In this essay I explore Erich Fromm’s framework that is constructed on the premise that human beings are governed simultaneously by their instincts and their character. Fromm, together with Philip Zimbardo, will provide distinct tools in the analysis of North Korean Political Prison Camps, which have long been the primary tool of oppression for the totalitarian regime in North Korea. The extraordinary life of Shin Dong-Hyuk, who was born in Camp 14, “Kaechon,” serves as a case study in this essay. While both theorists shed valuable light on Shin’s story, the purpose of this case study is to test their fundamental assumptions. None of them pass the test and the case study thus reveals significant shortcomings of both theories.