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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich presents to us the story of one man by the name of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, and basically focuses on one day of his live in a Soviet gulag. What has been presented to the world through this book are the conditions of the camp which are ruthless, introducing to us a world that has no acceptance for autonomy. For even the most fundamental needs of a human, all of the prisoners living within the camp were totally dependant on each other’s efficiency and selflessness.

The dehumanizing environment of the gulag sardonically forces detainees to find out means to keep hold of their individualism at the same time as remain in compliance to the insensitive rules, spoken and undeclared, of the camp. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich provides us with a dominant keepsake of the buoyancy of the human fortitude. Solzhenitsyn presents his readers with an outwardly discouraging state of affairs, and then provides characters who fight back ferociously to uphold their individualism (Burg, p. 21). Analysis

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a story bound calamity written in Russia by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the year 1962 but was not put to print till the year 1963. The surroundings of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is serene. Positioned in the early 1940s, the narrative starts off at the Siberian labor camps in contemporary Germany. The central character, Ivan Denisovich, is a person who belong to what is known as the middle class, but makes an effort to uphold the uppermost standard of living he can. He has also been defined as perceptive.

He is someone who wishes to be liberated from the labor camps for merely even a day. Captain Buinovsky, who is the person who has basically imprisoned him, is the second main character of the narrative. Most commonly he is considered to the antagonist of the story. The time that has been presented tells us that Denisovich had spent about eight years in the labor camps, so as a result he was quite proverbial with everybody in the camps together with the leaders. During his stay he had grown to be somewhat good friends with one of the privileged named Tiurin.

Tiurin can be taken as the most significant supporting character. He was in control of his group, named as the 104th Squad. A trifling supporting character was Pvalo, and was also a part of the 104th Squad. Even though both of them did not talk much but both were there for each other whenever needed. The Tartar, a sentinel at the labor camps, is the person who used to force Ivan to cleanse floors, and restraints him unsympathetically day in, day out. A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich is a narrative that presents to us one day in the life of a gulag prisoner.

The readers get a chance to follow Denisovich, who in the book has been continuously referred to as Shukhov all the way through the book, from the morning time when the reveille sounds, till the time that he goes to bed, tired because of the days happenings in the evening. The most interesting aspect that has been presented in this book is the way that the author of the book takes up so as to make all of the characters of the book seem genuine as well as real life people. The book that has been taken into consideration can not realy be consdiered to be an autobiographical, but basically a fictional novel.

It is somehow apparent that it has written purely out of the authors own personal experience that he had furing his time spent in the gulags. Shukhov, above all, along with nearly all of the other characters that have been presented in the book, use their distinct roles along with their palpable emotions. Nearly all of the readers at some time or the other in the book seem to feel like they are a character in the book, at times getting to understand the psyches of all the characters. In the words of the author, “Shukhov went to sleep fully content.

He’d had many strokes of luck that day: they hadn’t put him in the cells; they hadn’t sent his squad to the settlements; he’d swiped a bowl of kasha at dinner; the squad leader had fixed the rates well; he’d built a wall and had enjoyed doing it. And he hadn’t fallen ill. He had got over it. ” (Solzhenitsyn, p. 188). These are the very last lines of the book that can somehow be considered to be a summary of Shukhov’s day. Basically the central character simply makes efforts to live one day on its own and rarely ever looks forward to his freedom or life.

The work that he has been held responsible for in the gulag are such that they are totally in control of his action and even every single thought that he has. Shukhov’s character is one that takes over the thoughts of the readers and makes everyone recell the most deepest characteristics of the human being. By means of this character Shukhov, one can feel tendencies of powerlessness, sadness, decreased efficiency, physical debilitation, but the one feeling that over powers all of them are suffering, but even after going through all of this there are still some feelings of hope within Shukhov.

He imagines that one day he would get released, he wishes that perhaps the next day it would not be as cold as it was today, hope that the next day he would be allowed to take one of a cigarette. A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich is basically a downgrading of the previous regime, to the dead Stalin, but has somehow managed to tell us about the most basic feelings that are a part of the human being, and that oo it has been writteb about in a setting where everyones has been deprived of the chance of being independent, where veryone lacks what is called independence.

The book has been said to be a ‘masterwork of Russian literature’ and a vast number of times Solzhenitsyn been compared to people like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorkiy and others. Basically the book is definitely very interesting, and that is due to what has been portrayed in it, that is how people survive in a gulag, the relationships that take place between humans particularly those who do not have anymore freedom, of the feelings of such people as well as their devotion (Zhores, p. 10).

During the time when Alexander Solzhenitsyn put in writing One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1962, he came over a number of political obstructions in his clarification of the Siberian penitentiary camp. By means of his character Ivan Denisovich, Solzhenitsyn presents to us a regular day in the camp. No chapters have been presented in the book so that makes the reader feel like he or she is really spending a day with Ivan. All the way through this day, he tells of the inhabitants, the life state of affairs, the things they are allowed to do and things that they have been banned from doing.

The book takes us from the liven-up call to lights out that only has meals along with work in between. On the other hand, considering that it only presents a day to us, it is a bit hard to identify with the characters. Nevertheless, Solzhenitsyn uses flashbacks to illustrate the diverse sides to his character Ivan Denisovich. The flashbacks in the book have been taken up so as to give you an idea about the olden times of the characters; however, there were two different examples that were taken up so as to portray the feelings of the central character Ivan.

Both of them help the readers in understanding his compassion and hopefulness. During the time that he was at his first work camp, he obtains a vast number of letters and packages from his spouse. The letters told him everything that was taking place back at his home, but the packages on the other hand contained food and tobacco. Nevertheless, each time that a package is received by him, only about a fraction of the package is given to him after all the influential people take away things for themselves.

Hence, even though he wanted to get food, he wrote to his wife and told her to not send the packages for this reason. He wished for her to save the food for their children. Albeit the fact that he himself told his wife not to send any more packages, there lived a feeling deep inside him that someone would run up to him while yelling, “Shukhov (Ivan) what are you waiting for? You’ve got a package! ” (Solzhenitsyn, p. 160). But these are mere wishes of his as this never happens and he knows that it won’t.

Even though he wished to gain the packages but he does not wish that his family would have to go through hardships just for his sake. This is where the reader gets to realize about the thoughtful and kindhearted side of Ivan. It portrays to the reader of his capability to sacrifice his own provisions for the wellbeing of his family. Ivan is a very affectionate father, however, devoid of this illustration; the reader would misplace an imperative feature of his personality. Only by means of this flashback are the readers capable to see this face of him. Additionally, this state of affairs shows his compassion.

Albeit the fact that he wishes deep inside for the package but he does not want to deprive his children of the food. Even though he wants to receive the package but he does not do so for the betterment of his children. This is just how every single human would feel. Even though we would know that we would not be receiving something, deep inside we still wish for it. in the end of the book we see Ivan lying down in his bed thanking God for all that he has even though that day he woke up in 17 below weather, walked for miles, toiled all day, and got almost no food at all.

As the author says, “The boss had gotten them good rates for their work. He’d felt good making that wall. They hadn’t found that piece of steel in the frisk. Caesar had paid him off that evening. He’d bought some tobacco. Nothing had spoiled the day and it had been almost happy” (Solzhenitsyn, p. 188). Above mentioned are the small things that made the atrocious, chilly prison camp seem “almost happy”. This is how we learn about the characteristic of optimism that was present within Ivan.

Perhaps it was this characteristic of his personality, to see good in every thing was the reason why he survived for so long in the camp. Solzhenitsyn makes us see deeper into a personality than anyone could ever have done in just one day. A vast number of definitions have been introduced for the term “freedom” . Certain people would define freedom to be the permission of letting a person do what ever they wish to do with respect to their body, whilst another definition states that freedom is letting a person think without any barriers.

While some would say that true human freedom is a combination of both. In a number of his book, particularly One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn puts forward the thought that the mind is not really free. He supposed that seeing as there is an intrinsic yearning for appreciation within the human race, any beliefs that concur with the standards of society cannot be considered free thinking given that the intellectual could merely be probing for authorization.

Solzhenitsyn simple supposed that it was virtually impracticable to have accurately free opinion under the prison camp conditions (Christopher, p. 18). Every single day in the life of a prisoner was a challenge to pass through. For instance, according to a rule in the prison, prisoners would not have to do outdoor labor ONLY IF the thermometer reaches -41°C (-41. 8°F) for that day, but temperature above that was bearable for the higher authorities and men were made to do their outside labor.

All the way through the book, the reader is constantly reminded about the severity of the conditions, deteriorated by the derisory bedding and clothing. The boots that were given to the prisoners were never the right size and rarely fitted, they were not allowed to keep additional pieces of clothes, either they had to be used for something or they would be taken away. For examples, the mittens given to them on rare occasions were torn away. Identification numbers were assigned to every single prisoner for easy identification and also to make them feel lower.

Ivan Denisovich’s prisoner identity was Щ-854. every single day, assignments for the day would be received by the squad, which then had to be carried out as their food would be given to them in accordance with their performance. With this, the whole squad had to work together for their own as well as everyone elses good considering that if one person lacked in his assigned work, the qhole dquad would receive punishement. Inspite of this we get to learn that there was a really strong loyalty that existed between the prisoners, with all of them teaming up and helping each other steal food etc.

This was perhaps the only activity they could do apart from their everyday tasks. The themes of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich are focused basically on the commanding domination as well as every mans survival. What has been particularly discussed is the tyranny and detestation towards the fellow man, basicaly rising from prison officials in positions of power. For instance the most cruel and severe officer was Volkovoi and by reputation he was known to bear hit whoever he wished to with or without reason.

It is through the character of Ivan Denisovich that we learn that everything is commanded by the camp commandment to the point that people have no sense of time, the prisoners are never allowed to rest and never get time to sit with each other and talk. The most basic need of all the men in prison is to find a way to survive. Another very important aspect was that of attitude. Every single prisoner was given a grade if the officers considered one to be obedient and that you obeyed all the orders and one would get punished if they thought better of themselves.

Punishments such as verbal and physical abuse to days and days of solitary confinement were common for thinking good of yourself (Solzhenitsyn, p. 188). Conclusion In the light of the above discussion we can hereby culminate that in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novel `One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich` we get to learn about the life of prisoners of a Siberian labor camp where they have no freedom and no respect no matter what they did and survival was very hard for them.

Works Cited

Burg, David. Solzhenitsyn: A Biography. Stein & Day. New York 1972. Pp. 21 Medvedev, Zhores. Ten Years after Ivan Denisovich. United States of America. 1974. Pp. 48 Moody, Christopher. Solzhenitsyn. Oliver & Boyd. Edinburgh. (1973) Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. New York. 1977. Pp. 160-188

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