Sunday, September 14, 2014

Word Whisperer- Bianca A

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich 
Alexander Solzhenitsyn 
Word Whisperer 
Pages 106- 133 

First quote: "There lay the camp, just as we'd left it in the morning:lights were on in the zone over the thick fence, specially powerful ones in front of the gatehouse. The entire area was flooded with light; it was bright as day. They had to have it like that when they frisked us." (P.121)
In this quote, the author is using imagery to describe the scene in the camp as the men get inside. I found that it was a interesting way of setting the stage, because he described the lights more than the scenery. That is because he had previously explained the Gulag in the dark morning hours, and now he wanted to say that it was lit. They turn on the lights in order to search the men. This is using description to say how much they prioritize the frisking and security, making sure that the men don't have anything extra that they should not have. The lights also make sure that none of them are somewhere where they shouldn't be in the dark of the night. 

Second quote: "For that strip of hacksaw he could get ten days in the cels, if they classed it as a knife. 
But a cobbler's knife was money, it was bread." (P. 123)
In this part of the book, I believe that the author compares money to bread, and it's significance in the camp. The money is a sort of metaphor in this case, to describe the importance of food. In this part, Ivan wonders if it is worth it throwing his strip of metal away, because it could get him in trouble, however it could also do him good. In the outside world, people depend on money to live and pay for their lives. Inside a Gulag, bread and food has this sort of importance. Throughout the book, we see how the men go out of their ways to get the smallest gram of food extra, giving it the same importance as gold at this point. This is because they have so little that is actually theirs, and work so hard on empty stomachs, that they don't have anything left to fight for. 

(Source) This is a image of the prisoner's eating utensils in a Gulag prison. I got this in order to show a bit of the way that the food was over there, old and dirty. It is not what someone would expect from a comparison to money, as it is not as high quality, and this could help us imagine the conditions and the desperation that were probably suffered by the prisoners. 

(Source) A group of Soviet Soldiers in WWII

Third quote: "They passed through the gates, those zeks, like soldiers back from a campaign, brisk, taut, eager- clear the road for 'em." (p. 126) 
This time, the author is describing the feelings of the prisoners as they are free from the day's work and are heading to the mess hall. He uses a simile to compare them to the soldiers when they are coming back home. The men feel eager and excited to get there, as they have been working hard all day long, yet they must keep those feelings in check and maintain in control. They are triumphant as if the road has to be opened in their direction. In my opinion, Ivan is comparing two extremely different things that he sees in his daily lives, and it is truly a way of seeing the desperation that the zeks have for those moments of freedom. They are actually not that triumphant or free, like the soldiers. The other ones are actually happy and marching in with pride. They are controlled and in check, they are also powerful. This may be the way that some of the zeks feel, but it is more of a clouded vision, because they do not have that power. 

Fourth quote: "When he was in Ust- Izhma Shukhov had got parcels a couple of times. But he had wrote to his wife that it was a waste- don't send them. Don't take the food out of the kid's mouths. 
Although he had been at liberty Shukhov had (...)" (P. 128) 
This is one snippet of a flashback figure of speech that is presented in the book. In this part, the author goes back in time to explain a bit about Shukhov's life before being sent to the Gulag. This one isn't the most important flashback we have encountered, like the one where we are told what he did to arrive there, but it is important to understand our main character. In my opinion, this book isn't mostly about the character and character development, as it is more of a report of what it was like to live in a labor camp in the Soviet Union. However, Shukhov represents the average zek, and his life prior to being sent there is important to set the stage of what the society was like. This one especially, shows a bit of his mentality, and the situation that his family had been in, also explaining why he didn't get any parcels. Especially for us, who did not live that period, knowing a bit about what families lived like back then is also important. 

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