Sunday, September 14, 2014

Question Commander Bethany G

Why did Shukhov believe that every four weeks a new moon was born?

From what I understood, was the he believes that stars fall down and the gaps have to be filled. I think that because every time a full moon is shown in the sky, the next day it is small, and gets bigger and bigger the next days. It looks like it looks like it is getting rebuilt each night. He believes that every new moon is a different moon.  On page 108, where he mentioned this, he also said “ What’ strange about that? People are born every day. Why not a moon every four weeks? ” I think that this quote made most of the think and actually start to believe him, but since they were guards, they didn’t.

Although, is that what everyone believed? Why didn’t other people believe him?

I think that he was the only one that believed that and many people couldn’t really think of it as much as him. They had no reason o not believe him, but many people chose not to. I think the guards chose not to because he is a prisoner and they don’t like prisoners. They think they are higher than the prisoners and the prisoners don’t know what they are talking about.

Wouldn’t the guard prefer to look into the bag and be safe than just let Shukhov go?

I think that he should have checked because that’s his job, although it was good for Shukhov If I was that guard I think my main priority would be to do my job instead of rushing it because I would get in a lot of trouble if I didn’t. What if I was a security guard, and I let many people into a place or out of a place, they could have robbed or been armed. It would hurt all of us and it would be me to blame. I think that the guards were very lazy to get everything done, and same as the manager who wanted to go fast.


  1. Bethany,

    I can connect to your firs question because when I was little I also thought it was really weird how the moon changed shapes every night. In my head, I also thought it might be a different moon every day. On the second post, I agree with you that they had no reason to believe him, Yet, I also think that it is because the soldiers don't have time to think about it so they don't mind if it is true or not, they are worried with other things that are more important, which, in my opinion, makes Shukhov unique. He thinks about things that most soldiers don't.
    I also agree that the guard should have checked Shukhov's bag because that is his job and he is not doing what he is supposed to if he doesn't look at it. It could be something very dangerous and with a gun, which could make Shukhov to be able to run away from prison. Therefore, i believe the guard did the wrong thing by not checking his bag, even though it was favorable for Shukhov.

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  3. Great post Bethany

    I like your first question the most because it is very interesting. I like when you said "It looks like it looks like it is getting rebuilt each night" because the moon does look like it is getting rebuilt, even though it isn't. I also agree with you when you said the guards disagreed with Shukhov because they were guards and they didn't like prisoners.
    I also agree with you in your last answer in question 3. You said that if you were that guard you would do your work not rushing, and that you wouldn't want to get in trouble. I agree with you because I wouldn't want to get in trouble. Lastly before I knew how the moon disappeared I thought that always used to hide. I was fascinated until the teacher told me that the moon just went behind earth, and came out the other side. But the point is that I used to think like Shukhov when he thought the moon filled in the gaps.

    But I have one question

    Would you have agreed with Shukhov when he mentioned the moon filled in the gaps?

  4. Bethany,
    I thought that it was interesting that you mentioned the whole concept of the moon and it being rebuilt each night. When I first read that section in the book I was not struck by that part, however, your question made me go back to that scene and reread it. Now looking back at it, I thought it was interesting the difference of the two beliefs on how the moon went up in the sky. The captain believed something completely different than what Shukhov believed. In my eyes, this is a way of the author to show what the thinking of the prisoners was like over there. This is also extremely important for us to understand a bit about the people and society's beliefs. Shukhov believes that because of what he was told in his village, that god crumbled the moon and made it into stars.This shows that their ideas are influenced by popular belief and therefore do not have the exposure to science and what is "real" at that point. The captain's idea is also not the truth, it is a representation of it. I did not know that Shukhov was a religious man, only that he prayed when he ate, but now, seeing his response as to why he believes in God, I see him differently. Just as they did back when science was not as advanced, I believe people use religion to explain the things that they do not have answers to. That is why Shukhov uses God to explain the moon's cycle.

  5. Bethany, I had to answer the first question because I didn't understand the third. (And the second is linked to the second question) I think that there is a meaning to this passage. The author wouldn't have written a page of this scene for no reason, so I think that it could be a metaphor. He says that a moon is born every month and you said that the moon is being rebuilt every month. Maybe it's not just the moon that is being rebuilt. Maybe it's a conflict, or something else but I am sure that there is something else Shukhov is trying to tell us. Maybe you can help me figure it out. What do you think that Shukhov is trying to tell us through this new moon scenario?

  6. Hey Bethany,

    Answering your first question, I also agree about Shukhov's theory of replacing the stars every month. However, I also think that he says this because of the monthly moon cycle. Every month, the moon wanes- this means that it goes from a full moon to a barely noticable crescent. Maybe Shukhov thought that since the moon went and appeared, that it was being rebuilt/born on a monthly basis.

    Of course, there is this physical aspect of this section, but what about the metaphorical? I think that the author was trying to give us a message by telling us this theory of the moon. Was he trying to challenge us to question our own beliefs? Was he trying to communicate to us that Shukhov was a simple man? Or was he simply trying to express the difference of beliefs between these two time periods? You decide.

  7. For the first question I think that the reason why he thought about it, was because of something religious that every four weeks a new moon would be born. For the second one, I think that they didn't believe him because in the prison you would need to have trust on people, because some are very dangerous, so you need to spend some time with them to know how they are. And for the third one since Shukov was there already for a long time and never did anything wrong, so I think that he earned the guards trust.

  8. Bethany,
    I really like the way you took quotes from the passage you were talking about, but I want to make some comments about Ivan´s thoughts. I think that the thing of the moon, that the moon changes every four weeks is because the phases of moon. Just like your image. And why the guards didn´t believe him? Okay it wasn´t because they didn´t choose to believe him just like that it was because they thought he was a fool, and also because prisoners like Ivan had been in the Gulag for so long that they have gone mad.

  9. Bethany,

    Wow! So many thoughtful, engaging questions you have right there!

    To begin with, I would like to answer your first and second question, which ask why Shukhov believed new moons were always being created and why other people didn't want to believe him. So, recently, I have read Alejandro A's post (Risk Taking Researcher), which contained plenty of information that will help me answer your question. Thanks for that, Alejandro. Moving on then, one of the predominant religions in the Soviet Union at the time was the Orthodox Christianity. Orthodoxy, translating literally to "correct belief". The moon, as AA researched, has a tie with the gregorian calendar and how it works. Though the system is quite complex, it mostly calculates that Easter needs to be always on a Sunday, which is one of its main functions. Therefore, this might leads us to believe that it is part of a local religion. Even though the main religions' customs are very well known, smaller derivations of those exist throughout the world, and the one philosophy Shukhov believes in is the one that his family and local townsfolk used to have faith in. Though this religion talk is somewhat confusing to speak of, we can relate it back to the times where religion and science "fought" against each other, mostly during the renaissance and the times of discovery. Religion is just based on faith and your own belief, while science is based on real world fact that was proved that exists. For instance, Galileo Galilei was tortured and killed for thinking that the Sun was the center of the Solar System, not the earth, while contradicting what the religion in the epoch was saying. Another example is when Darwin came up with his evolution theory, which says humans evolved from apes and expresses other ideas such as the "survival of the fittest" that says that those who endure, survive, and are strong evolve, while the weakest die and are extinct. This concept also contradicts religion, as Christian beliefs state that God created humans directly, instead of this evolution theory. In contrast, Shukhov believes that a new moon is born after a certain period of time, which differs from his companion's beliefs that might not agree with this "fact". Even though we know that this actually isn't "true", Ivan still has faith in it for him, and that is all that matters.

    Bethany, thank you so much for sharing your deep, insightful thoughts with me. Great job!