Every Falling Star by Sungju Review
John dalberg-acton once said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men...”, which he made in a letter to Anglican bishop. This is shown especially in North Korea because they think their leader is this great guy when really he is a bad guy and has absolute power over North korea. What do people have to do when the government overpowers the people and they have to fight their way to get to a better place in life and putting themselves at risk every day? Every Falling Star is a memoir written by Sunju, who was a teenager that lived in Pyongyang and got forced to move to Gyeong Seong which turned his happy childhood into making him a gang member that had to steal and fight to gain power over the other gangs and also had to fight the government's power in order to make a better life for him. Therefore the theme is that good can be good but too much power can be used to gain control of people, this is shown through the actions of rival gangs, sungju’s gang, and the North Korean government.
To start off, the use of power to gain control is shown through Sungju’s gang’s actions. An example of this is how when sungju’s gang was in town they fought the other gangs to gain control in order to have all the things they would steal to themselves. This is important because it showed how they had to use power to gain control or else they would not have been able to eat. They did use power in a negative way but that is what was necessary for them to keep going. Sungju also had to become the gang leader when he had to stand up to another gang’s leader as his gang all stood back. This is important because Sungju's gang got good at fighting and had much more power than other gangs but eventually weapons started to get used and a couple of gang members even died. When Sungju's gang started fighting and he had to stand up for himself it showed how power can be used to gain control because it worked and fighting and stealing was a way of life for them.
Even though sunju’s gang used power to gain control when they lost a fight that meant they got control gained over them. For example, when young bum got beat up so bad the gang had no power against the other gang and young bum even ended up dying. This conflict reveals that even the strongest and hardest gangs can only win for so long until something ends up happening as it did for the Sungjus gang. Another example is when sungju got beat up and was forced into a decision “You have two choices, he said, kicking me hard in the ribs again. Leave, or join us and work under us” this shows how when the gang lost a fight it meant they would have to move to another town and try to take over that one or work for the gang they lost to which was not good because their reputation as they would go to a town and beat up the kojeni that was there, take all the goods, and then leave.
Finally, the power the government has over the people in North Korea is not good because they trick their people into believing false information, and they overpower them from the time they were young. An example of the government instilling power over the people is when sungju said, “You shouldn’t say such things about the regime. Still fearful of defying my government, including speaking badly about my government” it shows how the people really live in fear of the government so much that they won’t even think about talking bad about the government because they know what the consequences are if they were to be caught. Also the government could even take peoples belongings, “If we left” Sungju said, “young bum would lose his house, brokers would take it that was certainty”(157). They could not even leave without their property getting stolen which shows how corrupt their country is because unlike other places, whereas here they had to fight for every little thing. Also, the Korean government has skewed how their people see the world since they were infants so kids are brought up to believe false realities about their leader such as when they say he fought in all these battles and did all these things, he really did not do any of it and was only brought in because the last family member passed and he was next in line.