Cultural and Contextual Considerations: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich written by Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn
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During our interactive oral, we discussed the cultural and contextual considerations of the work One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich written by Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn. The subjects referred to where the importance of time and place, setting, and culture.
During our discussion, it was easily recognized that time and place held great significance. With the novel being set over a time period of one day, it supports many elements of the story. For example, the time period really seems to drag and it takes forever for one day to pass. The time setting also helps create a foundation for the mood and tone. For example, since the time of one day seems to drag on, it adds the effect of a very slow and depressing life for the prisoners. Throughout the novel, we came to the conclusion that the time setting is unconventional because it is really slow and because it is over the time of one day.
The setting played a key factor through the novel. We get the main idea of what a prisoners everyday life is in this labor camp which consists of basically waking up, eating breakfast, working again, eat lunch, work some more, eat supper then go to bed. This gives the impressions that one day takes forever to pass and that it doesn’t consist of anything significant other than work and eating. This also relates back to time because with how simple of the daily routine seems they run into obstacles such as unreasonable punishment, which contributes to time by showing how boring and slow things move on a single day.
The culture also showed great significance. With such things as the prisoners taking their hats off before eating, religion and faith. This shows that they have respect for what they have and that there is a kind of belief system present....
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... “How can you expect a man who’s warm to understand one who’s cold” (23). This quote not only proves that Solzhenitsyn is relating it to the grim mood of the story, but is referring to even though he is writing about a historical situation in order to raise awareness of the Soviet Union forced labor camp as well as provide his critical views towards Soviet totalitarianism. He strongly expresses the wrong in Soviet totalitarianism and disagrees with what transpired in the Soviet Union forced labor camps which also represents and reflects the grim mood of the story. Through all of this, it comes together to illuminate a grim mood.
Grossman, Lev. “Remembering Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn”. content.time.org. 4 Aug. 2008. Web.
3 Dec. 2013.
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Trans. Ralph Parker.
London: Penguin Group, 2000. Print.