One Day in the Life of Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Denisovich

  • Submitted By: cnelson
  • Date Submitted: 05/24/2008 2:29 PM
  • Category: Book Reports
  • Words: 3099
  • Page: 13
  • Views: 2

In Alexander Solzhenitsyn^Òs novel One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, the strong themes of hope and perseverance are undercut by the realization that for Ivan there is little or no purpose in life. This is not to say that the themes of hope and perseverance do not exist in the novel. There are numerous instances in the novel where Shukhov is filled with hope.

However, these moments of hope amidst the banal narrative of the novel raise the interesting question: Are these moments of hope pointless? The answer to this question may lie more in the individual human nature of the reader than in Solzhenitsyn^Òs literary technique. Whether pointless or not, Solzhenitsyn offers many instances in the novel where the themes of hope and perseverance are evident. The glimpses of hope which Ivan Denisovich sees includes the few moments after reveille that the prisoners have to themselves, respecting his fellow prisoners, taking pride in a job well done, and enjoying simple food and tobacco.

Solzhenitsyn wrote One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in such a fashion that the brutality of the Soviet labor camps is not emphasized. Instead of focusing on the brutality of the camps, Solzhenitsyn focused on one day in the life of a very ordinary prisoner. However, the fact that Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is such an ordinary man and is still able to find hope in the most menial of tasks is inspiring. Joseph Frank states that ^ÓSolzhenitsyn^Òs fundamental theme is precisely the affirmation of character, the ability to survive in a nightmare world where moral character is the only safeguard of human dignity and the very conception of humanity itself is something precious and valuable^Ô (3302). Much of the Soviet leadership despised Solzhenitsyn because he instilled within the Soviet people much of the same hope that is visible in Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. Solzhenitsyn gave people hope: Solzhenitsyn^Òs literary mission, the process of giving...

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