Prompt 2: Many of the characters in One Day in the Life represent specific human qualities and the suitability or value of those qualities for the life in the camps. What characters does Shukov view positively and why? Who are the flawed characters and what are their failings? What about their life before the camps hurts or helps their chances of survival once inside? In assessing these people, what does Shukov reveal about his own values?
In Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the main character Ivan Denisovich Shukov is an inmate serving his eighth year in a Russian labor camp. Shukov had been sentenced to ten years and three days (the three days are make-up days to compensate for leap years) for supposedly being a Nazi spy (182). In reality, he had been imprisoned by the Germans and somehow managed to escape. In the eyes of the Soviets, those who did escape were considered Nazi spies; thus, Shukov was forced to admit that he was a spy in order to live (70). Solzhenitsyn further describes Shukov’s traits as well as the characteristics of the people he comes in contact with on a daily basis in this novel.
Ivan Denisovich Shukov is part of a work gang, who is referred to as Gang 104. In this work gang, Shukov associates with many men—including those whom he views positively as well as some whom he views negatively. Alyoshka the Baptist, Senka Klevshin, Andrei Prokofyevich Tyurin, Pavlo, Jan Kildigs, Tsezar Markovich, Gopchik and Captain Buynovsky are all whom Shukov views positively and are either part of Gang 104 or are somehow associated with the work gang. Although there are many of whom Shukov views positively, there is also one in particular whom he views negatively, Fetyukov. These men all have specific human qualities that may help or harm them in their chances of survival in the labor camps.
Alyoshka the Baptist and Senka Klevshin are two of whom Shukov...