the world.

Isolation prevents contribution. If North Korea wants assistance, it hasto give something in return, but it has put itself into a position where it can contribute nothing.