One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich..Reveiw

2687 words - 11 pages

alexsander Solzhenitsyn's novel sander Solzhenitsyn's novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich chronicles one man's struggle for survival in a harsh Siberian labor camp. After World War II, many Russian men were put into Siberian prison camps under false charges. Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, imprisoned for alleged treason against the Soviet government, is one of these men. He is a strong man, determined to live out his sentence and to be free. The primary theme in this novel is the endurance of humanity and fight for survival. This theme is known throughout the world and touches many people close to heart; survival is a fight every human must take part in, although ones fight is much easier than others.
The novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is obviously intentionally not written as a sensational story. It concentrates on one man, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, as he attempts to survive another day in a Soviet concentration camp with dignity and humanity. One would think that since it was written during a time of turmoil and oppression it would be a political indictment, however I found it to be more than that. Its power derives from its depiction of a man retaining his humanity under inhumane conditions. All through this novel, the theme of human survival is present. My definition of survival is successfully making it through a certain circumstance. Solzhenitsyn uses the characters in the novel to show this theme by their behavior, reactions, and their own actions. He also used setting to help display and develop the theme in the novel, by giving the impression of eerie, hopeless, and angry feelings in his settings, by using such places as the sick room, and the work site. Even in the direst situations, the character of Shukhov (as well as most of the other characters in the novel) always retain 'human' aspects, whether it be using good manners, being honest, or making new friends. Once a Zek stops doing these things, he has lost his humanity.
The amount or work the prisoners were required to do was enough to keep them going, but then to have to worry about the cold and completing the task to the captains expectations, life for prisoners was tough. Although prisoner maintain their humanity and dignity by small acts and rituals, such as counting days, hours, minutes and weeks. Every prisoner knew the exact number of days in his stretch, from the first to the last, including the extra leap year days. Time was not something they had much of, and when the prisoners it was usually squandered re-counts, or extra work. The little free time the prisoners got, before roll call in the morning, over meals, or simply waiting for work to begin became so precious and sacred. Conversely, any time that was squandered was stolen time, time taken away from them, time which was theirs. The prisoners weren't able to take time off; in fact the only chance they got at having a day off was if the temperature fell below -44°C. The only other way the...

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