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One Day In Life Of Ivan Denisovich English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1311 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The destruction of human solidarity takes in many format through trials and tribulations of Ivan from the novel one Day on the Life of Ivan Denisovich and the fellow man of Ivan in the camp by force and hardcore work. Mercy is not even shown, the hardcore camp life in which Ivan works with his fellow people who are not even given proper food to eat and things to use. They are given food as per their work and are even made to work despite of their illness.

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“The zek’s main enemy is another zek”. Throughout the novel, Solzhenitsyn depicts the ways in which competition and conflict between prisoners further worsen life in prison. A hierarchy that exists between prisoners who work inside and those who work outside the camp. Prisoners with power, like the cook or building foreman, abuse that power, mostly by taking from or punishing other prisoners. The lack of amenities or even necessities in the camp forces the prisoners to turn against each other in order to survive

Solzhenitsyn demonstrates, through repeated examples, the ways in which internment in a “special” camp robs the individual of his humanity. The power of these examples is increased by Solzhenitsyn’s repeated use of understatement. For Shukhov and his fellow prisoners, this loss of humanity has become so commonplace as to cease to outwardly upset them. For example, when the guard taunts Shukhov about the way in which he washes the floor, saying, “Didn’t you ever watch your wife scrub the floor, pig?”

Similarly, we see an example of stolen humanity in the mess hall scene. “There at the table, before dipping his spoon in, a young man crossed himself. Again, Solzhenitsyn demonstrates the destructive power of the camp system on the human spirit not through external abuses imposed upon the prisoners by the guards but through the prisoner’s own internalized responses to this lengthy imprisonment. Solzhenitsyn’s morality, as appears in his books, was based on deeply held religious beliefs – beliefs which under the Soviet government he was unable to make known. This loss of religion, which might otherwise provide a panacea for the hopelessness of the camps, is yet another example of the Stalinist system’s abuse not only of human bodies but of human souls.

The question of whether humanity is necessary or even beneficial to survival is touched upon when Shukhov recalls “Kuziomin‹a hard bitten prisoner who had already been in for twelve years by 1943” who told himself and other new prisoners about the types of people who manage to live. “Those who lick other men’s leftovers, those who count on the doctors to pull them through, and those who squeal on their buddies,” he says, do not survive. Though Shukhov knows that the squealers do survive – at the cost of their own humanity – he respects and agrees with most of Kuziomin’s statement. For Shukhov, avoiding the before-breakfast mess hall, where he might be tempted to lick out another man’s bowl, is a significant step towards maintaining his humanity and surviving his sentence. This completely shows the inhumane attitude towards humanity and human soul.

Shukhov and his fellow prisoners exist in a prison camp where their bodies, their labor, and even their language are controlled by authorities. No longer citizens of the Soviet Union, they are not allowed to call the guards “comrade” but must refer to them as “citizen,” thus marking through their very language their recognition of their inferior status. Similarly, the requirement that all prisoners do ff their hats to guards when passing them in the paths of the camp forces the prisoners to recognize their inferior, powerless status. How then, in an environment in which their every move and word is controlled and monitored, can a prisoner maintain his freedom and humanity? This depicts the partiality and the slavery of people.

.In “One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich” ,Ivan is innocent but is nonetheless punished by the government for being a spy.The day begins with Shukhov waking up sick. For waking late, he is sent to the guardhouse and forced to clean it-a minor punishment compared to others mentioned in the book. the whole camp lives by the rule of survival of the fittest.Those in the camps found everyday life extremely difficult. Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, the protagonist of the novel. The reader is able to see Russian camp life through Denisovich’s eyes. Information is given through his thoughts, feelings and actions which portray camp life through many of its restricted activities. The themes of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich center on authoritative oppression and camp survival. Specifically discussed is the cruelty and spite towards the fellow man, namely from prison officials. Solzhenitsyn explains through Ivan Denisovich that everything is managed by the camp commandment up to the point where time feels unnoticed Often considered the most powerful indictment of the USSR’s gulag ever made, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich forced Western intellectuals to acknowledge their sins of omission in regards to the Soviet human rights record

As Ivan is smoking, Shukhov hears someone shout that the guards are stripping them all the way to their undershirts to search them. Lieutenant Volkovi, the security chief, who scares both prisoners and guards, is supervising the search. When he came to the camp in ’49, he used to carry a thick leather whip with him, which he used to lash those who stood in a group, rather than a line, at evening count. This not only shows the illogical way for searching but a dirty politics of insulting prisoners is depicted.

“Yes, we were born to be beasts of burden,’ the other labourer agreed with the first one.

“We carry loads now and we shall carry loads forever.’ He laughed. These statements shows the apathy of the labourers who are made to work in an inhuman manner and to work below their dignity as they do not even have a free thinking towards life while in “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” we see Shukhov, who is a simple, uneducated peasant, used to withstanding hardships and physical labor even in his life before the war and his incarceration in the camps.

The ultimate goal of the novel is to keep human dignity intact which we see in the form of Ivan ,who thinks that human should survive with dignity and should serve humanity.

The novel are the masterpiece of their time and depicts the apathy of human racism and religious differences in different countries and different people. It gives us the message that “humanity” is the biggest religion and a person who respects humanity is true to his nation and society. Torture, is not taught in any religion. One should should think rationally by supporting human ways of dealing with problems and respecting very life.

The profound portrayal of human feelings and sensitivities is on full display in each

and every sentence penned by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The immaculate description which they provides of each and every scene makes you feel as if you are right in there witnessing the action unfold.It brings out details so clearly that you can almost visualize the communal danger that grips the in the camps. The characters and events are described so intricately that you can almost feel the helplessness of the victims and can’t help but shed a tear for those who are there in the camp and those who suffered and ofcourse above all human diignity and respect



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