Line Illuminator - Week #1
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
The story begins with the scene that the morning reveille sounds as usual, in a camp in the Soviet gulag where the protagonist, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov lives. In this book, the events that happened in a special day Shukhov had are written. This is the first time that I’ve read such a novel that is only written about one day in one book, and is very interesting.
The day was extremely cold as the thermometer shows thirty below zero, and he couldn’t get up at reveille just for this day because he felt sick. I found little happiness that Shukhov, who greeted such the unusual beginning of the day, tells us.
“The only good thing about stew was that it was hot, but Shukhov's portion had grown quite cold. However, he ate it with his usual slow concentration. No need to hurry, not even for a house on fire.” (p.16)
To eat stew that is not even hot is a little thing that he can feel happy in his life because “apart from sleep, the only time a prisoner lives for himself is ten minutes in the morning at breakfast, five minutes over dinner, and five at supper.” (pg.16) This quote makes people who live in a normal life realize just how happy a normal life is. He has few time belonged to him, not to spend to the authorities. His life is tough, but he knows little pleasures in daily life, that we take for granted, because of the life. it would be a happiness if you were able to feel joy to eat stew that’s gotten cold. This book would make readers think of what happiness is for him, and them. The girl in the image doesn’t eat the dish. However if there was nothing to eat without it, she would be grateful for food and eat mindfully. There is something you can learn only when you are in extreme environment.
“For Shukhov, it was a strange experience to sit in that spick-and-span room, in such quietness, to sit under the bright lamps for five long minutes doing nothing.”(p.21)
It is unbelievable thing that he thinks it’s a “strange experience” that makes him feel like dreaming to do nothing for five minutes. In my opinion, to do nothing makes an unsatisfying day and it is a completely normal thing that I have time to do nothing only for five minutes. However, he can accept such a normal thing as a special event like a dream. If you are given a good living environment or not, if you are having a fulfilling day every day, or not… Those things can be decided according to your own way of thinking and accepting. YOU decide how your day is going to go. This image shows that things can be different if you think differently, with a story of Pyramid. These two people are making a pyramid. “What are you doing?” someone asked them, the one on the right said: “I am making a grave of the king. I feel happy that I take part in making such a important job.” while the one on the right answered: “I’m carrying these pretty heavy stones. I hate to do it…” Even though they are doing the same thing, it is different how they think about their job. If there was something unlucky, that is unlucky because you think it’s unlucky, and you can make it a lucky thing for you according how you think about it.