One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a well-known book about the gulags in the Soviet Union. Written by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, it’s about one day in the life of prisoner Ivan Sukov at a gulag. It’s based off the author’s own experience being imprisoned in a gulag. The author was imprisoned for writing letters criticizing Stalin under the name “Old Man Whiskers”. The character in the story is imprisoned for being captured by German soldiers during WW2. The book is set in the 1950’s. In a brief summary, the books details his waking up ill to working all day to dinner and bed time. Sukov wakes up ill and wants to go to the sick bay and be exempted from doing his work. He sleeps slightly later and gets punished by the guards. After, he starts his work day building a power station. His work crew has to build up the brick wall. They have to work in 30 below zero temperatures and cold and hunger play a huge part in the book. The tone of the book is a matter-of-factly tone, not alluding to the horror or dread of living in the gulag. Sukov resigns to his life in the gulag, thinking little to none of the outside world, getting out, or his family. He struggles day by day to get enough food and get along with other prisoners. Two films were made about it in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Spark Note’s Analysis of the Book


About History Is Interesting

I like ancient and medieval history!
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