Sunday, September 14, 2014

Question Commander - Jorge Ribeiro

During this section read, a question came right up in my head, and that question would be, why do the guards treat the prisoners this poorly?

I thought that the reason why they treated the prisoners this poorly, it was because I feel like the guards don't want to be guards in this Gulag as well, I feel that as much as the prisoners don't want to be there, so is the guards. This shows that the prisoners are being treated poorly because the guards despise the place, and they don't want to stay there. I think of that because in the book the prisoners look like they are calm, and still the guards treat them like that? I would agree if the prisoners were causing a riot, but in this case they are not, and when the guards check their baggage, what they do is they eat a part of the good food, which may be showing that they re not really fed well?

Another question is, why do the prisoners just stay up with these guards?

I know that you can't fight the guards, but I think they should, to show that if the prisoners aren't treated better they will fight over it, but what I really think is that the reason why the prisoners don't fight with the guards, is because they are trying to survive in that prison, and to survive they will need to stay each one on their own, because if they just decide to fight over everything, the guards will treat them each time even more poorly, and some privileges will be taken from him, for example, by fighting the guards he may get a harder labor work, or receive less food than he already had, so you will need more food because you are basically starving, and you will need easier work so you don't get tired.

My last question, would be a question that I had for a long time, why would the prisoners be put in such a horrible place like the Gulag?

The reason why I think they are put in such a horrible place, is that so the prisoners will never do it again, because, they have felt of the worse, and the experiences they had in the Gulag, they will never want to have again, so they will not do anything bad again. For example, what Ivan is experiencing is starvation, so now that he has experienced from the worse, he won't do it again, because he knows that if he gets arrested, again he will feel the same thing he felt, the lack of food, the excess of labor, all of this, would be stuck to his memory, probably as the worst part of his life, so he would do everything to not go in there again. I think that the reason that they put so much fear and do so much bad things for the prisoners, is all planned, so that they will never have somebody return to the Gulag.


  1. Jorge,
    I totally agree with the first two questions but I want to add some comments to the third one.
    I think the prisoners where putted into the Gulags not because they wanted them to not doing it again (well actually they wanted no to) but that is not the main point. They created the Gulags because: the first point is the war, the Communism stroked again and they thought nothing was important but punishing the way other people thought and the best way to do it was to repress them, and the best way to repress them? creating a place to keep them in fear.

  2. Jorge,

    Great post, you had questions that made me think, but the question that caught my attention was the second one.

    To begin with, you said that the prisoners are not trying to be against the guards because they want to survive inside the camp. In my opinion, I totally agree with you. Some pages before, the authorities said that if a prisoner took one step outside of their line of fives, it would be considered escaping, meaning that the guards would shot the person. Adding on, no one wants to be shot, since there might be a huge chance the person shot would die. Prisoners, like us, do not want to die by being shot, meaning that they must obey the authorities and the guards so that they "cheat" death.

    Something I have to disagree with you, is your solution. You said that if the prisoners started to fight against the guards, the guards would get harder work. In my opinion, it is the opposite. Looking in the perspective of power, the slaves/prisoners are in the lowest rank. This means that even if the authorities, which are in the highest rank, tell the guards what to do, the guards can still tell the prisoners what to do, since they have more power, meaning that the prisoners would get the harder work, and less food.

    I hope this enhanced your idea. My question now is, do you agree or disagree with my ideas? The reason I ask this question is because I want to see if you still think the same or changed.

    Still, great post.


  3. Hello Jorge !
    I though your three question were questions that make people think. Your first question refers to the idea that prisoners are mistreated by the guards. This question, in my opinion, is one that can't be clearly answered. I mean , they could do it because the government forces them to treat the prisoners that way. Maybe the guards just feel like they can do anything they want so they take advantage of the prisoners. I think for this more background knowledge is needed. Maybe by the end of the book, this question will be answered.

    For your second question, I agree, prisoners can't just fight with the guards because they feel that they are being mistreated. In my opinion, violence doesn't resolve anything.


    Finally, answering your third question, I agree. Even though it's not the best idea, the authorities believe that in order for criminals to reflect on what they have done, they should be put punished inside a prison. I think that the Gulag Camps are too harsh and unfair for the prisoners. As you stated, too much work and short amount of food provided.

    Do you think there could be other places the criminals could be sent to ? If yes, which places ?

    - Great Job ! Great Post !

  4. Jorge,
    I agreed with the entirety of your post, however I found that I had different Ideas for the second question. I think that prisoner's don't mess with the guards because they're simply tired. They don't want to and just complicate things, their life is already hard enough. I don't mean that the guards will treat them worse, but that the lines will take longer and they will take more precautions, and the prisoners don't want that. Another reason would be what was described in one of the pages, "a zeks worst enemy is another zek." I'm not formally quoting because I'm not completely sure where the quote is, but I'm sure it's in the book. How this applies is that no sole person wants to stand out, they will either be tattled on or hated on by other prisoners.