Saturday, October 25, 2014

Line Illuminator

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

By Isabel K.
Line Illuminator

"There are two ends to a stick, and there's more than one way of working. If it's for human beings, make sure and do it properly. If it's for the big man, just make it look good." (71)
Shukhov in this quote references to what is one of the main "laws" that prisoners follow. What I am understanding from the book is that: they may have limited power, but they obviously resist the guards when and where they can.

 "Next, he removed his cap from his shaven head, however cold it was, he wouldn't let himself eat with his cap on." (85) 

This detail about the cap crops up multiple times in the book and starts acting like a sort of character measurement. Characters who remove their caps while eating have both self-respect and good survival skills. Pavlo, Tyurin, Shukhov, and Yu-81 all fit in this category.

I choose this picture because you can clearly see the caps. I wanted a picture of the cap because I was curious to the way they looked. If you were curious like I was, I hope this helped you.

"Apart from sleep an old lag can call his life his own only for ten minutes at breakfast time, five at lunchtime, and five more at suppertime." (86)

I thought this statement is actually rather ironic since it is later proven false; throughout his day Shukhov worries through all his meals about how to score more food. Shukhov's mind never stops working or planning. Who agrees with me?

"You had to be wide awake all the time. Make sure a warder never saw you on your own, only as one of a crowd. He might be looking for somebody to do a job, or he might just want to take his spite out on you. (94) 

This idea of being "wide awake" really sums up the experience of being in the camps. As we see throughout the day, Shukhov has to be constantly alert and thinking in order to navigate the rules of camp life. It gets exhausting. 

Through the book I was curious to the way things looked like in the Gulag camps. This is where they ate. I also looked up pictures for there dorms, the best one I found it below:


1 comment:

  1. Your post was good but I would like to comment on one of your ideas. As you talked about how Shushkov took of his hat for his meal, and you mentioned that you saw that anyone who did this had self-respect and good survival instincts. I would like to propose that maybe he did that so that he could remember what it was like at home and try to replicate what he would do in the presence of his family. Also it could be because of his religious backround. What do you think?