The Siberian Work Camp and One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

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The Siberian Work Camp and One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

In Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn describes in three volumes the Russian prison system known as the gulag. That work, like Kafka's The Trial, presents a culture and society where there is no justice - in or out of court. Instead, there is a nameless, faceless, mysterious bureaucracy that imposes its will upon the people, coercing them to submit to the will of the state or face prison or death. In One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, we are presented with exactly what the titles tells us, one day in the life of Ivan Denisovich. However, Ivan Denisovich spends his days in the gulag in Siberia, freezing and starving with the other prisoners while
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For those who had the misfortune of being locked up in prison by the state (millions of people), these conditions were exacerbated to the point of concentration camp deprivation and abuse "There wouldn't be a warm corner for a whole month. Not even a doghouse. And fires were out of the question. There was nothing to build them with. Let your work warm you up, that was your only salvation" (Solzhenitsyn 19). We are treated to one day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, a former member of the army who is serving the ninth year of a ten year sentence because he has been convicted of being a spy for the Germans. Often called zek, a Russian word for prisoner, Ivan and the other men become numbers which is a criticism of how the Russian people are mere numbers to communist leaders.

When the day begins we see that Ivan wakes up just as he has countless times for nine years, to the freezing, harsh, conditions of the Siberian labor camp to which he has been assigned. The Siberian camp experience is one filled with cold, hunger, and hopelessness. Ivan's day presented to us in detail is the authors attempt to portray the harsh conditions of this environment in some way to make us empathize with the character it took to endure such an environment on a daily basis for years. Ivan wakes up earlier than the others because he enjoys some free time before work begins. He performs various tasks from sewing mittens to collecting dishes to
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