Solzhenitsyn's One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

1290 Words 6 Pages
A genre spread throughout a thousand years of Russian history will obviously

have several different aspects to it. Russian literature can be divided into four different

periods: Old Russian, Imperial, post-Revolutionary, and post-Soviet. Old Russian

literature was created during the development of Russia, changing through the expansion

of Russia under Peter the Great, among other leaders who aimed to westernize Russia.

This period also led to the modern literature of other nations, like Ukraine, as Russia was

composed of several other ethnic groups. Overall, Old Russian literature was a stepping

stone to the great Russian works written observed today. As western culture was

assimilated into the daily lives of Russians, the quality of
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However, this time period prompted several illegal writings,

which documented many of the horrors occurring throughout the nation.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich tells the story of

Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, a prisoner of Russia’s notorious gulag system under Joseph

Stalin; the novel takes the reader into the gulag camp for a day, depicting the daily

struggles that Shukhov, along with the other prisoners, must face, and emphasizing,

firsthand, the Russian struggle against societal oppression.

One Day made such a significant impact on its audience primarily because

Solzhenitsyn was writing from his own experiences in the gulag camps - as Lesley

Chamberlain states in her literary criticism, “He is not a joke or a legend, but a real,

extraordinary man whose fate... reveals complex truths about his country.” Thus, readers

were introduced to characters based upon real individuals that Solzhenitsyn encountered

within the camps, along with their own genuine coping mechanisms in this difficult time.

Solzhenitsyn portrays the suffering and perseverance of his characters through his unique

writing style.

Ultimately, One Day can be used to describe one of the most horrific periods

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