One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
By Isabel K
#1 - Literary Analysis
Some themes I accoutered while reading this book was family. People (man) in are separated from their families in the real world, some for decades. In fact, there is so much time and space between families that they almost cease to operate as such. Shukhov's relationship with his wife and his children seems almost meaningless in the camps; he's largely disconnected from them. Shukhov can scarcely understand their experiences since he's been away, and they probably can't understand his life either. Other man have completely lost their families, like Tyurin, or have been abandoned by their families, like Fetyukov. In the camp, new families form and the work gangs start operating as a type of family, albeit a cutthroat mafia family.
Moving on the endurance of humanity stuck out for me. Through the character of Shukhov and his actions, Solzhenitsyn demonstrates that humanity can survive even the harshest conditions. Though the prison camp system seeks to destroy, by its very nature, expression of fellow-feeling and actions based on morals and ethics, Shukhov and his fellow prisoners maintain their humanity through small acts and rituals. One such act is removing one's hat at a meal. Another is refraining from licking empty bowls. Yet another is giving away some of one's food and expecting nothing in return. Shukhov must work hard to preserve his capability for self-respect and dignity but throughout the day, he does so despite the enormous odds.
|This for me is a symbol of humanity. I choose a picture a little darker because it proves that we can all survive the darkest/hardest conditions. Like Shukhov|
An important theme in this book was time as possession. The main thing stolen from prisoners at Stalin's camps is time - ten or twenty-five years of their lives. Because of that, any time they can call their own - in the morning before roll call or over meals or simply waiting to begin work - is precious. And conversely, any time that they are forced to wait or work extra is considered time stolen from them. This time is precious not just because it is a brief period of freedom but because the things prisoners like Shukhov do in their free time - earning money and favors by repairing shoes, for example - are necessary to their survival in the camps.
So, this was three themes that I feel everyone should have noticed. I am not saying there is only these themes. There are many such as: power, perseverance, rules and orders, ...