Solzhenitsin's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch: analysis of a paragraph

Essay by e-terrorist February 2005

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In Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, a certain paragraph conveys very well the whole tone of the novel by using good word choices and images and combining them with the a great choice of action.

Solzhenitsyn sets the scene in Tsezar's warm and cozy office. Being obviously a lot better than Sukhov's living quarters, the author contrasts the life of the prisoners to that of the ones in charge at the camp. The office is described as being hot and the source of heat in the room, the stove, is described in very warmth-longing words. This paragraph reflects the tone of the book well due the setting, which is a good place to compare and contrast the life of prisoners and their guards.

Solzhenitsyn helps to show the tone in this paragraph using action. At the end of the previous paragraph Solzhenitsyn says "Bringing with him a cloud of frosty vapor, he went in and quickly pulled the door shut (so that they wouldn't yell at him: 'Hey you bastard, shut the door')."

This sentence shows how bad the prisoners are treated. They are forced to work outside in very cold and poor conditions, but they would yell at Sukhov even if he let a little bit of cold air into the office. It strengthens the fact that they don't care at all for the prisoners. The officials don't do any hard labor themselves and they barely do anything anyways, other than being mean and lazy. The next paragraph starts with Sukhov walking into Tsezar's office from the cold outside. The first thing that is described is the office as being "as hot as a Turkish bath". This choice of words proves the fact that the room isn't just warm, but it is...