One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich
According to Josef Stalin, communism would develop into the most efficient, fair, and advantageous government on the planet. He projected that communism would create an ideal society that would provide for the needs of all citizens and do so equally. Stalin spoke obsessively of the dangers to world peace and the need for vigilance against internal enemies. Conformity was enforced by police terror, and by a mindless Stalinist cult. Censorship and imprisonment came swift to any likely dissenter, which is why Solzhenitsyn's One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich was an unlikely find in the 1962 literary magazine, Novy Mir. Solzhenitsyn's story demonstrated the failures and atrocities of Communism often concealed from the public eye. With One Day In the Life..'s controversial message and Russia's strict censoring policy, it is shocking that many of the items in Solzhenitsyn's work were released to the public alarming Russians who were promised absolute efficiency of the system, equality, and the preservation of all basic human rights (Vigilancia).
Under the Soviet system - and especially under Stalin - there was a great deal of media manipulation. Anything that did not glorify Stalin was erased from public record. This system was distressingly efficient, making almost three generations believe only parts of history Stalin and his followers wanted them to believe. The system included the burning of books, doctoring of pictures and even the jailing of dissenters (King). In One Day In the Life Of Ivan Denisovich, Solzhenitsyn portrays many of these dissenters jailed for their disloyalty to the current government. In order to depict these rebels properly, Solzhenitsyn used many realistic examples of rebellious conduct that Stalin would have detested. One example of this is found when Ivan overhears Tsezar and X123 discussing the film Ivan the Terrible by Sergei Eisenstein (pg. 67). The mere discussion of sixteenth century Tsar Ivan IV, whom Stalin very much admired, caused great controversy at a time when Kruhrushchev was struggling for power (pg. xii).
Other shocking moments in One Day In the Life.. are found when Solzhenitsyn decides to expose the shortcomings or failures of communist officials often portrayed to be infallible machines. Illustrations of this are found when Solzhenitsyn reveals the failures or inefficiency of the guards and commanders. At one point in the novel, the author discusses how many of the prisoners came to the GULAG under false accusations and many were not the "deceivers of the Soviet Power" they...