Sunday, September 7, 2014

Question Commander - Helena Segall

1. Why do the prisoners have to make up for the day that they did not have to work due to the blizzards?

I think that what the authorities are trying to tell them is that there is no time for them to rest. Throughout all my comments and my posts I have been saying that either the prisoners were but in the gulag because they did something really bad or they were put in there by mistake. I think that the authorities are trying to tell them that they are going to regret doing whatever they do and that is by torturing them. The prisoners will have to work every single day, and do every single thing that the authorities tell them to do or else they will have to do their work another day. I have been really thinking when I am reading the book and every time that I hear something really bad that the

authorities do I feel really bad for those prisoners who were mistakenly thrown into the gulag. I feel like they are doing work, for no reason. On the other hand, for those who actually should be in the gulag I feel like the authorities are trying to make them learn a lesson, and they feel like the best way to do that is by not letting the prisoners rest.

Link (no sleeping)

2. Do you think that the authorities are over exaggerated?

As I mentioned above I think that the prisoners deserve not to be treated politely, but sometimes I think that the authorities over exaggerate. I think that the prisoners are either to learn a lesson, and to know that they should never make the same error again. Although, sometimes I think that the guard are being way to strict on the prisoners and that if they keep doing that all of the prisoners will die and the gulag will close. For example, the prisoners were avoiding letting the cold get in because they would die if they were exposed to that weather. I feel like on those occasions the prisoners should stop working, and they should receive at least proper clothes so that they won't freeze to death. I feel like they want to the prisoners to get killed, so why instead of making them do so much work and make the prisoners suffer just kill them

Link (suffering)

3. Why does the government have the power to extend the years a prisoner has to be in the gulag?
I think that the government can't only choose if the person has to have extend years of punishment or not. I think that they have to follow some guidelines. For example, has the prisoner not followed the rules often. Or does the prisoner gets in a lot of fights with authorities and even other prisoners. Also, do you think that the prisoner has not learned his or her lesson yet. I think that the government should have to follow these rules before making a decision in wether the prisoner will or will not have to stay extra years in the gulag. If the government did not have to follow the rules and make a decision based on their instincts I think that it would not be fare for all of the fellow prisoners. They all get a time when they are released, for example Shukhov's was 10 years and if they have to stay longer for no reason the government looses their point in even making time limits, they should just dismiss the people whenever they feel like they should.


  1. Helena,

    great post! Your questions are very thought-provoking and thoughtful, as I am willing to respond to all your doubts.

    To begin with, I would like to answer your second question, which asks if I think the authorities are too harsh with the prisoners. In my opinion, I think they are extremely over exaggerated. Stalin, the Soviet dictator at the time, as you might know, was completely insane. He used to jail everyone that did not agree with his communist way of government and sent them to these gulags just to suffer, just like Shukhov and the other prisoners are. Did you know he actually killed twenty million people that were against his philosophies? Therefore, people were sent to these camps to be tortured. Overall, of course it is over exaggerated. To think of it, it is absolutely insane the amount of pain these people needed to go through just because they spoke badly of the communism, of Joseph Stalin, or committed "treason" to the nation.
    Now, for your second question, you asked why did the government have the power to extend the sentence of a prisoner. Actually, at the time, the Soviet Union was a communist dictatorship, meaning that the sole dictator had all the power of the nation. Joseph Stalin was actually the executive, judicial, and legislative branches in one person. Due to this, he totally commanded the nation, meaning that he could do whatever he wanted with anyone, and could easily extend the prisoners' sentence.
    Helena, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!

  2. Helena,

    When reading your post, I noticed that the second question made me think. "Do you think the authorities are over exaggerating?" When i first read the question, I immediately thought yes. I think they are over exaggerating, but to the people that didn't do anything wrong. But, to the men that went against the law, or did something wrong, they deserve it. I think that when someone does something unacceptable, they should be punished at a right amount. Your last sentence interested me, if they want them killed, don't punish them, kill them. I don't necessarily agree with you, because when someone does something bad, you wouldn't want them dead. You would want them to suffer as much as the victim. Do you agree with me? Wouldn't you rather hurt the person who hurt you, instead of getting rid of them? Maybe it's just me who thinks like that, but that is the only way I see justice. When you get rid of someone, you are only going to push them back, but they will find their way. Your should never give up without a fight.

  3. Helena,

    Great questions. They can be simple, but they can craft other thoughtful ideas.

    The question that caught my attention was the first one. You said that maybe the reason the prisoners did more work after the blizzards was because they have no time to rest. In my opinion, I agree with your thought. If a prison is not fortified for the next day, after it got damaged by a disaster, it might be demolished by another incoming disasters such as blizzards, earthquakes, tornados, and even tsunamis. Furthermore, Natural disasters are able to break building into pieces, and even obliterate a whole town, meaning that if they don't work after a blizzard, the prison might get ruined.

    I also agree with your thought because of the prisoners' learning. If someone doesn't work, they don't learn. An example would be with a student. Imagine if a student didn't pay attention in class, didn't do his assignments, and didn't care about the test. The student would probably (extremely likely) to fail the topic he is learning since he didn't learn. Same concept goes to prisoners. If they don't work, and get a day of rest, they will get lazy, meaning that it will decrease their rate in working, and they won't learn from their working. Adding on, if they get double the work the day after the blizzard, they will learn to work hard.

    After all this, I ask, did my idea enhance yours? The reason I ask this is because I was able to come up with another detail, and I wanted to see if you learn more.

    Another question I ask is, what do you think would happen if prisoners didn't do double the work after a blizzard (or any other natural disaster)? The reason I ask this question is because the I talked about the learning of people, and if prisoners got rest days, their learning and experiences might change.

    Overall, I think your question made me think deeply about the learning of people.


  4. Helena, I think that you did a really nice and thoughtful post. I agree with you in most of the question. I think that I have different point of view in some question. On your first comment: "Why do the prisoners have to make up for the day that they did not have to work due to the blizzards?” I agree to your answer in this question but I also think that they work after the blizzard to catch up with the job because it is a time of war and so they have to help each other and do their jobs to protect the camp and to keep the camp clean and organized. It is like doing laundry, have to do laundry once in two days but if one day you forget to do laundry and wait two days you will spend much more time doing laundry and you won’t have many options to wear. I think that is why you have to make up for the days their is blizzard.
    Helena for question #2 "Do you think that the authorities are over exaggerated?" I agree with your answer but I have a question for you: Why do you think the prisoners should be treated badly? Because the prisoners aren’t exactly there because they did something bad, it is more because tit is war and they are soldiers from the other country. Back to the question I agree with your answer and I think that should exaggerate so the camp is nice, clean, and organized.
    For the 3rd and last question "Why does the government have the power to extend the years a prisoner has to be in the gulag?” I had the same thoughts to this question than you so I don’t have a question or a comment. In conclusion, I think you post was really nice and thoughtful.

  5. I agree with question 3 when you said "Why does the government have the power to extend the years a prisoner has to be in the gulag?" This question is a very impacting question to the book. I agree when you said that the government should follow those rules and then decide wether the prisoner will or will not have to stay extra years in the camp. This was a great post, good job.

  6. Helena,

    I really like your post and I think anyone who reads it ends up thinking more deeply about the story and how you answered each question. I really like your questions and the way you answered them. Throughout your whole post i could agree with something and had also different opinions from you. On the second question at first i thought the authorities were exaggerating, but when i finished reading your answer my opinion changed. Your last sentence made me think deeper about the question and i came to a point where i don't really agree with you. If someone hurt you, you would probably want to make them suffer as much as you did and not just end with them. You would want them to be tortured as much as possible and not just kill them where the pain you end fast. And thinking more about it the authorities probably did everything they did to the prisoners for a reason. They wanted the prisoners to suffer as much as they could take.

    I couldn't agree more with you on the third question "Why does the government have the power to extend the years a prisoner has to be in the gulag?" In your answer this sentence "do you think that the prisoner has not learned his or her lesson yet." really made me think. Your answer goes through every possible aspect and is really thoughtful.

    In conclusion congratulations for your post and i really enjoyed reading through your questions and answers.They make us think from another point of view which is very interesting.