Alyosha And Fetiukov Analysis

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To what extent are Alyosha, Fetiukov, and their background information important in the novel?
By Mani Jaff

A labour camp is defined as a prison camp in which a regime of hard labour is enforced. The book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a translated short novel written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The book describes one day in the life of a prisoner, also called Shukhov, who was put in the labour camp for unfair reasons. Shukhov’s day consists of harsh labour, strict inspections, and desired meal times. Throughout the novel, the reader is exposed to different kinds of people, whose stories are shared through flashbacks and events. Two minor characters who are introduced are Alyosha and Fetiukov, both having personalities on opposite
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In contrast to everyone else, Alyosha does not put his physical survival first. It is his generosity that surprises the other prisoners, since in those living conditions the prisoners cannot help but be selfish. Possibly the reason why Alyosha is not selfish is because according to the Bible, selfishness is considered humiliating. Since his entire personality seems to be based on religion, perhaps Alyosha is a representation of devotees as a whole inside the camp. Furthermore, towards the end of the book Alyosha’s faith appears to affect Shukhov into having a similar mindset about his prison sentence. When the two of them have a chat at the end of the day, the topic of religion comes up. Alyosha: “You should rejoice that you’re in prison. Here you have time to think about your soul.” (140) Again, it is implied that Alyosha actually appreciates being in the labour camp, as he thinks suffering for religion makes him a devoted believer. This is fairly ironic, since it is strongly implied throughout the novel that life in the camp is nothing but desirable. His mindset leads Shukhov to the question of whether he actually wants to leave the camp. He realizes that inside the…show more content…
When their fellow prisoner, Tsezar, is standing outside smoking a cigarette, Fetiukov desperately demands him to give them a drag. Fetiukov: “Tsezar Markovich, give us a drag. His face twitched with greedy desire.” (28-29) Firstly, Fetiukov used Tsezar’s full name when asking for a simple thing. The effect of this is that it unnecessarily makes the situation personal, perhaps even making the other prisoners uncomfortable. Even though he puts himself first, which is a common trait most of the prisoners share, Fetiukov tends to do so in a shameful manner. “That scavenger Fetyukov was there too, leeching onto Tsezar, standing right in front of him and staring hot-eyed at his mouth.” (28) Fetiukov appears to be careless about his behavior, which depicts his lack of consideration of the other prisoners. Next, Fetiukov does not ask for a drag, but he rather insists on having a drag. The fact that he is not asking makes it seem like Tsezar is indebted to him. Fetiukov has the talent of completely depending on others when the situation is uneasy, even though the rest of the prisoners are also trying to survive in those bleak conditions. Additionally, Fetiukov used the word ‘us’, as if trying to announce that he is not too inconsiderate. This is ironic, since Fetiukov is known for only regarding himself. Shukhov is a neutral character who gets along with everyone in the team, yet even he considers
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