Essay about Dehumanization of Ivan Denisovich

1060 Words Oct 15th, 2011 5 Pages
Dehumanization is a psychological process when people view others as less than human, thus making them feel like they are less deserving of moral consideration. Ivan Denisovich and all of the men in Gang 104 are dehumanized by the Majors and gang leaders at the labor camp HQ. In One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alezksandr Solzhenitsyn, this Stalinist labor camp in which Shukhov is imprisoned is designed to attack its prisoners’ physical and spiritual dignity, thus systematically establishing the novel. The workers are physically dehumanized. They are constantly pushing and shoving to get a bowl of what the Majors call “soup”. The fact that “the cook shouted though the hatch, and people were shoving them at him from the other …show more content…
For example, Solzhenitsyn writes “they were really killing themselves to get that gruel they had coming” (157). They are in desperate need of “gruel” that is in reality nutrition less. Another example of this is, “now the men in the gang were coming from all over the mess hall to get their supper” (174). The prisoners at this labor camp call their final meal of the day supper. Supper is just another meal; dinner is a family gathering where families let their personal day was. It is understandable why they call this meal supper because obviously they are not with their loved ones. Along with supper, Denisovich’s spoon represents the inhumanity in everyone else’ individuality. The spoon symbolizes Ivan’s individuality. Nobody else has a spoon. Ivan has to hide his only uniqueness he has from the prison guards so they do not take his spoon away. These workers are not only dehumanized by their association with food, but also by the fact that they are not able to use much water. These men are treated horribly like animals by the Captains and Majors, and it brings stress, anger, sadness, and anxiety to the prisoners. The punishment in a labor camp is the labor, but at this camp, the discipline seems to be the pressure that is put on the gang members. For example another quote is, “he looked please with himself and set it up on the locker. ‘I nearly scalded my fingers under the facet,’ he said as

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