Monday, September 15, 2014

Rotation #4 (Gaetano)

One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Alexander Solzhenitsyn 
Illustrious Artist
Pages 106- 133 

In the beginning of our reading section, there was a part where all the prisoners are delayed from entering the camp because of a missing prisoner. This image represents the moment where the prisoners were waiting at the gate.

To me, this section was very impacting. You can really see the ferocity and animalistic nature of these prisoners when the other prisoner goes missing. Even though Shukhov had originally been the one who was late, he himself a few minutes later changed into the raging beasts that had greeted him upon his arrival. This sort of primitive rage that was displayed when the prisoner was missing shows us how terrible the conditions must be in the camp for these prisoners to resort to such barbarian means. In the text, Shukhov even admits that if the guards were to hand the late prisoner to the zeks that they would rip him apart. This shows us how this gulag has broken these men to a point of no return. These men will do anything to get into the gate, even if it means ripping their comrades apart.


  1. Gaetano,

    Great picture and explanation, I was able to connect your text with the picture very well.

    To start with, you drew that picture because you wanted to show how impacting the section of the book was, since all prisoners were cursing the late prisoner. In my opinion, this part of the story was also shocking to me. The reason being is because of how prisoners reacted to the situation. In school, when a student gets late, the classmates will not care, since it is the responsibility of the person that got late to come earlier. Now, in the case of the book, if a prisoner gets late, everyone will care, because it made every prisoner to waste their time waiting for someone late. Because a late person made the other prisoners wait, the waiting prisoners get angry, meaning that they will curse the late prisoner so that he comes faster the next time. In conclusion, I thought this part was shocking because of the prisoner's reaction, which was ferociously cursing the late prisoner.

    After all this analysis, I ask, did this section of the book catch your attention because of how the prisoners acted (cursing)? The reason I ask this is because I want to see if you had the same perspective as me, or a different one.

    Still, great post.


  2. Gaetano,
    I have talked about similar topics in my post. I realized that this was the first time the author mentioned about barbaric actions by the prisoners. I really like how you chose this scenario for you illustration because I think it was a great passage to share. The author brings the idea that not only are the guards cruel, but the prisoners can also be aggressive towards their fellow prisoners as well. You said that the gulag prisons have influenced the prisoners to change, but do you think that only prisoners do this? I think that everybody in the world do these actions from time to time. The book Lord of the Flies is a great example that portrays this theory of evil. Think about the actions you've made the past few days, I can guarantee that you have made unwise decisions that may have hurt someone's feeling. Maybe the author was trying to tell us this thought of his. Maybe the author realized this during his prison life. Have I changed your thoughts? If so, please share what you believe now.

  3. Gaetano,
    Your post really gave me thought into the prisoner's actions. It didn't make me think why they did such thing, because I find that a completely normal reaction to being withheld from basic necessities (heat, food, comfot, etc.) I was actually surprised they haven't acted like this before, I mean with all the unfairness from the guard's side. Before this incident, I haven't see the prisoners react to something so harshly. With your idea that the prison has broken the prisoners, I think that is the case, but not with your idea. I think that prison has made them calmer, made them realize they don't have much power there and struggling is no use. I think that most people would have the same reaction as the prisoners by just being threatened to be taken to such conditions in forcefull manners.

  4. Hey Gaetano, I believe opposite of you. Although they are pretty barbaric, I do not think this displays them as what you are saying. Wouldn't you be angry if you were to have to wait to get food because a person you don't know didn't go? I would. I agree they are barbaric in some ways, but I do not believe they are reflecting this in the situation there.

    1. Sure, I would be angry, but I wouldn't react anywhere near as extremely as these prisoners reacted- unless I was in the same circumstance; which is what I'm saying. I'm saying that their situation is so extreme that they themselves have become extreme.