One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
The obliteration of human dignity and solidarity takes many forms through trails and misfortunes of Ivan from the story” One day on the life of Ivan Denisovich”. While in camp together with other fellow men doing hardcore work, mercy is deprived to a point of being deprived proper food to consume as well as other materials to use. When it comes to food, they are offered depending on one’s work and are even forced to work despite illnesses. According to Ivan, a man’s core enemy is another man a phrase he tries to depicts throughout the novel while showing the various ways competition, as well as conflicts between inmates, worsened life.
Ivan argues that despite being a prison, there still existed a hierarchy between prisoners who operated inside the camp and those who operated outside. Inmates who worked as cooks, as well as building foreman, were given more power, a power they misused by punishing other inmates or taking away their power. The short of amenities as well as necessities forced camp inmates to turn against each other with the aim of surviving making life even harder in the camp. Solzhenitsyn, the writer of the novel, goes on to use numerous examples to portray the various ways whereby imprisonment in the so-called “special camp” continued to deprive people of their humanity. The supremacy of these illustrations is increased by the writer’s replicated use of understatement. For Ivan and his fellow inmates, this deprivation of humanity becomes so common aiming at upsetting the inmates. This is clearly depicted when a guard mocks Ivan on the way he washed the floor by asking him,”….did you never watch your spouse scrubbing the floor, pig?”. Additionally, there is an illustration of stolen humanity in the mess hall landscape. Solzhenitsyn writes, “….while at the table a young man crosses himself before dipping his spoon in……”In this phrase, Solzhenitsyn tries to show the vicious power the camp had on a human spirit not through numerous outdoor abuses enforced on inmates by the guards but rather by the inmate’s own internalized reaction to his lengthy imprisonment. The writer’s morality is clearly depicted in the book based on the deeply rooted religious beliefs under the Soviet government. The deprivation or religion was one of the leading causes of hopelessness in the camp. Moreover, it acted as an illustration of the Stalinist system abuse of the human soul and body.
The subject of whether humanity is essential or beneficial to a person’s survival is largely discussed when Ivan remembers Kuziomina, a prisoner who had been incarcerated for nearly twelve years since 1943 and always told the new inmates together with himself the various types of people who used to manage to live. He used to say,”……….those individuals who lick other people’s leftovers, those who squealed on their busied and those who relied on the doctors to push them through will never survive….” (Solzhenitsyn). Ivan is well aware of the fact that squealers to survive but due to the cost of his own humanity decide to agree as well as respect Kuziomin’s arguments. Throughout the story, Ivan is seen n away from the breakfast mess hall to avoid being tempted to lick another man’s bowl thus maintaining his survival and humanity which depicts an atrocious attitude toward humanity. Ivan together with his buddies lived in a prison camp where not only were their labor controlled by authorities but also their bodies as well as their language. They were regarded as no longer the Soviet Union’s citizens and thus not allowed to address a guard as a comrade but as citizens which depicts inferiority in the part of the prisoners. Additionally, inmates were expected to remove their hats when guards are passing in the paths to portray just how powerful the guards were and how inferior the inmates were. In an environment where the inmates every move and word is managed and monitored it becomes difficult to maintain the freedom as well as humanity thus depicting slavery.
In the novel, “One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich,” Ivan is ruthlessly punished by the government for acting as a spy despite being innocent. The story starts with Ivan being sick and wakes up late but is forced to clean the guardhouse as a minor punishment. Due to the nature of survival for the fittest, most inmates found life in the camp extremely hard. However, for Ivan this is not the case as despite his life sucking and being hell, he tries to live as a decent person and thus ends up achieving some measure of happiness in the middle of all challenges and suffering he endured on a daily basis. In the midst of oppression, Shukhov never gives up/ in and thus his attitude is largely admired. The entire story present in the book revolves around camp survival as well as authoritative oppression. The USSR gulag forces workers to operate in an inhumane manner as they work below their dignity. The ultimate objective of the novel is to try and maintain human dignity which is seen through Ivan, a prisoner who thinks humans should live with dignity.
From the above discussion, it’s accurate to say that the story is a masterpiece of its time as it tries to show the apathy of human racism while trying to convey the message of humanity. Humanity is the biggest religion and an individual who decided to respect humanity is regarded as a true citizen to his country and society. One should always aspire to pursue human ways when it comes to confronting problems. Solzhenitsyn is able to portray details clearly making it easier to visualize the danger that clenched the camp.
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich." (2010): 138-139.
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