One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
The Identity of Shukhov: Persistence and Dignity in "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" 9th Grade
A sense of identity is what defines the human being, what sets each person apart from the next, is the constitution of an individual. In the novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, the author uses information from personal experiences in Soviet prison camps, or gulags, to create a story explaining the identity of a fictional character named Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. As the reader imbibes passages delineating the life of this character, one can see how his environment strips him of his identity, how he preserves his individuality with dignity and etiquette, and how he has established bonds with those around him. The novel portrays one day in Shukhov's life, but it also describes exactly what and how his identity has become.
The environment of the gulag is harsh to the highest degree. Filled with political prisoners who had in some way opposed Stalin's regime, the prisoners feared not so much each other as the harsh guards, the fearsomely cold weather, and starvation. The gulag seems to try to strip Shukhov's identity from him, replacing his name with a sound and a number. “Shcha-854, the Tartar read out from the white patch on the the back of the black jacket” (Solzhenitsyn 7). As well as the...
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