Sunday, February 8, 2015

Line Illuminator Week 1#

Heitor Gundim

Line Illuminator

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Alexandr Solzheinstein

Introduction - Page 32

Quote 1#
“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.

Quote 2#
“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)


  1. Heitor,
    Interesting post! I think what you talked about helped me understand the beginning of this book, which for me was really confusing. I think your first part explains well how terrible and tough the place Ivan is imprisoned is. Imagine ho terrible it must be to live in that cold place for so many years! About the question in the end, I think that the military takes this risk because they do not really want to use all of their medicine on the prisoners, and also, maybe some of them would steal it if the dispensary was in a more accessible place.
    Lucas T.

  2. Heitor,

    Your post seemed interesting at first because it related to a question on my post. The quotes you have chosen describe very well how the living conditions where Ivan is being held imprisoned. First, as you have mentioned, the sound of metal banging is a really loud sound, and probably enough to make the prisoners jump out of bed at the instant. Also, on your second quote, I feel that the military keeps all the medical help far away on purpose because it shouldn't be used at all times. Only in Ivan's case, where he is struggling to keep up with his work, should be able to use medications when actually needed. Plus, prisoners shouldn't be given the best conditions of life, there is a reason why they are being held in prison...
    Overall, I found the two quotes interesting and helped push my thoughts further.

  3. Heitor,
    I thought your post was very realistic and interesting. I noticed the quotes you choose were very deep and brought the readers an image of what was like if you were in the same situation as Ivan. The first quote gives a the reader a thought that it didn't matter if you were healthy or sick, you had to try to live so waking up in the early morning and heading off to a hard day of work was your only chance of survival in the critical state which Ivan was.