AP/IB/GT English 2
19 September 2012
Through the presentations, I learned that people who were close to a person that was arrested were cut off from their families. In the novel, prisoners such as Tsaezar received gifts that came in the mail such as tobacco and food. Other prisoners looked at this with great envy, because this was not common. People such as the Estonians would even sell things that they received, such as tobacco, and sell or trade it.
Another thing that I understood more was how miserable conditions were, by looking at the presentations about culture. I came to understand more about the harsh conditions of the gulags and economy. When reading the book, I was more focused on the weather of the book, such as when the prisoners were forced to work in the cold and stand still to be counted. People on their way to the gulags would die, because of the horrible conditions on the train. In the book, Shukhov explained about how horrible it was in the prison cells, because of how cold it was, especially because a person sent to the cells had nothing but his clothes to warm him. He also said that if the person in a cell survived being in the cells, they would not be the same ever again.
Finally, the last thing I realized from the presentations was about Religion. In the powerpoints, I learned that the Russians had been taught Aetheism in schools during Stalin’s rule, bevause Stalin wanted more power to himself. In the book, religion was not mentioned much except about Alyosha. This is because Aetheism had been taught to them so the prisoners did not really have a sense for deities. Shukhov, however, menthions that Alyosha’s religion is interesting, and wonders if Christianity is right. He also said that people with faith were usually good people. In my research, I learned that Solzhenitsyn was Christian, and that religion was very important to him, so it influenced him to mention it in the book. Word Count: 330...
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