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Solzhenitsyn Aleksandr Isaevich One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich New YorkPress 1963 The novel A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is intentionally not sensational It is an expose of Stalinist labor camps and of the Soviet system generally but it accomplishes this through understatement and indirection This work however is much more than a political indictment Its power derives from its depiction of a man retaining his humanity under inhumane conditions Shukov is not a heroic figure but he wins our admiration for his cleverness his endurance and his simple integrity This novel also shows a nice cross section of how soviet life was It shows how citizens in Russia really had no freedom to speak thier mind Solzhenitsyn who had to endure the harsh reality of labor camps himself gives a good recount of the harsh brutalness of just one of the soviets controlling machines Through Shukov Solzhenitsyn suggests that there are certain qualities which must be retained no matter what the circumstances if we are to maintain our humanity Primary among these is self-respect Shukov works constantly to increase his odds of survival but there are definite things lying and begging among them which he will not do The novel concentrates on one man Ivan Denisovich Shukhov as he attempts to survive another day in a Soviet concentration camp or gulag with dignity and humanity The conditions of the camp are harsh reflecting a world that has no tolerance for independence Camp prisoners rely almost totally on each others productivity and altruism even for the most basic human need food The dehumanizing atmosphere of the gulag ironically forces prisoners to discover means to retain their individuality while conforming to the stringent rules spoken and unspoken of the camp The characters in Ivan Denisovich bring a liveliness to the novel The narrator Ivan Denisovich is both insightful and humorous
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