Essay - One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich

Essay - One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich - Raluca...

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Raluca Muresan Final Essay POS 494 Professor Orlich 11.28.2007 One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Alexander Solzhenitsyn created a complex novel that offers one a clear insight into a concentration camp in Siberia and a truthful account of the atrocities committed by the Soviet Union against the unfortunate people who were sentenced to live in the gulags. The book therefore recounts the truth the Russian authorities tried to hide from the large public, but the publication of this novel brought to light the almost unbearable situation and conditions in which the prisoners had to live. Solzhenitsyn uses the technique of the omniscient narrator by letting Ivan Denisovich, present the story of one day in his existence in the camp, the author only intervening to fill in some gaps in the narration. This technique gives more authenticity to the narrative while appealing to the reader’s emotions to create a great impact. The title of the novel “One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich” is therefore eponymic the name of the main character being incorporated in it. The title lets the reader know that this work will presents one day in a person’s life, although, after one begins reading the book one will realize that it has a double meaning. Every day of a person’s live in the gulag is the same, with some small exceptions, following the same schedule imposed by the authorities. The central figure, Ivan Denisovich, is a simple peasant who ended up in prison like the majority of the people there, because he was forced to sign a false statement. He was a war soldier and after he was captured by the Germans from where he managed to
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escape he was sent to Siberia after being accused of spying for the Nazis, although neither he nor the interrogator knew what information he offered for the Russia’s enemy. However, although such injustice was committed against him and although he spent more that eight years in various gulags he did not lose his humanity. He remained a warmhearted person, helping his friends and the ones who he considered weaker than him such as Alyosha, Seneka or Buinovsky. On the other hand he became stronger in the concentration camp, learning to survive and to earn extra money by sowing jackets or making slippers and getting extra food by doing little favors for higher ranked zeks. The beginning of the day is not promising at all because Denisovich has a fever and he aches all over his body. He wishes to stay in and rest but his plan does not materialize because the doctor cannot excuse from work more than two men and Ivan was too late. For a person in today’s world it would seem ridiculous to go to work when one has a temperature of +99°, but in the camp it was not a sufficient reason to skip work since health, and even life itself, is not valued by anyone. On the contrary, all conditions in camp are conductive to a certain poor health. The lack of food, sleep and of heat are the major problems that Ivan together with the rest of the prisoners have to face, and
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This note was uploaded on 11/03/2009 for the course POS/REL POS 494 taught by Professor Orlich during the Fall '07 term at ASU.

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Essay - One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich - Raluca...

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