Why did the prisoners were so interested in the mortar and the blocks, and so engaged to win each other instead of being focus in the real problems?
When you are the worst of cases the only thing that keep you alive is hope. Hope makes you wish for something better, for some possibility in life, of a different reality. Being thinking about all the bad things surrounding you (in the case of the prisoners they had pretty hard lives and they had to earn each thing with their labor in the camp) make you hopeless, with no hopeless you are dead. The prisoners raced and play sort of “games“ to unfocussed the reality they were going through and to have a reason and a right to have more food or more privileges and to have kind of a better way of living. Also when everybody was gone and Shukhov stay the author expressed this: “Just throw it over the wall. But t Shukhov wasn't made that way— eight years in a camp would´t change his nature. He worried about anything he could make use of, about every scrap of work he could do— nothing must be wasted with no good reason.“ That was the way the men in the prison were educated, or maybe just Shukhov.
Why was important for the prisoners of the Gulag to show their power and to compete against each other continually?
The resources in the prison where few and, as the author has told before, the oatmeal, the bread, the soup and the clothes were limited and not in available in every season, so the prisoners had to earn them and to take care of the ones they already had. Also to be the squad leader had a cost and it was a difficult job but with privileges, like when Shukhov noticed that Tzesar had a new vest or they could send more letters per year, etc. So the prisoners were basically forced to fight for their food, clothes and in fact for their lives.
Which ones were the thoughts of Ivan Denisovich about being in jail? He seemed very focus on his labor, but what were his real thoughts and the reason that impulse him to continue?
Ivan Denisovich was a quiet man, a man that lives his thoughts for himself instead of waste breath speaking un useful stuff to other people. He had a goal, that´s obvious, but he was so focus on that goal that he had forgot what the real problems are. We know he once had a son but that son is dead and he had a wife and two grown up daughters, I guess that was his goal to be reunited with them and to have a real life again. He almost ignore everyone else but he was always there, he was alert of every movement of his mates, pending of a chance to be closer to his goal.