Analysis Of One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Summary and Critique
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a story set in labor camp describing a single day in the life of an ordinary prisoner, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. Shukhov was captured by the Germans who felt that he was spying for their belligerent parties in the Second World War. Although, Shukhov was innocent, the authorities sentenced him to ten years in a forced labor camp monitored by the Soviet gulag system. The story narrates the extremely harsh conditions in which these prisoners, including Shukhov, are treated to. The novel depicts temperatures that are too low to maintain any type physical well-being and anything above -42oC is considered bearable. The extremely low temperatures do not only make it difficult for the prisoners to work but also contribute to their health problems. (Solzhenitsyn 19-48). The story has many characters, but the most mentioned include Ivan, Alyosha, Gopchik, Andrey Prokofyevich, Fetiukov, Buinovsky, Tsezar Markovich, Pavlo, Senka Klevshin and Ivan Kilgas. The main theme in the story is about isolation and oppression. I do not think the story was able to explicitly explain a theme of freedom of identity within one’s self or within a society given that Ivan Shukhov was jailed without proper trial, instead the story gives more attention to camp survival and oppression, with little mention of the rights of the prisoners. The prisoners, especially Shukhov must endure
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