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

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and House of the Spirits. Both Denisovich and Allende illustrate humans inconceivable ability to prevail, even over a society that aims to oppress them.

Extracts from this document...


"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds" (Samuel Adams). It takes not a majority, nor a minority, to change something. It takes only a leader, a visionary, with the determination to cause a revolution. Both Denisovich and Allende encourage this perspective of humankind and reveal this through their writings in "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" and "House of the Spirits". They create characters that not only recognize the injustices, but also have a deeper understanding of them. This allows these characters to rise above the bondage of oppression and overcome fear, indecisiveness, and passivity. Both Denisovich and Allende illustrate human's inconceivable ability to prevail, even over a society that aims to oppress them. Allende's characterization of Pedro allows him to overcome his oppression through his music and love for Blanca. Allende characterizes Pedro in such a way that he seems invincible, able to overcome Estaban's tyrannical ways. Esteban could not understand how his authority could be objected, he even, "tried to prevent him from continuing his schooling...but the boy simply rose earlier and went to sleep later to finish his work" (Allende 155). Here, one can see that Allende shows Pedro's determination, his perpetual fight against his oppressors. ...read more.


Allende writes, "Clara lived in a universe of her own invention, protected from life's inclement weather, where the prosaic truth of material objects mingled with the tumultuous reality of dreams and the laws of physics and logic did not apply" (82). This contrasts to Esteban's world, where, everything is ruled by reason. His inability to connect with other characters on this abstract level isolates him allowing the characters to escape his grasp. When Blanca states that he "can't keep the world from changing" (170) he bursts into an outrage and knocks the tureen out of her hands. She responds not by arguing but by simply leaving the room Esteban has no choice but to let her leave. Esteban starts to realize his hopeless situation and his powerlessness. Esteban states, "and even if I held her down with my hands and embraced her with all my strength, I could never make her mine" (177). This feeling of helplessness frustrates Esteban. He has yet to be in a position where he is incapable of controlling others in his environment. As Clara and Esteban grow apart, he starts to feel more vulnerable. Allende writes, "one day Clara had a bolt installed on her bedroom door and after that she never let me in her bed again" (179). ...read more.


Although work may have given them purpose, nothing could inspire them more than food. Solzhenitsyn's accentuation of food reveals humans incogitable aptitude to find hope and triumph. Food also gave Ivan Denisovich Shukhov hope. Time in the camp was not measured by days, hours, or minutes but by meals. To Shukhov the time between meals could seem an eternity if there was nothing else to occupy his mind. Solzhenitsyn writes "He had to give all his time to eating. He had to scrape the stuff out from the bottom, put it carefully in his mouth, and roll it around with his tongue" (63). Shukhov would do favors for others with the small chance of getting a food reward. And even in a place where food outweighed all, Shukhov kept a sense of humanity in the barbaric prison. Shukhov always, " pulled his spoon out (13) to eat. He fought to keep his dignity and not let the system control him. Solzhenitsyn writes, "Then he removed his hat... he could never bring himself to eat with his hat on" (14). Shukhov continues to fight against the oppression not only by keeping his dignity, but also by resisting the prisons tendency to change a man while in the prison. Solzhenitsyn insinuates that Ivan will not leave the prison camp, but he will not give in. And he will survive because of his strength of will and his refusal to compromise his human dignity. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Character development of Shukhov in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich ...

    3 star(s)

    But he didn't ask straight away, he stood quite close up to Tsezar and, half turning, looked past him." Shukhov does not want to down his own dignity, so instead of asking him, he just stood there and waited for Tsezar to offer him a cigarette.

  2. A Comparison of Isolationism in The Metamorphosis and Paradise of the Blind. ...

    The "I" offers a detached role in the plot because it discusses the process of the writing that perceptively, the reader expects would not be done by one the characters, however this expectation is shattered by the end of the novel.

  1. Tesman and Lovborgs ability to fulfill Hedda's needs

    Lovborg was one of the furthest men from ideal but yet Hedda chose to have a relationship with him. Through the play it is evident that Lovborg and Hedda had many meaningful conversations as well as sexual experiences. Ibsen mentions Lovborg and Hedda having sexual connection to highlight the excitement

  2. Reading Notes: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

    Buynovsky, an inmate, was sent to the hole for ten days for wearing a flannel vest. Shukhov had nothing on him. Shukhov's group, gang 104, was marched out to work at the power station. Shukhove describes the men he works with and also tells of the respect he has for his foreman, Tyurin.

  1. How does Shukhov struggle to preserve his dignity throughout the course of his imprisonment ...

    Solzhenitsyn unveils Shukhov's cunning resistance through the use of enigmatic descriptions of his actions; "...- however cold it was, he wouldn't let himself eat with his cap on..." Shukhov shows a preservation of his dignity by conduct himself as a gentleman, maybe suggesting links to experiences of his past life

  2. How and to what effect does the use of language empower Higgins and ...

    name as if she were a thief, or a lost umbrella, or something??[23] Thus yet again proving that to Higgins, Eliza in fact wasn?t a human being but rather a ?thing? that could be compared to a lost umbrella. Eliza is a ?nobody? in the society, but her existence is still acknowledged as ?something? presumably as an experiment for Higgins.

  1. Reflection of Society in the "Grapes of Wrath"

    The image of Rose of Sharon nursing the half-starved man with her breast milk is perhaps one of the most startling and moving images in all of literature. Rose of Sharon is breast-feeding an ailing man with her own breast milk, which is a courageous action.

  2. Alexander Solzhenitsyn portrays the corruption of the Soviet nation and the gulag by using ...

    Solzhenitsyn, through the use of extensive details, wanted to make this point about the insanity of the laws and corruption of the bureaucracy clear.

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