Doctor Zhivago vs. One Day in the Life Day of Ivan Denisovich

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Doctor Zhivago, a 1965 film based on a Russian novel of the same name, tells the story of Yuri Zhivago and how his life was constantly changed throughout the Russian revolution. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich describes the daily routine that Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, an inmate in a labor camp, goes through for eight years to fulfill his sentence.

Doctor Zhivago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich are both set in Soviet Russia, an obvious similarity. Though both works take place in Soviet Russia, they take place at different time periods. Doctor Zhivago takes place from 1912 to 1923, years that had three very important events occurring; The Russian Revolution, the Russian Civil War, and World War I. On the other hand, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich took place during the 1950’s as Stalin was in office. In Doctor Zhivago, Lenin was in office, another difference in the movie.

As the movie and book progress we are introduced to the protagonists. Doctor Zhivago introduces us to Yuri Zhivago, a poet and doctor; while One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich introduces us to Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, a prisoner in a labor camp who has been imprisoned for 8 years. Both characters, when looking at them by society means, are opposites of each other. Yuri has a better life than Ivan, he has a love life, food, and he does not have to worry about surviving throughout the day. Yuri is a free man, while Ivan is not. Though these two characters are very different, they do share some similarities. Yuri and Ivan both have an item that means a lot to them, something that reminds them of where they are from. Yuri has his balalaika, a Russian triangular instrument, who his mother gave to him; while Ivan has the spoon that he made himself while in the camp. The balalaika reminds Yuri of his deceased mother, someone that is dear to him. Ivan’s spoon gives him a sense of civilization and dignity, an object to remind him to never forget he is a human, and to never...
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