Freedom of Thought in Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

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There are many definitions of the term "freedom." Some will say that to be free one must be allowed to do as one pleases in terms of one's physical body, while others will say that one must only be able to think to be truly free. Yet another group will argue that both aspects must be present for true freedom to exist.

In many of his books, but specifically One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn deals with the idea that the mind is not truly free. He believed that since there is an inherent desire for approval within the human race, any thoughts that agree with the values of society cannot be deemed free thinking since the thinker could simply be searching for approval. Some critics believe that "this implies a double standard on freedom of thought," and that "freedom is inherent in the very process of thought" (Fink 1).

Solzhenitsyn believed that it was nearly impossible to have truly free thoughts under the prison camp conditions described in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, or in any situation where there is an authoritarian ruler. In a pris...
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