One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich Analysis

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The Soviet period of De-Stalinization allowed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to publish his novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, which gave the world its first look into Stalin’s gulags. However, due to the persistence of “Soviet Socialist Realism”, the book was unable to escape Soviet censorship unscathed. Because of these literary restrictions, Solzhenitsyn’s only way of uncovering the conditions present in the gulags was to subtly allude to their truths. In One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Solzhenitsyn conveys the true nature of Stalin’s gulags while still staying within the bounds of Soviet Socialist Realism. He achieves this by portraying the prison camp as a microcosm of the Soviet Union, complete with extreme food rationing,…show more content…
According to the narrator, “…you could shout anything you liked… because the security officer couldn’t care less” (200). If someone was in a prison camp already, it would often have been because they had said something the Soviet Government frowned upon. There is no point in sending a prisoner to a forced labor camp if they are already in one. To Shukhov and the other zeks, freedom such as this was not their primary concern. Instead, their primary concern was to find comfort in their unfortunate circumstance. As Shukhov stared longingly for Tsezar’s cigarette butt before the beginning of the work day, “…he seemed to yearn for that butt more than freedom itself…” (49), and after the workday was over with Shukhov about to get dinner, the narrator writes, “For that moment that ladleful means more to him than freedom” (174). A cigarette and a good meal meant more to the prisoners than freedom. Freedom was meaningless to them because there is nothing they could do about their lack of it. For an inmate to worry, they would become a slave to their own thoughts, and “A convict’s thoughts are no freer than he is…” (59). Even a “free”, Soviet citizens encountered restrictions that kept them from experiencing freedom. They weren’t inside a prison camp but they still had to watch what they said. At least the zeks could say what they wanted without the fear of being prosecuted for

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