Why is the setting of the book so small?
I think the author created a small environment to showcase the little the prisoners know about their surrounding. As while as creating a small environment in which the reader feels claustrophobic to help showcase prison life.
Why did the author chose this day to describe?
Overall it is hard to even guess about why this day in Ivan's life was chosen but my guess would be that this day was chosen becuase it showcases an ordinary day in prison, his personality, influence form the soviets, and the unfairness of the soviets. In addition to that the author as we know has gone though a similar experience with prison and I think this day was also chosen because it showcased everything he wanted to show about soviet prisons and the harshness of them while still masking his own identity.
What was the authors inspiration?
I think his inspiration was his own experiences with the soviets. He had been forced to prison on faulty charges just like our main character. As we have seen with the book anthem, experiences can be the complete storyline and inspiration of the story. Meaning that is possible that our author had written his book upon his experiences. To add to that Anthems story was a hidden auto biography becuase she did not want the soviets to recognize her. This means even though our main charter and the author have different names it is still possible for them to be the same person becuase the author was trying to hide his identity from the soviets like the author of Anthem.