How does the structure in 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' contribute to its main concerns?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This novella was written by a Soviet during the Soviet reign in Russia.  After the Bolshevik revolution, the USSR came under the tyrannical leadership of Stalin, who persecuted, abused, and murdered many of his citizens.  While things improved during Kruschev's reign, much of the repression was still in place, including the work camps.

The concern in this short novel is to demonstrate the dehumanization of Russian citizens during this reign.  They are treated like animals, or more accurately, like the machinery of the state.  Their usefulness existed only in their ability to produce, and little was done to recognize them as individuals or treat them as humans.  Readers see this in the number identification tags of the work camp prisoners, who have been denied their right to a name.  Solzhenitsyn was seeking to expose the horrors that existed.

Instead of using emotional tactics, the author wrote in a more impersonal way.  He used the third person narrative instead of the first, and avoided needless words, particularly excessive description.  This echoes the lack of emotion and compassion with which the prisoners were treated.  In addition, Solzhenitsyn chooses to use the novella, and limit the story to one day.  More days,  more information, could easily distract the reader.  A shorter, more concise portrayal of facts is more powerful and convincing.

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