One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich: Summary
In the book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the main character Ivan and the other prisoners in the camp are treated very badly. Ivan tries to make himself warm and to get enough food to keep himself alive. He does only what is necessary to please the guards and the commanders of the camp. Ivan uses his intelligence to make his life easier so he can save up more energy to face the work load. He and the members of the 104th group manage to survive because of Ivan's personal attention to himself and his care about the others. More importantly, Ivan survives because his intelligence, his spirit, his deception and careful teamwork.
Ivan has to be smarter than the guards in the camp, so, he will not get into trouble and get treated even worse than he does. When Shukhov and Senka want to transport the hacksaw-blade that Ivan found back at the camp, Shukhov removes both mittens, one with the blade. He then unbuttons his coat and let the guards search him. They search him side and back and his pocket, and one guard also crushes the mitten that Ivan holds out which is the empty one. This was in the book as,
He was about to pass him through when,
for safety's sake, he crushed the mitten
that Shukhov held out to him - the empty one. (Solzhenitsyn, Pg. 107)
The smart move that he does is to place the empty mitten on top and take the risk that the guard will only search the empty one. Shukhov was lucky. Another example of having to be smarter is after they find the wood panels, they want to carry them back to make the place where they work warmer. Shukhov knows that if they carry it flatways, it will be easily noticed by others, so, they hold it upright in between them and set off. If they are seen by the superintendent, for instance, it will look as if there are three of them walking together. In this way, they cheat the guards as well as the superintendent, because Ivan and the...
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