Dignity is what makes up a persons character. In the gulags, guards try to manipulate the prisoners by keeping them away from their dignity. During his time in the gulags. Shukhov learns how to survive; by hiding he’s dignity from the soldiers. “ Shukhov said nothing. He didn’t even nod. Pulling his hat over his eyes, he walked out.”(Solzhenitsyn,1963,pg.19) This is one of the many ways Shukhov tries to keep his dignity.
One of the many ways the guards tried to manipulate the prisoners. Is by giving them numbers; in a way to recognize them. Guards try their best to scare the prisoners, so they won't have an idea to rebel on them. Another factor of how the guards try to manipulate the prisoners, is by taking their faith as well. They do this by taking time away from them. For example, Sunday was the only day off for the prisoners, and they would dedicate themselves to pray. The guards didn’t like that at all, so they made Sunday a working day as well.
Prisoners feel ashamed of themselves. Especially when they have to get naked in the cold. “ You’ve no right to strip men in the cold.”(Solzhenitsyn,1963,pg.28) Their dignity gets taken away. The prisoners have to starve themselves through the whole day. Once they get to dinner; It takes dignity to not rush, and devore the bowl. Prisoner Fetyukou got beaten up for licking other peoples bowls. Shukhov who still tries to keep his dignity. Always takes his hat away before eating; and takes his time to finish he’s bowl.
Shukhov, who knows better than anyone else. Learns how to to survive in the gulags by hiding and controlling his dignity from the soldiers. He shows that the only way to maintain human dignity is not through outward rebellion, but through developing personal beliefs. This beliefs help him get through, from the humiliation that the guards tend to give him.