One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 27 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
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Man versus Society

Ivan represents the common man; the immediate society he lives in is prison. Every day he struggles to survive physically and psychologically. The prison supplies him with the bare necessities: food, shelter, and a job. His choices are few, but the one great choice is his: to live or to die. His choice to survive impacts the greater society: man can go on despite whatever cruelties society imposes.

The Truth versus the Lie

Ivan was imprisoned in the forced labor camp for the crime of high treason. During World War II, the Germans captured a great many Soviet soldiers. Ivan was one. However, he escaped and returned to his own lines. The Soviets believed he lied about escaping and was really spying for the Germans. Ivan realized if he told the truth, he'd be shot, but if he lied and said he was a spy, he'd...

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This section contains 406 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Study Guide
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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.