Section 4 (pg. 58-76) Notes from One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Section 4 (pg. 58-76)

The squads working around the power station head for the canteen, a shanty built around a stove, where they eat dinner. They are served the good, filling kasha, or oatmeal, not the magara they had in the morning. At the serving window, the cook keeps count as he hands out the bowls. Noticing the cook's confusion over the count, Ivan Denisovich takes advantage by tricking him of two extra bowls. He quickly finishes his portion and waits patiently for Pavlo to decide who will get the extra bowls he has swiped. Pavlo rightfully gives one to Ivan Denisovich and the other to Captain Buinovsky, who has been lingering around after finishing his bowl. He sits, unaware that other prisoners are waiting for his spot:

"He was a newcomer. He was unused to the hard life of the zeks. Though he didn't know it, moments like this were particularly important to him, for they were transforming him from an eager, confident naval officer with a ringing voice into an inert, though wary, zek. And only in that inertness lay the chance of surviving the twenty-five years of imprisonment he'd been sentenced to." pg. 65

Topic Tracking: Survival 4

Ivan Denisovich agrees with Pavlo's decision to give the bowl to Captain Buinovsky. The Captain does not yet know how to manage on his own. Until then, he will need help. Fetiukov leaves the canteen, angry that he does not get a share of the extra bowls.

Ivan Denisovich takes a bowl of kasha for Tsezar, who is working at the office of the rate inspector. Tsezar is smoking a pipe, arguing with prisoner X 123 about the art of film. Ivan Denisovich listens to their conversation, not wanting to interrupt "such a learned conversation." Tsezar takes the bowl without acknowledging his fellow squad member's presence. Ivan Denisovich leaves quietly. Walking back, he finds a piece of hacksaw blade and decides to keep it for later use.

At the power station, Tiurin is in a good mood because he has been successful in drawing up a favorable work report. The usually reticent squad leader tells stories of his life to those sitting around the stove. They learn that he was discharged from the army for being a son of a Kulak, or peasant. As Tiurin tells his stories of evading authorities, getting help from female college students on a train, and parting with his younger brother, Ivan Denisovich listens, smoking some tobacco he has borrowed from one of the Estonians. Tiurin finishes his stories and calls the men back to work. The men obey right away because they always work hard for their squad leader. And every member keeps up so as not to hinder the progress of the entire squad. Ivan Denisovich, Kilgas, Senka, and Tiurin prepare for the bricklaying, while Pavlo works on getting the mortar ready. Ivan Denisovich gives all of himself to his work, treating the wall as if it is his handiwork.

Topic Tracking: Authority 4
Topic Tracking: Work 5

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