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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Alexander ( Aleksandr ) Solzhenitsyn. About The Author. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is an autobiographical account of Solzhenitsyn’s experience in a labor camp.

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one day in the life of ivan denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Alexander (Aleksandr) Solzhenitsyn

about the author
About The Author
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is an autobiographical account of Solzhenitsyn’s experience in a labor camp.
  • He was arrested in 1945 for writing critical remarks about Joseph Stalin. Solzhenitsyn served his time in a forced-labor camp.
about the author cont
About The Author Cont.

He was released in 1953 on the day Stalin died.

He was then exiled to Kazakhstan after his release. Writing was feared in the Soviet Union during this time.

Died on August 3, 2008 of heart failure.

understanding history
Understanding History
  • Soviet rulers, Vladmir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, aimed to move from an agricultural society to an industrial nation.
  • Lenin and Stalin created heavy demands for workers and increasingly depended on forced labor.
  • Sentences were usually three years, but increased at random for no substantial reason.
understanding history cont
Understanding History Cont.
  • Labor workers included farmers, minority groups, or anyone who failed to perform at his/her industrial job.
  • During WW II, soldiers were accused of being responsible for Russia’s defeat. These soldiers (Ivan Denisovich) were sent to labor camps.
understanding the novel
Understanding The Novel
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich chronicles one day. The book is in chronological order.
  • The book does not have chapters, but is often broken into sections: period before work, first work period, dinner break, second work period, and after work.
  • Use of profanity, slang, and camp jargon throughout the book.
understanding the novel cont
Understanding The Novel Cont.
  • In Russia, a person’s full name consists of a first name (Ivan), a patronymic (Denisovich), and a last name (Shukov).
  • In the novel, prison authorities use Shukov to refer to Ivan Denisovich. His fellow prisoners use Ivan Denisovich. Good friends just use Ivan.
reading tips
Reading Tips
  • Always read with your vocabulary list and character list next to you. Pay attention to the footnotes at the bottom of the pages.
  • Look for “five sense” descriptions. Pay attention to descriptions used to replace everyday language, like toothbrush.
  • Look for “little joys” in the life of Ivan Denisovich and the other prisoners.