Monday, April 27, 2015

Giulia di Bella - Historical Context

Giulia Di Bella
Humanities 1.6
Shannon Hancock

Equality Over Diversity

          The book "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, has such a huge controversity because of the two main different ideologies that two main groups from the setting share. In other words, the controversy comes from the two disagreeing sides of a conflict; there’s the prisoners side, and the guards side, and the thing is that both have a very different way of thinking about and seeing things. As we all know, when two people or groups of people interact and have a different ideology to share (different points of view), most of the time, that results in major conflicts, arguing, and the winning of one of the sides that makes the other miserable, and this is exactly what happens in this novel. Check it out.
          As mentioned before, the main controversity of this novel, is the difference in ideology between the prisoners and guards. The guards just follow orders to complete their task, which is to make the lives of each one of these prisoners miserable and horrific. To not care about a single soul or ever have mercy upon anyone or anything; just to complete their tasks and follow their order. Whereas, the prisoners job, is just to do whatever they are told, and follow the guards orders in a respectful and obedient way, otherwise, things get dark on their side. Basically, if they don’t do so, they either die, suffer, or get punished in any other kind of way. The point is, if they are not the guards puppets, something really harsh and tense happens to them, which can even mean death.
          This story takes place in the Soviet Union in the year of around 1950. More specifically, taking place in a Soviet labor camp. The whole plot of the story is basically just the experience of a normal prisoner’s one day in their horrible life. The prisoner they try to cover is named Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, but is mostly referred throughout the book as only Shukhov. According to one of Wikipedia’s publishers, the book's publication was an extraordinary event in Soviet literary history since never before had an account of Stalinist repression been openly distributed("One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. ). 
         Back to what was claimed earlier, since the difference between the two ideologies; the guards' and the prisoner's, are not harmonious, this generated complete power and advantage to one side and complete misery to the other. The theme of this novel that was the most outstanding, would probably be equality and communism, whereas the prisoners are the ones all equal and the guards are the workers for the communists or even them, themselves. Now, the most challenging idea for this story, I would say is probably diversity and democracy, which hardly anyone was able to exert or understand. The guards treated prisoners as if never before had they cared about if one or even of them died, there were always more, eventually, and because that obviously did not make any difference. They were all equal and unpowerful, and had basically no rights to doing or thinking about anything particularly personal. I recall reading that in page 38, the narrator, Shukhov, states, 

So we can properly see that not much choice was available at that time. On the first sentence of the outlined paragraph, we can see that no one could think alone, so guards logically used power over not knowledgeable ones to get what they wanted. Very wise tactic taking in consideration that mostly all prisoners had a lack of intelligence, but a strength when it came to work. So what did they do, they enfisized their strength and got rid of their weaknesses, since they would not be requested for these characteristics int he tasks they had to experience. Diversity was challenging for those poor prisoners because it wasn’t a common theme or idea. It was the complete opposite, unknown by them, which was what the guards used to keep them down; equality, no power. But a bad equality and no power, and that was the most controversial part of the novel for now. The difference between the way that the prisoners think, and the guards-men think. Not a common understanding between two types of ideology, and that’s what made the prisoners, prisoners, and the guards, guards; conflict between different ideology.

"Kolyma Road." Kolyma Road. Wikipedia, Jan.-Feb. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <>. 

1 comment:

  1. Giulia,

    Your post is great, but I would recommend adding more citations (from the book) and transition words. I would suggest checking for grammatical mistakes and vocabulary.