How the main characters from æCrime and PunishmentÆ and æOne

How the main characters from ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘One Day in the Life of I van Denisovich’ cope differently to each of their own sufferings.

Survival trough suffering is a general theme running through the novels. Different forms of survival occur because in different scenarios. In One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the story takes place in a prison camp, whereas in Crime and Punishment takes place in society. During the course of the two novels, it becomes quite apparent to the reader that some characters have a reason that helps them drive forward through times of suffering. The types of suffering are differentiated for each character and so is their own individual way of tolerating the pain. For example, in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the main character, Shukov, suffers due to the harshly cold conditions that he has to deal with in the prison camp. In Crime and Punishment, the main character, Raskolnikov, suffers from his guilt which he induces on himself when he realises that killing the old moneylender was wrong. Therefore, this essay is similar to an investigation into how the main characters of each novel manage to cope with each of their individual sufferings.

In One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the main character, Shukov, is coping with a tremendous amount pain. "But try and spend eight years in a ‘special’- doing hard labour. No-one’s come out of a ‘special’ alive." This shows how severe the conditions are as no-one has ever lasted a mere eight years. "A couple of hundred grams ruled your life." Here, he tells the reader that a few hundred grams of bread would determine a man’s life in that camp showing how little food is given to the prisoners. He is forced to live and work in conditions that would repulse the average person today. "The belly is a rascal. It doesn’t remember how well you treated it yesterday , it’ll cry out for more tomorrow." The way these people were treated were inhumane and intolerable, yet Shukov continued to survive. Work was used as a distraction from thinking about his pains, problems and family.

Physical labour was one of two elements of Shukov’s life that help him survive. "And now Shukov and the other masons felt the cold no longer. Thanks to the urgent work, the first wave of heat had come over them..." work obviously plays a large role on how Shukov copes. The work helped them through the cold, that is, it helped them take their mind off it and the movement gave their body warmth a slight boost that was welcomed by all of the prisoners. In addition, "If it’s necessary to work faster then lets work faster. Just as you say." This shows that workers did not mind working harder as they would benefit in the form of more body heat and a greater reward in terms of food. This acted as a large incentive to work motivating the to work hard and well. Another quote that shows how it was work that helped Shukov survive is "Difficult as it was to start working in such cold, the important thing was to get going." The inmates worked was not because they were told to, but because they knew that to get their minds off the cold they had to work or they would be forced to face the cold and they would then freeze. Once they begin to work, all their pains go away and sometimes the team even has fun once the good work gets started. Shukov gives an example of this at the very beginning of the book he could be heard complaining of his aches and pains, however, as soon as he begins working there is no more mention of any pains whatsoever.

The team leader also helped Shukov survive throughout the entire camp. "That’s what a team is. A guard can’t get people to budge even in working hours, but a team leader can tell his men to get on with the job even during the break, and they’ll do it. Because he’s the one who feeds them. And he’d never make them work for