Book Analysis: One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

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Why is Food, Water and Shelter not enough to survive in the Gulag? In the novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Gulag systems casually exerts its brutality to all. This makes the basic needs for survival transcendently more demanding compared to the basic needs for survival for the prisoners it incarcerates. Food, shelter and water are simply not enough to survive, so three other needs have to be gained and maintained. These are comradeship, dignity and ingenuity. Solzhenitsyn shows this primarily by illustrating people who are degrading under camp life as people who haven 't obtained these three extra needs. Shukhov, the protagonist, demonstrates all these traits. Firstly, the reason why these three extra needs have to be gained and maintained are because the aim of the Gulag system is to dehumanise it’s prisoners, and often this results in their death. The camp exhibits back-breaking labour and condemned mental freedom to restrict liberty, independence and serenity, ultimately to create senseless slaves. Prisoners exhibiting these extra traits (comradeship, dignity and ingenuity) demonstrate that they are resisting to become vitiated by the Gulag system, and through this they…show more content…
All prisoner’s that are well off have adapted to camp life. They realize that in order to survive the situation they are in, they have to make the best out of it. Solzhenitsyn strongly illustrates this when Shukhov talks about writing to his family and says “there was as little sense in writing nowas in casting a stone in some bottomless pool. It sinks, and that’s the last you hear of it” (p 36). Shukhov has detached himself from his family and become indifferent, knowing that both parties will benefit as this detachment will allow them to concentrate on reality and treat it accordingly, even though they will miss
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