One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Introduction - Page 32
“At five o'clock that morning reveille was sounded, as usual, by the blows of a hammer on a length of rail hanging up near the staff quarters”. Page 3
The quote above is the first in the book, and it already shows the living conditions in the prison where Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is being held prisoner. The sound of metal on metal wake up the tired prisoners. Right off the bat it is possible to state that the living conditions in the scenario of the book is not anything pretty. Also, as we later on learn, Shukhov was sick that same day and is still forced to wake up at the same time as everyone else. We also learn that the prisoners can actually craft things for each other in order to earn “a bit” by sewing a pair of mittens for someone. That mean that prisoners can actually interact with each other, and the fact that they can earn something by making mittens, we can assume that there is some sort of currency in between prisoners.
“The dispensary lay in the most remote and deserted corner of the zone, where no sounds of any sort reached it.” Page 21
When first reading this quote, one might think that the dispensary would be a place for torture or execution, but after a visit to the dictionary one can learn that a dispensary is supposed to have medical supplies, which raises the question , why would the guards or military leaders keep the medical supplies farther than anything else? Well there is the obvious reason which is to keep prisoners away from medication and only being given them when properly diagnosed, but in case of an attack the camp would be vulnerable in case of injured soldiers. So the final question is why would they take this risk? (feel free to leave a comment with your opinion)