One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Questions and Answers
by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Start Your Free Trial

How does the narrative technique in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich help with characterization?

Expert Answers info

Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,686 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

Unsurprisingly, Solzhenitsyn's narrative is from his title character's point of view. The result of this decision is that we see the situations and the characters as Shukhov sees them, not from an omniscient perspective, though it is a third-person account. What, one might ask, does an author gain or lose by presenting the scenario this way?

In this case, it has the effect of convincing us, as readers, that the story is probably Solzhenitsyn's own history, even though it's not given in the first person. Paradoxically, a first-person narrative might weaken the objectivity of his account of events. His first readers would have known it was his own story anyway, because the novel was published with Khrushchev's approval as an indictment of the Stalinist system under which the author had been imprisoned. But even if we know nothing about Solzhenitsyn, the manner in which Shukhov sees himself and sees the others has a special kind of veracity to it.

This is partly because the writing style, at...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,056 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Dakota Rabbitt eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseProfessional Writer

bookB.A. from Colby College


calendarEducator since 2019

write295 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial