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Alexander Solzhenitysyn – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Part II

Our hero, Ivan Denisovich, is not an extraordinary man. He lives in the midst of a world where there is not enough to eat, in a world where you are dependent on the kindness of those around you, yet he feels no envy for the packages of food the others have received. It is a small thing, but an enormous thing. It is a basic decency that cannot be crushed out of some men. In the midst of the horror and darkness we get glimpses of not just man at his worst, but man at his best. Like the stars shining in the dark sky. This basic decency and dignity is everywhere in the novel. The Soviets could not crush it out. They tried. There is noting the state can do to crush out art, as art elevates. They tried. If you love life, then you can love life in the camps. This is life too. Whatever is going on in the bigger world is happening here too. This is not an entertaining book. It does educate. This novel teaches that there is something higher: have courage; speak the truth, and be willing to suffer no matter whatever God sends.

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