Ivan's Preservation Of Dignity In Solzhenitsyn

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Solzhenitsyn explicitly links surviving with dignity to the preservation of morals. To begin, despite the camp’s struggle to eradicate humanity, Ivan shows respect to his surroundings, which allows him to retain his pride and dignity. Every day, during meal time, "Shukhov took his cap off his shaved head – however cold it was, he would never eat with it on” (Solzhenitsyn 12) . Solzhenitsyn uses this gesture to show preservation of dignity by adhering to manners. Despite manners seeming obsolete in such inhospitable weather conditions, Ivan sacrifices his warmth to maintain a semblance of dignity, by showing respect to the food he eats. Moreover, Ivan follows his morals and makes his own decisions, granted the dehumanizing conditions of the…show more content…
Regardless of being given terrible food in scarce amounts, Solzhenitsyn portrays Ivan as someone who has control over what he eats which hints at Ivan’s moral code. He creates a set of rules for himself that he follows which allow him to retain his dignity, even if it means not eating the rationed food given to him regardless of the severity of his hunger. Furthermore, Ivan utilizes his moral principles in order to live in a civilized manner. During breakfast, Ivan sits “spitting the [fish] bones out on the table. When there was a whole pile of them, someone would sweep them [on to the floor], spitting the bones out on the floor was thought bad manners” (11). Prisoners, such as Ivan are portrayed as characters who strive to survive in a civilized manner, with some degree of dignity. The novel reiterates the importance of having good manners as a necessity for long-term survival in a dehumanizing camp. In another instance, Ivan does not let his desires over-power his moral beliefs. As the prisoners are waiting to work, Caesar starts smoking and Ivan “thought he’d rather have this butt than his

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