Ivan Denisovich Shukhov By Alexander Solzhenitsyn

1399 Words Nov 16th, 2015 6 Pages
Viktor E. Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who also had survived the Holocaust, writes “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves” (BrainyQuote). Frankl survived genocide against his own people and still chose to have a positive outlook on it because he understands that if he did not, he would continually live an unhappy, upset life. Like Frankl, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, the main character in One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, contains a similar outlook to that of Frankl. The novel takes place during Soviet Russia in a gulag in Siberia, or otherwise known as a labor work camp. The whole book is about only one day that Shukhov lives; from 5 in the morning to 10 at night and all that happens in between. In this labor camp, not only are the weather conditions very cold, making it difficult to work in such circumstances, but also the workers are punished and harshly treated if they do not obey the guards. When placed in this environment, it is easy to be discouraged and miserable, but instead of facing the negatives of his situation, Shukhov remains affirmative in his thoughts – which are most important in order to survive not only physically, but also mentally. This stoicism portrayed in the narrative can also be found in Epictetus’s work, The Handbook. In this text, Epictetus discusses how he believes people can live a happy life, despite the hard conditions they are put through…
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