4. Which ideas in your novel are connected to its particular setting, and which ideas are still relevant today?
Firstly, basically all of the ideas of the novel are connected to its particular setting. Since the novel revolves around the life of a prisoner in a labor camp, most ideas are about the conditions and his life during the time he spends at the camp.
But, when I was reading the book, two words came to my mind. Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo Bay is a U.S. naval base in Cuba, that has a detention camp that was erected there in January of 2002. The reason that I thought of this was because of how the prisoners were treated. in Guantanamo bay, detainees told stories of torture, sleep deprivation, extreme violence, etc, especially waterboarding. In my mind, I could see this also happening in the camps, though it may not be told in the book, or mentioned later, as what happens in the guardhouse. In soviet Russia, some of the prisoners there were convicted of treason, when they weren't treasonous, as some of the people in Guantanamo must've been, since it was built to harbor "Al-quaeda" members.
In the book, it mentions on page 25, that Shukov had a needle in his hat, and that a guard had almost killed him because he had pricked this finger. On page 37, the chief of the escort announced in the morning prayer that a step to the right or left was considered an attempt to escape, and that they would be shot without warning. It's this kind of treatment of the prisoners that made me think of Guantanamo Bay while I was reading.