• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Shukhov's Survival Strategies.

Extracts from this document...


IB English James Heim Essay January, 2004 Shukhov's Survival Strategies Throughout Alexander Solzheitsyn's novel, "One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich", the theme of human survival is constantly present. The way, in which Solzhenitsyn describes the intense, terrible conditions at the prison camp, shows that the individual prisoners needed survival skills, strategies, and qualities, if they wanted a chance to survive. Solzhenitsyn uses the characters in the novel, to show this theme, which is portrayed through their behaviour, reactions, and their own actions. The author also uses the setting to help display and develop the theme in the novel, by giving the impression of eerie, hopeless, and angry feelings in his setting, by using places like the sick room, and the work site. Solzhenitsyn forebodes the fact in his book, that survival strategies separated the individuals in the prison who lived through their prison sentence and the ones that didn't. The novel focuses on one day in the life of the main character, Shukhov, in the prison camp. We learn that he is a survivor, by analysis his day in the camp. We learn that Ivan Denisovich, or Shukhov, as we know him, is a consummate survivor because he has a positive attitude, practical skills, and a strong sense of moral and ethical integrity. Shukhov appears to have both physical and mental strengths, which help him to survive in the prison camp. ...read more.


We realise this, because when Shukhov goes to the mess hall in the afternoon, whilst he's drinking the thin soup, all his complaints and concerns disappear. In the day in which we learn about Shukhov, we see that Shukhov risks punishment from the camp authorities in his deception to grab extra bowls of gruel, however he does this only because he has his sight set on getting an extra bowl for himself. Shukhov also risks being punished for keeping a metal blade, which he picked up earlier in the day. When waiting in line to help Tsezar, he comes very close to the point where the metal piece is detected by the guard during the body search process. He wonders whether he should drop the metal piece, however to him it is more tempting to take the risk and keep it as such a tool could earn him extra bread if he were to trade it with a fellow prisoner. Taking risks is part of Shukhov's survival strategies. He takes the risks just for the chance that he might get a bit of extra food for himself. Tsezar, a fellow prisoner of the grand squad 104, receives regular food parcels through some mysterious connections, and these parcels make him the envy of the gang. Shukhov is always eager to help to please Tsezar in anyway, like to wait in line for his parcels, just for the possibility that he will get a few rations of food from him. ...read more.


Even though it might not be obvious to Shukhov himself, this dreaming of his family helps him survive his prison sentence in the camp, as it keeps him mentally stable. Although Shukhov does not think or comment about religion throughout the majority of the novel, his final conversation with Alyoshka, a devout Baptist, reveals that faith can be a means of survival in the oppressive camp system. Shukhov's interest in his discussion with Alyoshka of God, faith and prayers, shows that Shukhov's sense of inner peace in the last paragraph of the story, resembling Alyoshka's sense of inner peace throughout the novel, forebodes the idea that religious faith can offer strength to survive in the prison camp. At the beginning of the novel, Shukhov start the day off feeling ill, however he still gets through the day. Not only does he makes the most of his day, but he also survive it. We only learn about one day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, and the author tries to stress the fact that Shukhov has to undertake his survival strategies, and skills, everyday, for his whole ten-year life sentence. In portraying Solzhenitsyn's theme of survival, he tries to express that only the best survived in the soviet prisoner camps. They were not places for weak people. You had to believe in yourself, and be fit mentally and physically to survive, and have the personality qualities, which Shukhov had in the novel. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Fyodor Dostoevsky section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Fyodor Dostoevsky essays

  1. How can an audience identify with Charlie Gordon's desire to be 'smart'?

    Our culture only seems to value academic intelligence; it does not value other intelligence's -examinations are everything. Perhaps we value tests more than we value people? Research is a vital part of modern society and scientists want to find something to help other people.

  2. Could I Have Lived My Life Differently? : The Diary of Bigger Thomas.

    killed, it is a symbol of the living conditions of urban black America and a foreshadowing metaphor for Bigger's psychological condition. The rat has hidden in the Thomas' apartment, growing fat on garbage before it is trapped and killed, largely for its physical repulsiveness.

  1. "Crime and Punishment" novel study Assignment. Outline, characters,setting and conflict.

    His face distorted by a smile. 'Is this really possible?' he said in a voice that could scarcely be heard. Raskolnikov gave him a look of malicious hostility." (2.6.199) This passage further develops Raskolnikov's character, particularly by showing his impulsiveness that almost leads him to confessing for the crimes he has committed.

  2. What Makes Ann A Survivor? - Z for Zachariah By Robert C O'Brian

    The last straw for Ann was when "Loomis shot me". She no longer felt they could share the valley if Loomis was going to act childish (hiding the key to the tractor and making Ann move out instead of himself)

  1. Data Envelopment Analysis in University Rankings

    that this should be ranked 3rd as it provides a tangible value to the degree. Student-Staff Ratio - this factor, closely linked with the first, was included as it may consider the education process having a large/small lecture number. This is ranked last because it can be argued that this not make the largest of differences.

  2. The Indestructibility of Human NatureA Comparative Analysis of the Novels We by E. Zamyatin ...

    The use of number names automatically creates a mental association with a prison, something which seems obvious in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, while strange and unusual in the society described as utopian in We. The reason that number names are assigned in prison is because of the desired effect on the inmates.

  1. How is the LuLing that springs to life in her manuscript different from the ...

    We can say that she has learnt her lesson. Another metamorphosis between the two LuLings is the way in which Precious Auntie taught LuLing about everything that she knew and now LuLing tries to do that for Ruth. Precious Auntie was taught by her father as if she was a boy and gave her no limitations.

  2. Crime and Punishment - Writer's Notebook

    socks, imagines the brutal beating of his landlady, and his fascination of his shredded clothes. His anxiety and fear become so great that he goes into seclusion for a period of four days. This reaction of "laying low" was countered by visit to the police station for an unrelated matter.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work