(Is the book’s structure chronological or does it move back and forth between past and present? Does the author use a single (first or third person) viewpoint or shifting points of view? Why might the author have chosen to tell the story this way and how does it influence the reader’s understanding?)
In the novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the protagonist, Shukhov, narrates one day in his life in prison, down to every detail. To make a book this long for only one day, the author would have to not only say what goes on during the day, but things that have happened already to Shukhov. The book takes place in the past, but for Shukhov, it is the present. The whole story goes on in the present; that one day, however he tells us about other days in the camp, stories of other prisoners, how things work, and some things about his life before prison. There is one part of the book where Shukhov talks about many of the prisoners. He also tells the reader about how things work in the camp many times, like when he says that he has to hide his working tools so others don't steal them. The last example is when he talks about his life before, like why he got into the camp, and about the carpets he would have to paint.
The author of the novel, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, chooses to write in first person, in the point of view of Shukhov. It is always in his point of view, and no other characters take over. It makes sense to write like this, and it is clear why the author chose it. Since the book is about Shukhov's day, he narrates because how else would the reader know his thoughts and more details about his surroundings? It definitely influences the reader's understanding because as mentioned before, we can see what Shukhov thinks about what is going on, and also what is actually happening. Also, we can know more about his life experience, and what his life was like before camp. If the narration were in third person, we would not know his thoughts, his experience, details and stories that help to better understand the story.