The prisoner Alyoshka is a Christ figure in the camp. He is incredibly resilient in the face of adversity, and reads every night from the half of the New Testament that he has copied into a notebook he keeps hidden by his bed. Forced by the prison camp to give up physical pleasures, Alyoshka relies instead on spiritual fulfillment. Shukhov, taking note of this Christ-like spirituality, realizes at the end of the novel that Alyoshka actually enjoys his life in the prison camp. Like a medieval monk whipping himself to focus on the goods of the spirit, Alyoshka finds pleasure in the pain of camp life.

Solzhenitsyn emphasizes the way that Alyoshka’s spirituality allows him to love his fellow man. Alyhoska is generous to his fellow prisoners, even though he has very little to offer them. Near the end of the novel, Shukhov notes that Alyoshka does favors for everyone in the camp and never expects anything in return. Shukhov is bewildered by this generosity, especially in a place where the struggle for survival separates people rather than binds them together. But Alyoshka is more concerned with feeding his soul than his body, and his eagerness to give of what little he has represents the triumph of the human spirit in oppressive conditions.