The Question and Answer section for One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I believe it was for criticizing Joseph Stalin in a private letter.
The men actually find purpose in their small rituals and their friendships. Instead of destroying their spirit, the men find ways to carry on.
Although the camp seeks to strip man of his humanity, the men find ways to express their morals and ethics. Shukhov and his fellow prisoners maintain their humanity through small acts and rituals. One such act is removing one's hat at a meal....