One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Analysis of Tyurin

Essay by rakeem_13High School, 12th gradeA, May 2005

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What is a leader? How can a leader be a prisoner? Why would a prisoner show compassion for others at the risk of putting his own life in jeopardy? These questions that I just shared with you are the basic guideline, the skeleton, of the character of which Alexander Solzhenitsyn portrays in his astonishing and eye-opening novel, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich. Mr. Solzhenitsyn has created a very peculiar personality for a very unique individual, and in this novel he finds that distinctive character, that one person that is fit to present this special individualism, and that man, is Tyurin.

Tyurin is a veteran in the Russian labour camp as he has spent a total of nineteen years in prison facilities. When we hear this we think, what could a man have done to receive such a severe punishment? Murder? Rape? Theft? All of these ideas come to mind, but would any of us live to believe that Tyurin was imprisoned due to a family relation? We learn how and why Tyurin was initially imprisoned when he re-tells his story to his fellow prisoners while they are huddled around a fire eating the extra rations that he had got for them.

Tyurin's story of how he ran away from home and joined the Red Army but was later dismissed because his father was a kulak, a member of the landed middle class that was disliked by the Soviet regime, is an event that strengthens him as in spite of his unfair treatment, Tyurin has not grown bitter and vicious but instead treats his prisoners fairly as he knows that his experience has also occurred to all of his listeners in the camp. Tyurin's transformation at the Power Station work site is one of the most emotional...