It is all a fantasy until the moment we find out that it is real. Reading of Ivan Denisovich’s woes in the Gulag, albeit how devastating his experiences were, does not compare to the fact that what prisoners went through had actually happened life to human beings. While reading a novel, it is a common mistake to assume that what we are reading is completely non-fiction. The presentations, specifically the presentation on the Gulag, not only gave context to the novel but also solidified the fact that what the prisoners of the Soviet labour camps was reality.
We all sympathize with Ivan and his prison-mates throughout the course of this novel, but we never realize the truthfulness of their experiences. From what they were fed, to their jobs and work and labour, to their mentalities—everything the workers experienced occurred in real life. This sole fact is upsetting enough itself. Then think of the prisoners in the novel and the characters we have grown to know. Think of the aftermath of the Gulag. In this case, it is the opposite. We know of the consequences of the Soviet labour camps, but we do not know the ending for the characters in the book that we have grown to be fond of. We like to live in a fantasy land and believe that they live and are reunited with their families. We like to believe that they are fed well again, and are happy after being freed from their captivity. But in reality, the same things happened to the characters. Ivan could be dead. He could be going through severe mental trauma. We will never know, but we do know what the possibilities are. And out of the many negative possibilities there is only one true positive; he is happy.
The interactive oral presentations gave a deeper meaning to the novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and have helped me realize the truth in the novel. This novel is not a tale, despite it being non-fiction. Looking deeper, it is a very truthful description of a day in the life of a prisoner at one of...
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