Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gabriela Campos - Question Commander

Gabriela Campos
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Introduction, Foreward - p. 33

Other than unspecified work and going to the guardhouse, were there other punishments for the prisoners? If so, which ones?

As we can easily see by reading and guess just by knowing about the Russian Revolution and WWII, the Soviet labour camps were extremely strict. During the initial conflict of the novel and other external conflicts throughout the thirty-three pages our book group has read, so far, many possible punishments our protagonist could receive were mentioned. These include scrubbing the floors of the Commander's Office, being sent to the guardhouse, being whipped or physically abused, etc. However, judging by the countless different torturing methods practiced and introduced throughout the world's broad history, I began to wonder if there were any other punishments the prisoners or inhabitants of the camp (however you would like to put it) could receive. Personally, I strongly feel as if there are indeed other punishments and that shall be introduced as we read on, but I don't have a solid idea as to what they could be.

Being an avid reader of medieval fantasy, the punishments that I can think of do not seem to "fit in" with the setting of the novel. Therefore, my ideas and theories are limited, but based on what I believe Mrs. Hancock or one of my colleagues said in my humanities class the other day, I do not believe it'll be something too major, since I can easily recall her them that "The author chose to write about a day that wasn't anything special, just a regular day." And obviously, if it is just a regular day we cannot expect a "Game of Thrones" like punishment such as a beheading or anything along that line, but rather something similar to the Nazi concentration camp methods, such as being starved, as can be seen in the image below.

What did Shukov do to be sent to such a drastic place?

Please forgive me if I missed this, however I do not recall finding out why our protagonist was sent to the prison/camp in the first place. However, I do believe that I can make somewhat of an accurate hypothesis as to what "crime" he committed to be in such a wretched place for more than eight years. Based on the resources we have been given by our humanities teachers to help us with the book "Animal Farm" by George Orwell such as numerous packets and even a lecture by Mr. Beck,  I assume that Shukov could have been sent to the camp/prison because of two things:

1) He expressed his dislike of Stalin and/or the communist Soviet government in ways such as but not limited to:
         a)  A Song
         b)  A Poem
         c)  A Speech

2) He committed a crime such as but not limited to:

         a) Stealing
         b) Murder
         c) Rape

Why does this novel have no chapters?

Due to my sudden dismay when I reached the last page of this week's reading and noticed that I had not seen a chapter, I skimmed through the entire book and came to the conclusion that there are none. I found this completely and utterly outrageous, since in my opinion, chapters are a fundamental part of any novel. Not only do chapters make it easier for the reader to follow along, but it also helps the author write the novel itself and organise it. However, since A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich does not have chapters, I shall cease to complain and try to come up with a theory as to why this occurred.

The only rational one I could think of has to do with the story of the book. As I've found out my asking a few of my colleagues who have read the novel, the entire 178 pages of it is only one day of Shukov's life. So, one can easily agree to the fact that the title of the book is quite literal. Following, being only a day, the author did not feel the need to separate it into chapters. But I admit that I am not very confident with my theory, since I believe that you can easily separate a day into chapters such as lunch, dinner, argument with your parents, etc. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Gabi,

    I enjoyed reading you answers because they made me understand deeper and informed me lots. A thing that I noticed while reading your post was that there was a certain pattern. In other words, you say what you think and then you give examples that are either from real life events or examples from the book. In my opinion, this is a very good thing because it makes your blog post have something additional that makes your readers understand better. For example, for answer #2, you answered why you didn't recall this event, and then you have examples based on the Soviet Union, the book itself, etc. Concluding with, you organized everything beautifully, making your work flourishing from new and important information.