One sentences and long work-days. Time is a

One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich tells the tale of political prisoner in a labour camp, giving us insights into the gulag system.

In our orals we deliberated on different motifs, structure and concepts of the book such as importance of work, escapism, faith, religion, survival, endurance of humanity,time as possession and human dignity.  The backdrop of Soviet union, under the rule of Stalin, faced complete constraint of thoughts and opinions, holds a heavy influence over the characters and their fight for survival. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, portrayed in a way of sense his autobiography through the voice of Ivan as a third person narrative through shukhov as omniscient, it records his feelings his thoughts  and thus the theme conforms to that of Socialist realism, resulting in a  cathartic effect. This is enhanced further with the descriptions of diverse set of characters each depicting a section of the society, highlighting the struggle for survival and freedom. This draws a parallel between actual residents of the USSR, telling the tale of those oppressed under Stalin’s rule and the corruption and insensitivity common at those times, thus leading to better insights on the culture and situations of Russia.

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The undercurrent of all our discussions remained time and freedom, in an otherwise time bound routined life, each characters individualism lays in their form of escape and struggle to maintain human dignity which was further enhanced by their minuscule possessions.  In the bizarre world of the camps, time is a zek’s most precious commodity, aside from food. There’s never enough time, it’s easily stolen Time is perhaps the worst thing that people in the camp lose. Years of their lives are eaten up in endless prison sentences and long work-days.  Time is a paradox, or a seeming contradiction, in the world of the camp: there’s too much of it and not enough of it, and through time comes freedom.

Throughout the oral discussion what struck me were the inanimate objects used throughout the novel.Although very few, these possessions owned by pivotal characters symbolise all major themes brought out in the novel, freedom, struggle for survival and human dignity. Each aspect showing us glimpses of the society back then and the change that has come across through collectivism.


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