The Significance Of Setting In The Novel 'One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich'

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The novel focuses on one man, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, as he tries to survive another day in the Soviet Union with dignity and compassion. The action takes place at a prison camp in Russia in the northeastern region called Ekibastuz. The location is pounded by snow, ice and winds of appalling and shocking force during winter and lasted for many weeks. The camp is very isolated as it consists double rows of barbed wire fencing around the entire area, making sure it is fully concealed and private, so that no prisoners can escape. The conditions of the camp are very harsh. It is a union where camp prisoners have to earn their food by working hard in their inadequate clothing during the extremely cold weather. Living conditions are almost …show more content…
The setting creates a huge impact on Ivan Denisovich and the other men at the labour camp, as the dehumanizing atmosphere removes each and everyone’s individuality while they correspond with the severe and tough rules. Due to the cruel living conditions and the ruthless setting utilized in the novel, Solzhenitsyn provides his readers with a hopeless situation and gives them characters that struggle fiercely to maintain their individuality. Men being able to work together in a setting of political commotion maintain a little essence of individuality only. However, not only does it take away individuality, but it also removes basic human rights and needs; for example, Ivan Denisovich and all the other men are treated as objects, far worse than animals. Horses had private stalls and warm blankets, as well as nourishing food, and a guard dog received more meat to eat than a prisoner. In fact, men at the camp barely received meat during mealtimes; they would only be given cold and thin porridge. Books are also prohibited in the camp and aggressive and vicious overseers like Volkovoi would sometimes beat the prisoners for no reason. Guards would steal dignity from all of them by calling them by their numbers, for example, Ivan Denisovich as S-854. On the whole, the daily brutal labour, the marches to work in the intense cold weather, which felt like a knife against the skin, the body searches, the waiting in line in the morning and

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