One more essay that is written by a professional writer is One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich essay. “One day In Life of Ivan Denisovich” is associated with one of the facts of the author’s biography – the Ekibastuz special camp, where in the winter of 1950 – 1951, this story was created. The main hero of Solzhenitsyn’s story is Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, an ordinary prisoner of Stalin’s camp. In this story, the author on behalf of the character narrates about one day – from three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the term of Ivan Denisovich.
But the descriptions of this day are enough to understand what kind of situation prevailed in the camp, what sorts of orders and laws existed, much to learn about the life of prisoners, to be appalled at this life. The camp is a special world, existing separately, parallel to ours. Everyone who finds himself here, survives in his own way (or dies in his own way). Life is shown not from the outside, but from the inside, we see it through the eyes of a person who knows about it from personal experience. That is why we suggest you to read One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich essay to learn this personal experience more.
Why did the author choose to write a work of fiction in order to share his Gulag experience with an audience? Why not nonfiction?
Any book aims at creating a particular impression on the reading audience, that is to provoke, to shock, to amuse and entertain. The point is that “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” is the work of literature that turns out to be slightly contradicting in its nature, with the intricate plot, and in general painful topic. The author, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, managed to transmit the main ideas of the past realia by writing the fiction story of the person’s life in severe conditions.
The first point to make is to state that the novel seems to be both historical and fictional due to the way the writer presents the protagonist and the events around him. To be more precise, the book dwells upon the totalitarian Soviet rules which made a lot of innocent people suffer in gulags. Mainly, gulag was the type of prison, the forced labor camps, where the prisoners faced a terror of the Soviet regime. “You can turn a man upside down, inside out, any way you like”(Solzhenitsyn 28). They were sent to serve a sentence for so-called crimes, like following another religion or supporting other governments’ policies. All in all, the conditions were challenging that broke many people and ruined their hopes for a better future.
What should be said is that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote the novel from his own experience of being in one of the gulags. That is why the book may also be interpreted as the journalistic account of the personal feelings and observations being a real witness. Still, what impresses the most is that the book “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” is, in fact, a fiction story but about the real past. In other words, the author decided to describe the actual events from the point of utopia that interests a reader even more(“The Book Which Shook The Soviet Union”).
The novel is written not to present the anti-soviet issues, which ruined people’s lives but to emphasize the person’s indestructibility. To be specific, the attentive reader should notice not only the story about the violent methods in the gulags but to look more profound to realize the primary idea. Furthermore, to reach all these effects, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn appeals to the use of unrealistic conditions, the methods which seem imagined and even ridiculous while knowing the truth. First of all, the choice of setting impresses, it is presented in a way not comprehensible from the first reading. Individually, the labor camps are the dirty, ugly places, where everybody suffers, becomes ill, loses any connection with the outside world. The gulags seem to be the place of imagination with the extreme level of awful characteristics. “The mess was its usual self – frosty air streaming in from the door, men at the tables packed as tight as seeds in a sunflower, men wandering between tables, men trying to barge their way through with full trays”(Solzhenitsyn 42). It is the area where the prisoners feel themselves being trapped forever because the gulags are perceived as the eternal environment with no way out. Besides, the depiction of winter only strengthens the idea of the endlessness where each prisoner is destined to experience violence and harsh work for the rest of their lives.
It is impossible to say in the case of “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” that this is utopia at all, since while reading further and further the reader finds it to be a dystopia. Notably, the gulags are real, they are violent and totalitarian, but the world in them is somewhat created, not trustworthy. Being a profound observer, one has to notice that it is the actual reverse of the world outside the forced labor camps. Mainly, everything that takes place is the opposition to the reality, the illogical rules, the ridiculous punishments and in general, the foolish conditions for living. “You had to be wide awake all the time. Make sure a warder never saw you on your own, only as one of a crowd. He might be looking for somebody to do a job, or he might just want to take his spite out on you”(Solzhenitsyn 32). On the whole, it creates the feeling of not the utopian world, where everything is presented as good and perfect, but to the contrary, as dystopia which centers on everything cruel and wicked.
The author chooses such an approach to the historical presentation to make it more vivid and real. In other words, he attempts to transmit the total horror by exaggerating, by creating the images which shock and impress by their absurdity and immorality. It allows for plunging into the story entirely, realizing the history with all its hidden secrets, and in such a way the reader will remember how it was and what it was. Dystopia can be considered as the literary tool for dwelling upon reality as being distorted by the totalitarian regime and its followers. “Those numbers were the plague of a zek’s life. A warder could spot him a long way off. […] And if you didn’t get it touched up in time, you were in the hole for not looking after it! ( Solzhenitsyn 43). It shows how humiliated the prisoners were, how they struggled to remain individuals but were not allowed to because of the terroristic rules and laws of the gulags. People were viewed as nothing, and they were thought to be without their personal choice, freedom, and dignity. What should be mentioned is that “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” is also the historical fiction what also confuses when it comes to the question about the integrity of the events. Still, the place where the story takes place is real, it is the historical record of the Soviet terror, but the characters in it are imagined. Perhaps, it also contributes to the particular atmosphere when the reader realizes the realia, but the unreal heroes provide the feeling of a fiction book. As a result, it is interesting to read, it is not a strict historical documentary, but the novel full of passion, pain, and truth.
To sum up, the author succeeds in creating the fiction novel that dwells upon the real past, which was full of persecution, immorality and illogical assumptions made up by the blind followers. “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” is not the ordinary book, but dystopia about the fictitious characters in real conditions of the violent totalitarian Soviet world. And even understanding the whole absurd of the described situations, the reader may feel the sigh of the history that screams about the prisoners’ pain and suffering, which were real.
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich. New York, Penguin Books, 1962.
“The Book Which Shook The Soviet Union.” BBC News, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20393894.