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1. Solzhenitsyn’s realistic
narrative style provides us with a lot of detail about Shukhov’s
everyday life in the labor camp. By contrast, there are huge areas
of Shukhov’s life that are not detailed at all. We never learn his
wife’s name, for example. Why does Solzhenitsyn provide so many
details about some areas of Shukhov’s life and so few about others?
2. Readers disagree about whether
camp life has made Shukhov a more humane person or a more selfish
and inconsiderate one. He is hardworking, faithful, and reliable.
But he is remarkably uncharitable toward the old prisoner at dinner and
unsympathetic toward Buynovsky when Buynovsky gets thrown in the
hole. How would you characterize Shukhov’s moral state?
3. At first, Tyurin is depicted
as a tough, cold official, a mask of authority with little humanity.
But after the storytelling session at the Power Station when he
narrates the crime that got him into the camp, Tyurin seems much
more human. Why does Solzhenitsyn show this change? What does this
transition suggest about Soviet attitudes toward authority?
4. Shukhov is the envy of the
camp because his sentence is almost over, yet he does not rejoice
at his impending freedom. In fact, he appears almost indifferent
to his upcoming release. Why is Shukhov so unconcerned with his
day of liberation from the labor camp?
5. Solzhenitsyn’s authorial voice
is simple. He uses few abstract nouns and few complex sentence structures.
Why does Solzhenitsyn choose to narrate in such a basic style?
Ace your assignments with our guide to One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich!