One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
There are a lot of different themes explored in the novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. The ones that I think are the most important are, power, time and freedom.
It can be clearly seen in the book that the prisoners don’t have much power. Even though the prisoners had no power or no choice, lots of the prisoners still have faith. For instance Shukhov says, “We’ll survive. We’ll stick it out, God willing, till it’s over” (Solzhenitsyn 141). The people that do have a lot of power are the guards. They tell the prisoners what to do and they can do whatever they want. “Things aren't and never will be fair in the prison camp, and those with even the smallest amount of power often abuse it” (shmoop).
The prisoners have barely any personal time and a break from work. “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” (Solzhenitsyn 16). “Days are already nearly never-ending in the camp. All the days seem to run together into endless prison sentences and non-stop work, with no personal time at all” (shmoop). All the prisoners wish for more time for themselves, but their wish is never granted.
Just like power and time, the prisoners don’t have much freedom also. They basically sleep, eat and work, that’s it! “Shukhov gazed at the ceiling in silence. Now he didn’t know either whether he wanted freedom or not. At first he’d longed for it. Every night he’d counted the day of his stretch, how many had passed, how many were coming. And then he’d grown bored with counting. And then it became clear that men like him wouldn’t ever be allowed to return home, that they’d be exiled. And whether his life would be any better there than here, who could tell? Freedom meant one thing to him, home” (Solzhenitsyn 163-164).