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Ivan Denisovich Shukhov

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Introduction

Howard Wang World Literature Mr. O' Hagen October 21st 2009 Ivan Denisovich Shukhov (Solzhenitsyn Essay Topic #3) "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn is a novel that takes place in a harsh Siberian labour camp. The reason Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is the ideal protagonist is because not only does he have diligence and good morality but he is also a common Russian peasant. Because of these traits that Shukhov possesses, Solzhenitsyn is able to portray the unfairness of the gulag and the strength of the human spirit. One of the first things that one notices about Shukhov is his diligence; at the very beginning of the novel it says that "Shukhov never overslept reveille. He always got up at once..." (7). to immediately get up at 5:00 every morning requires a lot of willpower but to do so everyday knowing that there is a full day of cold, hard work is something that clearly shows the strength of Shukhov's spirit. ...read more.

Middle

"Shukov volunteered for the front again, though he could have lain there in bed for 5 days". (22) Only a loyal patriot would make such a brave decision, not a traitor. Overall Shukhov's positive attitude and diligence shows the strength of the human spirit to continue to survive and live even in the most horrible circumstances and environments. Throughout the novel Shukhov's good morality is shown several times. A great example is that Shukhov "strictly forbid his wife to send him anything even for Easter" (111). To a man which 100 extra grams of bread is highly valued, giving up packages so his family can be better off shows that Shukhov is not a greedy man who only cares about himself but a man whose morals and dignity are intact even in the gulag. ...read more.

Conclusion

But yet despite his difficult life, he still endures the camp and has determination to live on. Shukhov says "We'll survive. We'll stick it out, God grant, till it's over" (121). Shukhov's peasant background also represents the majority of Soviet Russia at that time and Shukhov is only one of many peasants, and also one of many innocent people sent to the gulags unfairly. In conclusion Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is the main character in "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" because not only is he is a hard working man with a good morality and conscience but he also has a peasant background. Shukhov represents the strength of the human spirit by keeping his morality, dignity and working hard with a positive attitude even in the gulag. The unfairness of the gulag is also more apparent because Shukhov is neither a criminal nor a traitor but yet was punished anyways. ...read more.

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