Book: A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Author: Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Job: Question Commander
Why would the "parrots" (sentries) not care at all about Ivan and Kilgas taking the roof felt (just an example), but certain authorities like Der actually care?
If you take a look at page 55 (I know it wasn't in assigned reading, I connected it with something later on though) it talks about the transport of the roof felt, and how the parrots wouldn't care they were taking it unless they were planning to escape. However, take a look at Der (around page 98) he seemed to be much more involved into the zek's life and build process. He had no intentions of backing off until he was physically threatened. Now, I have no idea if it's just to pressure the prisoner's, boredom, his rank, or whatever other possibilites there are of seperating him from the sentries. I think I'll take off rank from the list though, because, if sentries are required to watch the prisoner's and aren't doing their job, why should Der have to? The reason I do not think this applies too much to Der is because he does not seem to be very high up in the Gulag hierarchy. My thoughts come from the idea that people higher up wouldn't be checking the prisoner's and interacting with them (after all, as we've seen in the book people of higher stature think zeks are scum, so why should they have to deal with them?) So now I think it's because of boredom. As a sentry, and you are bored, you cannot rightfully leave your post and bother prisoners. No, that will certainly be noticed. In Der's case, he can do that, so why not bug the prisoner's for whatever reason you can find?
Why was the author putting in so many things regarding food/meals in these passages?
My main thought regarding this question is so that you get more immersed into the book, or at least get more of a picture of what is going on in these labor camps. We already read about comfort (there's still references here and there, it's not completely gone, and I don't think it will, it's just a permanent part of a prisoner's life), the whole thing with waking up, Ivan's possible illness, the temperature, etc. and now we're being bombarded with a gigantic amount of food references, even though there's really little of it but a great deal of importance. With each thread and each topic, we get more ideas on how the prisoner is experiencing life. As you hear Ivan hiding his scraps of bread, the crusts, yearning for an extra bowl of oatmeal, or even Ivan plainly eating the food itself, you marvel at how you have food much more exquisite than a piece of bread, but Ivan experiences much more fully than we ever did. How could you, that can spare several spices, seasonings, sauces, not sense what Ivan does with a straightforward slice of bread?
Why do prisoner's allow themselves to be forced to a certain goals without even a hint of struggle?
More towards the end of our assigned reading passages, the book explained how even in break time zeks would work if the squad leader asked them to. Now, I understand that everything the prisoner's strive for comes through him, but shouldn't the prisoner's at least complain they need the break? How come the books keep talking about "sweating blood" and all that stuff from work, but when a break gets cut in time they do not even bat an eye? Shouldn't the leader at least adress the situation/understand the need of a time of rest? I believe that because no one cares that they don't get as much rest takes away from the experience I'm getting. I'm fairly sure that in a real life situation at least one person would whine about it, unless there's something I'm missing. Could it be that the prisoner's are so worn down and broken that they just do not care anymore? Work me to death if you will, at least keep my limbs moving so I die a warm death? Is that seriously how the zeks are thinking? I don't know about you, but without a little more of explanation, I cannot see how no prisoner cares at all, as I bet there's prisoners with a strong will in there, a will not easily broken.
"Majdanek Concentration Camp." Majdanek Concentration Camp. Scrap Book Pages, 21 July 2009. Web. 07 Sept. 2014. <http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek.html>.
Ron. "US Slave." US Slave. Blogger, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2014. <http://usslave.blogspot.com.br/2011/05/mississippis-concentration-camps-on.html>.