Reading Response: “The Martyred” by Richard E. Kim Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Mar 23rd, 2020

Reading Summary

The chapters from 21 to 29 in the book “The Martyred” by Richard Kim introduce the idea of sacrifice and the reasons of why people may be eager to hide the truth and contribute their own interests and ideas. The author uses two main perspectives according to which he discusses the peculiarities of a sacrifice and its sub-type, self-sacrifice.

One of them is the position supported Captain Lee, who continues to believe that the truth is the only thing that can matter: “I will hang onto my truth and will not compromise it… I shall do my best to stop immediately any more manufacturing and dissemination of false information” (Kim 107). Another idea is introduced by Mr. Shin, who decides to hide the truth to save the faith and its possible power over the ordinary people.

Mr. Shin chooses to introduce himself as the martyred betrayer and proves that the martyred decision to pray for his sins and the sins of the citizens is the only correct idea. Even Park, who could not recently understand his father, realizes that it is justified to pretend “for the poor, suffering, tortured people” (Kim 134).

These chapters show that faith makes people weak in front of the challenges and decisions that have to be made during their lifetime. The ministers exist to assist people to survive and find an appropriate ways out.

People, like Captain Lee or Colonel Chang, cannot understand whether God is aware of sufferings his people and define themselves as outsiders, nonbelievers. “If you believe in a god, you wouldn’t ask that question. You would rather ask what you have done wrong against him to deserve your suffering” (Kim 127). And it is wrong and pointless to despise as well as to understand the actions people, who define Christianity as the only appropriate faith to believe in.

Questions about the Reading

1. According to Mr. Shin, how long is it possible to guard the truth?

There may be no right or wrong answer to this question. Still, the evaluation of the conditions under which Mr. Shin has to keep the truth and share its part with the society promotes understanding of the fact that even one truth may have several sides. People are free to decide what to tell and what to hide from the rest, but it is necessary to think over possible outcomes and consider the consequences that may change a number of lives.

2. Is it possible to define who is right in the bloody war?

The answer to this question requires the analysis of the dialogue that takes place between Captain Lee and Colonel Chang. There are many reasons for people to start a war, still, there are not many proofs to justify it. When the war leads to blood and useless sacrifices and murders, it is wrong to believe that it is necessary. Even during the war, people have to complete their duties. Still, human actions cannot be justified in case they are bloody and take the lives of many people.

3. Is it possible to believe the God is not aware of his people’s sufferings?

To answer this question, it is necessary to analyze the events of all previous chapters and clear up what makes the martyred to accept their deaths the way they did. All those lies and explanations that have been given during the story are in the name of God, whose essence cannot be understood by all characters. Of course, people need something to believe in. Still, it is not always clear whether human sufferings should be justified in regards to faith only.

Works Cited

Kim, Richard, E. The Martyred. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2011. Print.

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