October 3, 2010 Cold War-Period 1 Ivan Denisovich Shukhov was sent to a Soviet concentration camp, he was accused of being a spy after being captured by the Germans. He was not a spy but was still falsely punished by the government. My favorite quote of the book is, “Can they even tell what the sun to do? ” This portrays that when the Communist Party declared that the sun reaches its high point of the day at one instead of noon. He is saying that the Soviet Union controls everything such as: the sun’s zenith, religion, and clothes.
The Soviet Union treated prisoners of war(POWS) very harshly and the system itself was also very corrupt. Alexander Solzhenitysn was a POW himself. In February of 1945 when he was serving in East Prussia he got arrested for writing insulting comments in multiple letters to Nikolai Vitkevich. The first camp they took him to be in Lubyanka, and they beat him there and questioned him on many things. In the middle phase of his concealment he was sent to Sharaska.
The last place in which he was imprisoned in was Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan were he worked as a bricklayer, miner, and a foreman for small building projects, this is in which he got the idea and the base of the book One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. All the information in his book was acquired by actual experiences with the hardships Shukhov faced in the book. From the mouth of Benjamin C. Gardner One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovic is indeed a powerful book. Were it merely the grim testimonial to life in the Soviet Gulags or a witness to infringed liberties, its force would be staggering.
Were it a testimony to the indomitableness of human nature, it would be crushing. As it is, it shatters our perception of man and ourselves as no other book, save Anne Franke`s diary and the testimony of Elie Wiesl, could ever have done. However, it is more than all the above. “One Day” is actually a searching look at human nature. The biting wind, jagged wire, frigid climate, watery soup, and the warmth provided by an extra pair of mittens or an hour of hard physical labor all find matches in the colorful rowd of characters that parades through this narrative – from the prison guards to the prisoners themselves to the prison director to the turncoat prisoners who sold their integrity for the favor of their oppressors. This is a book to be read, first of all, for its historical value – a tribute to those who were imprisoned but whose voices were never heard, and a silent plea to commit all our forces to the proposition that such vileness will never reach our liberty-loving shores.
No less importantly, this is a book that should prompt us to turn our eyes inward and question ourselves whether, in our own way, we are capable of committing the same atrocities against our fellow man, and whether, if subjected to the same suffering, we would have the strength of character to find as much comfort in a bowl of soup as we do now in the transient, unfounded knowledge that such inhumanity will not touch us. ” He summarized the life of an average POW in the Soviet concentration camps.
This book to me was a very interesting read giving me foresight into the life of an average, innocent, hard working man in a concentration camp. This book helped me too understand how the world was in turmoil during the Cold War and how people in the Soviet Union were treated. As Shukhov says, “I’m not a beggar I work for everything I get and not I’m about to change that now. ” I liked this quote because I believe this is a good way to live your life.
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