Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 6- Final Summative Blog Post (Hyejune Lee)

Literary Analysis: Describe a choice made by a character in the novel.  Why did the character make this choice?  Was his or her action justified?

The 50th edition of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
"One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich | Mr. Frick's Classroom." 2014. 30 Nov. 2014 <>

  The novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, written by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, was first published in 1962. It is based on a fictional character called Ivan Denisovich Shukhov and, directly from the title, one day in his life in a labour camp. It is possibly also based on the author's real-life experiences from his days being punished for the criticism of the dictator Stalin during the World War II. Since Alexander Solzhenitsyn had spent 8 years in various labor camps and prisons, he probably was a veteran and knew what to do in those places, which is very similar to the main character of this novel (Context 1). As a result, one choice made by the protagonist in the novel was to get Tsezar's parcel of food for him.  
Firstly, Shukhov made this choice because he knew well that he would get something in return. It is stated: "Surely he won't be stingy. Won't he give me his supper" (Solzhenitsyn 132)? This quote depicts how Shukhov was already expecting Tsezar to yield his portion of supper to him if he got the parcel. This means that he already knew the consequences to his action, therefore he has done it. Also, the author narrates: "That was just what Shukhov was expecting" (Solzhenitsyn 132). This supports that fact that Shukhov was already expecting a reward before he even put his choice into action, because it is directly narrated in this sentence. Apart from this, he also lends Tsezar his knife, and even looks after the parcels in the recount. Especially when he lends his knife, he states that: "Now Tsezar was again in his debt" (Solzhenitsyn 151). Because Shukhov mentions about Tsezar owing him something whenever he helps Tsezar, the readers are able to notice that Shukhov expects a relevant reward for his actions, and maybe even gives those helps only for the rewards.  
Additionally, he told his family not to send parcels to him, therefore this was his only way to get fine food. It is written: "But he wrote to his wife that it was a waste- don't sent them. Don't take the food out of the kids' mouths" (Solzhenitsyn 128). This explains how Shukhov does not receive parcels from his family unlike the other prisoners. Therefore, acting like a servant of those who received a parcel was the only way for him to get fine food, or else he must only expect a few inches of bread and cold, sickening stew on his dining table. Moreover, it is mentioned: "He knew too that his family wouldn't be able to keep it up for ten years" (Solzhenitsyn 128). This shows the possibility that Shukhov's family might be poor, because he worries about his family suffering from lack of money and food when he is stuck in the labor camp for ten years, cold and hungry every single day. If so, it would be even harder to get fine food because his family might not be able to send those parcels even if they want to.  
Lastly, he was secretly hoping to find a parcel sent to him. Although it is not directly quoted that he was, it was stated earlier that "...every now and then he felt himself longing for someone to run up and say: "Shukhov! Why don't you go for your parcel? There's one for you" (Solzhenitsyn 129). This depicts how Shukhov was secretly wishing for the parcel as precious as gold in labor camps, and somewhat envying the other prisoners. This futile expectation possibly could have motivated him to go seek if he has actually received a parcel from his family, not relying on others to find out for him. This can be killing two birds with one stone, because he can make sure about his own parcel and do the action that may be rewarded by his colleague.  
To conclude, Shukhov's choice was getting Tsezar's parcel for him. His action was justified because he earned what he deserves after what he has done for it. He was not required to, however went to the parcels office, waited in line and got the parcel when the actual owner, Tsezar, could have done it himself. There is an idiom that says: "the early bird catches the worm." This idiom signifies that the diligent person gets his rewards. Therefore, this idiom refers to Shukhov in this case.

Unless Shukhov do whatever he could for some of the food from the food parcel, he would have to face this the whole time he is in the gulag camp.

"The Importance of Food - meagancrisostomo - Wikispaces." 2010. 9 Dec. 2014 <>

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