Camp as an unpleasant place to live in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich."

Essay by dudkaHigh School, 10th gradeA+, November 2005

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Alexander Solzhenitsyn creates the impression that the camp is an unpleasant place to live through using interesting methods. He creates a theme of constant search for warmth, food and sleep. His style of writing and use of particular language are significant parts of creating such an impression. Solzhenitsyn creates a feeling of isolation to strengthen the reader's negative impression of the camp. "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" is a historical document rather than a novel. For the first time in the history of Soviet Russia the truth about the gulags was spoken, and spoken loud. The truth, the undisguised reality, indeed, is horrific and unexpected. The fact that the book shows the reality from the first-hand knowledge reinforces the negative impression of the life in the camp.

To create an impression of an unpleasant life in the gulag, Solzhenitsyn sets up a theme of a continuous searching.

The constant of hunger remains during the whole novel. The author describes the camp food rations in details. In the beginning of Shukhov's day there is a one-page description of the food that prisoners get for breakfast. "The stew was the same every day. Its composition dependent on the kind of vegetable provided that winter" (Solzhenitsyn, 14). Solzhenitsyn then shows how carefully and thoughtfully Shukhov treats his bread portion. Even though the prisoner's daily bread ration is incredibly small, only16 ounces, the camp's administration manages to short weight it. The author tells that "honest weight was never to be found in the bread-cutting. There was short weight in every ration. The only point was how short" (20-21). This dishonesty is very unjust, and proves the troublesome impression of the camp life-style.

Apart from food, the prisoners have a constant search for warming and sleep. "Wherever a zek gets...