Monday, 19 December 2016

EXPLANATION WITH RTC: THE SEA BY EDWARD BOND

(a) You must tell me .......... battery opening fire.

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Sea
(ii) Dramatist: Edward Bond
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Scene II
(ii) Content: A tempestuous storm shakes a small East Anglian seaside village, and Willy is trying to save his friend, Colin. When he sees Evens and Hatch, he does his level best to call them of for help but they refuse. Mrs. Rafi is rehearsing the play she is to perform for raising coast guard fund. At this moment Willy comes to visit her. He tells her in detail what has happened at the sea. Colin's corpse is found eventually. Mrs. Rafi refuses to trade with Hatch, the draper. He, out of desperation, wounds her and runs away from to town believing that aliens from another planet have arrived to invade the city. Mrs. Rafi advises her niece, Colin's fiancee, to go away from the town with Willy. Willy accepts this and goes away with her from the town in search of change.
EXPLANATION
     These lines are spoken by a main character, Mr. Rafi. She is in the shop of Hatch, the draper. Willy Carson enters the shop and Mrs. Rafi greets him. She condoles the death of Colin: "This is a terrible tragedy. Colin was engaged to my niece". Mrs. Rafi offers him to reside at her house till he is in the town. She wishes to know the details from Willy how has Colin drowned into the sea. She says to Willy that she was going to complain the chief-of-staff about the battery opening fire. Fire discipline is a system of communication in the military, primarily for directing artillery. By definition, fire discipline is the language of fire control. Battery is a fortified structure on which artillery is mounted. In naval context, battery is used to describe groups of guns on warships. Thus battery fire is the firing of a battery of weapons. Mrs. Rafi thinks that "battery opening fire" was the main reason which turned the boat of Colin turtle. That is why she was going to complain to the "chief-of-staff". In short, Mr. Rafi wants to do everything in the investigation of the accident of Colin's drowning. This also highlights her punitive and authoritarian role in the society she lives in.

(b) Such a night. ........... tormented by the vision of ---

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Sea
(ii) Dramatist: Edward Bond
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Scene II
(ii) Content: A tempestuous storm shakes a small East Anglian seaside village, and Willy is trying to save his friend, Colin. When he sees Evens and Hatch, he does his level best to call them of for help but they refuse. Mrs. Rafi is rehearsing the play she is to perform for raising coast guard fund. At this moment Willy comes to visit her. He tells her in detail what has happened at the sea. Colin's corpse is found eventually. Mrs. Rafi refuses to trade with Hatch, the draper. He, out of desperation, wounds her and runs away from to town believing that aliens from another planet have arrived to invade the city. Mrs. Rafi advises her niece, Colin's fiancee, to go away from the town with Willy. Willy accepts this and goes away with her from the town in search of change.
EXPLANATION
     These lines are spoken by Mr. Rafi's friend, Mrs. Jessica Tilehouse. In these lines Mr. Tilehouse is showing her concern for a young man, Willy Carson. Mrs. Tilehouse and Mrs. Rafi are in the shop of Hatch, the draper. Willy enters the shop and Mrs. Rafi greets him. She condoles the death of Colin: "This is a terrible tragedy. Colin was engaged to my niece." She offers him to reside at her house till he is in the town. She wishes to know the details from Willy how has Colin drowned into the sea. Willy says, "It was a small boat. The storm swept us off course. The guns didn't sink us. We'd already turned over." Mrs. Tilehouse says that yesterday's night was blustery and disastrous. She is pleased at her ignorance about Willy's outing the last night. She says that if she knew that Willy was out in the stormy weather yesterday, she would have had no rest and sleep. She would have been experiencing intense metal pain all the time by the vision of Willy's drowning and dying. She says to Willy, "Oh dear. This terrible sea, this terrible life." In short, these lines show Mrs. Tilehouse's infatuation, compassion and sympathy for Willy.

(c) Listen, where is .......... it's up to us.

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Sea
(ii) Dramatist: Edward Bond
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Scene II
(ii) Content: A tempestuous storm shakes a small East Anglian seaside village, and Willy is trying to save his friend, Colin. When he sees Evens and Hatch, he does his level best to call them of for help but they refuse. Mrs. Rafi is rehearsing the play she is to perform for raising coast guard fund. At this moment Willy comes to visit her. He tells her in detail what has happened at the sea. Colin's corpse is found eventually. Mrs. Rafi refuses to trade with Hatch, the draper. He, out of desperation, wounds her and runs away from to town believing that aliens from another planet have arrived to invade the city. Mrs. Rafi advises her niece, Colin's fiancee, to go away from the town with Willy. Willy accepts this and goes away with her from the town in search of change.
EXPLANATION
     These lines are spoken by Hatch, the draper. These lines are a direct satire on the political and judicial system of the East Anglian seaside village. When Mrs. Rafi, Mrs. Tilehouse and Willy Carson leave the shop of Hatch, Carter and Thompson appear. They discuss the drowning of Colin. Hatch seems full of certain hallucinations because he considers it was some sort of devil that drowned the ship and not the storm: "They come from space. Beyond our world. Their world's threatened by disaster." He believes that the aliens have come to take control of this town because they know that there is no leadership, no authority and no discipline in this town. This town is the weakest spot for aliens to dominate. This belief reveals the reason why Hatch did not help Colin: "All these ships in distress are really secret landings from space. We won't go out to help them, we'll go and drive them off. Run them down." In short, Hatch's belief in aliens suggests two things; religion on the decline and the dissatisfaction of people with the worldly political and judicial system. Thus these lines trumpet the theme of change and reform.

EXPLANATION WITHE RTC: THE SEA BY EDWARD BOND

Listen, where is .......... it's up to us.

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Sea
(ii) Dramatist: Edward Bond
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Scene II
(ii) Content: A tempestuous storm shakes a small East Anglian seaside village, and Willy is trying to save his friend, Colin. When he sees Evens and Hatch, he does his level best to call them of for help but they refuse. Mrs. Rafi is rehearsing the play she is to perform for raising coast guard fund. At this moment Willy comes to visit her. He tells her in detail what has happened at the sea. Colin's corpse is found eventually. Mrs. Rafi refuses to trade with Hatch, the draper. He, out of desperation, wounds her and runs away from to town believing that aliens from another planet have arrived to invade the city. Mrs. Rafi advises her niece, Colin's fiancee, to go away from the town with Willy. Willy accepts this and goes away with her from the town in search of change.
EXPLANATION
     These lines are spoken by Hatch, the draper. These lines are a direct satire on the political and judicial system of the East Anglian seaside village. When Mrs. Rafi, Mrs. Tilehouse and Willy Carson leave the shop of Hatch, Carter and Thompson appear. They discuss the drowning of Colin. Hatch seems full of certain hallucinations because he considers it was some sort of devil that drowned the ship and not the storm: "They come from space. Beyond our world. Their world's threatened by disaster." He believes that the aliens have come to take control of this town because they know that there is no leadership, no authority and no discipline in this town. This town is the weakest spot for aliens to dominate. This belief reveals the reason why Hatch did not help Colin: "All these ships in distress are really secret landings from space. We won't go out to help them, we'll go and drive them off. Run them down." In short, Hatch's belief in aliens suggests two things; religion on the decline and the dissatisfaction of people with the worldly political and judicial system. Thus these lines trumpet the theme of change and reform. 

EXPLANATION WITH RTC: THE SEA BY EDWARD BOND

Such a night. ....... tormented by the vision of ---

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Sea
(ii) Dramatist: Edward Bond
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Scene II
(ii) Content: A tempestuous storm shakes a small East Anglian seaside village, and Willy is trying to save his friend, Colin. When he sees Evens and Hatch, he does his level best to call them of for help but they refuse. Mrs. Rafi is rehearsing the play she is to perform for raising coast guard fund. At this moment Willy comes to visit her. He tells her in detail what has happened at the sea. Colin's corpse is found eventually. Mrs. Rafi refuses to trade with Hatch, the draper. He, out of desperation, wounds her and runs away from to town believing that aliens from another planet have arrived to invade the city. Mrs. Rafi advises her niece, Colin's fiancee, to go away from the town with Willy. Willy accepts this and goes away with her from the town in search of change.
EXPLANATION
     These lines are spoken by Mr. Rafi's friend, Mrs. Jessica Tilehouse. In these lines Mr. Tilehouse is showing her concern for a young man, Willy Carson. Mrs. Tilehouse and Mrs. Rafi are in the shop of Hatch, the draper. Willy enters the shop and Mrs. Rafi greets him. She condoles the death of Colin: "This is a terrible tragedy. Colin was engaged to my niece." She offers him to reside at her house till he is in the town. She wishes to know the details from Willy how has Colin drowned into the sea. Willy says, "It was a small boat. The storm swept us off course. The guns didn't sink us. We'd already turned over." Mrs. Tilehouse says that yesterday's night was blustery and disastrous. She is pleased at her ignorance about Willy's outing the last night. She says that if she knew that Willy was out in the stormy weather yesterday, she would have had no rest and sleep. She would have been experiencing intense metal pain all the time by the vision of Willy's drowning and dying. She says to Willy, "Oh dear. This terrible sea, this terrible life." In short, these lines show Mrs. Tilehouse's infatuation, compassion and sympathy for Willy. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

EXPLANATION WITH RTC: THE SEA BY EDWARD BOND

You must tell me .......... battery opening fire.

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Sea
(ii) Dramatist: Edward Bond
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Scene II
(ii) Content: A tempestuous storm shakes a small East Anglian seaside village, and Willy is trying to save his friend, Colin. When he sees Evens and Hatch, he does his level best to call them of for help but they refuse. Mrs. Rafi is rehearsing the play she is to perform for raising coast guard fund. At this moment Willy comes to visit her. He tells her in detail what has happened at the sea. Colin's corpse is found eventually. Mrs. Rafi refuses to trade with Hatch, the draper. He, out of desperation, wounds her and runs away from to town believing that aliens from another planet have arrived to invade the city. Mrs. Rafi advises her niece, Colin's fiancee, to go away from the town with Willy. Willy accepts this and goes away with her from the town in search of change.
EXPLANATION
     These lines are spoken by a main character, Mr. Rafi. She is in the shop of Hatch, the draper. Willy enters the shop and Mrs. Rafi greets him. She condoles the death of Colin: "This is a terrible tragedy. Colin was engaged to my niece". Mrs. Rafi offers him to reside at her house till he is in the town. She wishes to know the details from Willy how has Colin drowned into the sea. She says to Willy that she was going to complain the chief-of-staff about the battery opening fire. Fire discipline is a system of communication in the military, primarily for directing artillery. By definition, fire discipline is the language of fire control. Battery is a fortified structure on which artillery is mounted. In naval context, battery is used to describe groups of guns on warships. Thus battery fire is the firing of a battery of weapons. Mrs. Rafi thinks that "battery opening fire" was the main reason which turned the boat of Colin turtle. That is why she was going to complain to the "chief-of-staff". In short, Mr. Rafi wants to do everything in the investigation of the accident of Colin's drowning. This also highlights her punitive and authoritarian role in the society she lives in. 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

CHARACTER SKETCH OF MRS. RAMSAY: TO THE LIGHTHOUSE BY VIRGINIA WOOLF

CHARACTER SKETCH OF MRS. RAMSAY

1. Introduction
     Mrs. Ramsay is a superwoman. She is the central figure and the most important character in "To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf. She is about as close as Virginia Woolf ever got to Angelia Jolie. Her primary goal is to preserve her youngest son's sense of hope. She acts as a unifying force in the novel. She is a beautiful, charitable, hospitable, sympathetic, match-maker and humorous matron. She is a symbol of female principle. She is the lovely star at the centre of the Ramsay family, and at the heart of the novel. She dominates the novel not only during her life time but even after her death with no less importance. Her unexpected death leaves the Ramsay family without its anchor. 
2. A Unifying Force
     Mrs. Ramsay is the centre around which action and movement are built. She is definitely radiating through the entire novel and impregnating all the other characters. From the very beginning of the novel she is structurally and psychologically a cohesive force and thus becomes the source of unity in it. It is none but Mrs. Ramsay who is seen to be holding together almost all the characters and incidents of the novel. In the novel a large variety of people with their own ideas and eccentricities are found. And very remarkably Mrs. Ramsay with her great tact, sympathy and understanding holds them together. This unifying and cohesive force of Mrs. Ramsay is superbly revealed in the course of the dinner party towards the end of the first part of the novel. In this scene she very nicely performs the duty of connecting different individuals to each other. 
3. Her Personal Charms and Attractiveness
     Mrs. Ramsay was, no doubt, advanced in age and the mother of the eight children, still she possessed great physical charm and attractiveness. There are frequent references and appreciation of her beauty in the novel and one of the great secrets of her personal appeal unmistakably lies in her physical charm. Her charm elicits high admiration not only from the male members of the circle of her friends but also from women who are equally fascinated by her. Mrs. Woolf tells us how Mr. Bankes feels about her charm while telephoning to her. "He saw her at the end of the line, Greek blue eyed, straight ..... The graces assembling seemed to have joined hands in meadows of asphodel to compose that face." And her husband says, "Indeed, she had the whole of the other sex under her protection."
4. Her Charming and Graceful Manners
     Sheer physical charm alone cannot account for so much of appeal and attractiveness. Beauty without grace and dignity cannot have so much influence on others. She has abundant feminine graces. She is polite and cultured in her manners, and kind and considerate in her temperament. She is absolutely free from all egotism and is never in a mood to assert herself. She is a wonderful hostess who loves to create memorable experiences for the guests at the summer home on the Isle of Skye. Hence her graceful manners and kind disposition combined with her extraordinary physical charm cast a healthy spell on all who came in contact with her. 
5. Symbol of the Female Principle
     Mrs. Ramsay may also be taken as a symbol of the female principle in life. Probably that is why she has never been called by her first name in the novel as Clarissa Dalloway in Mrs. Dalloway. This symbolism seems to be evident when we have a peep into her mind in the dinner scene. Woolf tells us "Again she felt, as a fact without hostility, the sterility of men, for if she did not do it nobody would do it ...." She wants men and women to be united and become fruitful like herself. At the intellectual level she offers her protection and inspiration to both science and art -- to Lily the painter, to Bankes the botanist, to Carmichael the poet, to Tansley the scholar and above all to her husband the philosopher. For all this, critics like James hold the view that Mrs. Ramsay has been treated as a symbol and has not been individualized by the novelist.
6. Her Kind and Sympathetic Nature
     The most outstanding trait of Mrs. Ramsay's character is her compassion for the poor and the unfortunate, the great concern and consideration for the children and infinite sympathy for the unhappy and neglected souls. In the very first few chapters we find her busy in knitting stocking for the sick son of the Lighthouse-keeper. We find her going to the town to help the poor and the needy. As regards the grown-ups, she has all sympathy for Charles in spite of all his egotism and idiosyncrasies. She is a source of inspiration to Lily. She is kind and sympathetic to Carmichael, the poet whose life has been shattered by a shrewish wife. She tries her best to smoothen the widowed life of Mr. Bankes, the botanist. Above all, she is a constant source of inspiration to Mr. Ramsay, her husband. She knows that he is absolutely dependent on her for sympathy and understanding.
7. As a Match-maker
     Even Mrs. Ramsay's mania for matchmaking leans to virtue's side. This reveals another aspect of her essentially feminine character. Out of her great sympathy for all she is keenly interested in establishing peace and harmony among people. She feels for the lonely life of a widower, she is concerned about the future of an old maid. That is why she wants Lily to marry Mr. Bankes. She is not going to mind even if Lily marries Charles. Her joy knows no bounds when she comes to know that Paul and Minta are engaged. It is a matter of pride for her for bringing them together. Of course she cannot be blamed if their marriage is a failure. In fact, essentially feminine as she is, she wants men and women to unite and become fruitful like herself.
8. Sense of Humour
     Virginia Woolf uses the shortfalls and eccentricities of her characters to create a spirited, wry kind of humour that makes the novel so enjoyable to read.  Mrs. Ramsay possesses a good sense of humour too. Her sense of humour is suggested by her fantasy about Joseph and Mary. When she covers 'that horrid skull' to the satisfaction of both cam and James, it also nicely reveals her sense of humour besides her sympathetic understanding. We find her laughing in good humour when she thinks about Minta marrying a man with a gold watch and a wash-leather bag. Mrs. Ramsay's sense of humour perfectly conveys Woolf's use of stream of consciousness to capture the emotions that lurk withing the human heart.
9. Dominates Even After Death
     We feel the imposing physical presence of Mrs. Ramsay only in the first part of the To the Lighthouse. After that she is no more in the land of the living. Even then she pervades the whole book. Her influence on other important characters -- especially on Lily Briscoe -- is really very great. It is only to fulfill one of Mrs. Ramsay's cherished wishes that Mr. Ramsay undertakes the journey to the Lighthouse. And it is the vision of this departed soul that inspires Lily Briscoe to take up her brush again to complete her great picture. James Hafley is quite correct when he remarks that Mrs. Ramsay dead is more powerful than Mr. Ramsay living.
10. Conclusion
     Mrs. Ramsay might have some little flaws in her character such as her susceptibility to flattery. It might be that she wanted to be appreciated while helping others or doing some good deed. But with her extreme civility and goodness, with her irresistible charms and dominating personality, she is a unique character. Hence E.M. Forster's views that "she could seldom so portray a character that it was remembered afterwards on its own account, as Emma is remembered...." seems untenable to us. We may conclude by quoting the apt remarks of Joan Bennett: "Mrs. Ramsay, Mrs. Dalloway, Eleanor Pargiter, each of the main personalities in Between the Acts, and many others from her books, inhabit the mind of the reader and enlarge the capacity for sympathy. It is sympathy rather than judgement that she invokes, her personages are apprehended rather than comprehended."

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

VIRGINIA WOOLF AS A NOVELIST

VIRGINIA WOOLF AS A NOVELIST

1. Introduction
     Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was extremely dissatisfied with the current form of the novel as presented by the great Edwardians, Bennet, Wells or Galsworthy. So in 1908, Woolf determined to "re-form" the novel by creating a holistic form embracing aspects of life that were "fugitive" from the Victorian novel. A thoroughly talented writer, Woolf was a groundbreaker in this field. She is best known for her novels, Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927). No element of story, the world of outer reality not ignored, emergence of an art form, poetisation of the English novel, stream of consciousness technique, the distinctive nature of reality, artistic sincerity and integrity, and feminisation of English novel are the chief characteristics of Woolf's art as a novelist. 
2. No Element of Story
     Woolf firmly believed that if the novelist could base his work upon his own feeling and not upon convention, there would be no plot, not comedy, no tragedy, no love-interest or catastrophe in the accepted style. Hence in most of her novels there is hardly any element of story. Mrs. Woolf's formula for the novel was not humanity in action but in a state of infinite perception. The novel in her hands is not just an entertainment, or propaganda, or the vehicle of some fixed ideas or theories, or a social document, but a voyage of exploration to find out how life is lived, and how it can be rendered as it is actually lived without distortion. Hence she concentrates her attention on the rendering of inner reality and gives subtle and penetrating inlets into the consciousness of her characters. 
3. The World of Outer Reality not Ignored
     Although Woolf's main purpose is to depict the inner life of human beings, she has not ignored the world of outer reality, the warm and palpable life of nature. In fact, in her novels we find that the metaphysical interest is embodied in purely human and personal terms, that the bounding line of art remains unbroken, that the concrete images which are the very stuff of art are never sacrificed to abstraction, but are indeed more in evidence than in the work of Bennett and Wells. The essential subject matter of her novels is no doubt the consciousness of one or more characters, but the outer life of tree and stream, of bird and fish, of meadow and seashore crowds in upon her and lends her image after image, a great sparkling and many-coloured world of sight, scent, sound and touch.
4. Emergence of an Art Form
     In Woolf's novels we find a rare artistic integrity and a well-developed sense of form. To communicate her experience she had to invent conventions as rigid or more rigid than the old ones that she discarded. And this she does in her best novels of the middle and the final period -- Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, The waves and Between the Acts. In each case a small group of people is selected, and through their closely interrelated experience the reader receives his total impression. Moreover, certain images, phrases, and symbols bind the whole together. So there are certain resemblances between them in structure or style. Apart from these general resemblances each of these novels is a fresh attempt to solve the problems raised by the departure from traditional conventions. So it is observed that each of her novels grows out of the preceding one and we see the germ of her later work in her predecessors.
5. Poetisation of the English Novel
     Woolf represents the poetisation and musicalisation of English novel. Among the English novelists she is foremost in lyrical technique. She sets out on a quest for mediating form through which she could convey simultaneously picture of life and manners and a corresponding image of minds. She aims at conveying inner life and this could be best done in lyrical manner. Hence it is found that in order to enrich her language, she uses vivid metaphors and symbols which are peculiar to poetry. Her language is the language of poetry, her prose style has the assonances, the refrains, the rhythms and the accents of poetry itself. The equilibrium between the lyrical and narrative art shows how Woolf brilliantly achieves the telescoping of the poet's lyrical self and the novelist's omniscient point of view.
6. Stream of Consciousness Technique
     To the novelists of the new school, human consciousness is a chaotic welter of sensations and impressions; it is fleeting, trivial and evanescent. According to Woolf, the great task of the novelist should be 'to convey this varying, unknown and uncircumscribed spirit'. His main business is to reveal the sensations and impressions to bring us close to the quick of the mind. He should be more concerned with inner reality rather than outer. This is called 'the stream of consciousness technique'. Woolf has successfully revealed the very spring of action, the hidden motives which impel characters to act in a particular way. She takes us directly into the minds of her characters and shows the flow of ideas, sensations and impressions there.
7. The Distinctive Nature of Reality
     The reality that Woolf deals with has a distinctness about it. Jean Guiguet's comments on this are worth noting. "Her reality is not a factor to be specified in some question of the universe: it is the Sussex towns, the London streets, the waves breaking on the shore, the woman sitting opposite her in the train, memories flashing into the mind from nowhere, a beloved being's return into nothingness; it is all that is not ourselves and yet is so closely mingled with ourselves that the two enigmas -- reality and self -- make only one. But the important thing is the nature or quality of this enigma. It does not merely puzzle the mind; it torments the whole being, even while defining it. To exist, for Virginia Woolf, meant experiencing that dizziness on the ridge between two abysses of the unknown, the self and the non-self."
8. Artistic Sincerity and Integrity
     Woolf has her own original vision of life and she has ever remained truthful to her vision. This truthfulness and artistic integrity is due to her perfect detachment from all personal prejudices and preconceived notions. Literary traditions and conventions, or social and political problems of the day -- nothing could deter her from writing according to her vision, according to the ideal which exists in her mind with uncommon artistic sincerity and integrity. In the words the Bernard Blackstone, "She observes new facts, and old facts in a new way; but she also combines them, through the contemplative act, into new and strange patterns. The outer is not only related to; it is absorbed into the inner life. Mr. Woolf believed in the power of the mind and she she makes her reader think."
9. Feminisation of English Novel
     Woolf was a woman and naturally in her novels she gives us the woman's point of view. That is why we find her relying more on intuition than on reason. We also find in her a woman's dislike for the world of societies churches, banks and schools, and the political, social and economic movements of the day have hardly any attraction for her. As a sheltered female of her age she had hardly any scope to have any knowledge of the sordid and brutal aspects of life. Thus we find that her picture of life does not include vice, sordidness or the abject brutality of our age. So it may be inferred that Mrs. Woolf thus represents the feminisation of the English novel.
10. Conclusion
     Woolf's novels, through their nonlinear approaches to narrative, exerted a major influence on the genre. While Woolf's fragmented style is distinctly modernist, her indeterminacy anticipates a postmodern awareness of the evanescence of boundaries and categories. Her characters are definitely convincing in their own way, but they are drawn from a very limited range. Being a woman of her times she avoids the theme of passionate love. Her work has a rare artistic integrity. She is the poet of the novel. Above all, Woolf's greatest achievement is that in her novels the stream of consciousness technique finds a balance. She is one of the most forceful and original theorists of the 'the stream of consciousness' novel. 

Monday, 12 December 2016

MAJOR THEMATIC CONCERNS IN "ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH"

MAJOR THEMATIC CONCERNS IN 
ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

1. Dignity
     The efforts of the prisoners, and most of all those of Shukhov, to retain elements of human dignity is among the most important themes in the novel. Despite the barbaric living conditions in the Stalinist labor camp in which they are imprisoned, those living there manage to treat each other with respect and even kindness. The stark contrast between the inhumane circumstances in which they find themselves living on 200 grams of bread and sleeping on bare mattresses with holes, highlights the ability of human beings to overcome terrible obstacles in the struggle for dignity and recognition. While the camp officials insist upon calling prisoners by number, which is why Shukhov is referred to as No. 854, the prisoners themselves do not simply repeat this bureaucratic and dehumanizing convention, but rather seek to build alliances and to appreciate individual differences. 
2. Power
     Gang 104 spends most of their day working at an incomplete power station. None of the members of Gang 104 have much power, especially when compared to the guards, with their whips and dogs, the wardens, etc. Futility, or the uselessness of action, is a running theme for the prisoners. Things are not and never will be fair in the prison camp, and those with even the smallest amount of power often abuse it. But even those with some power have limits, as we see with Tsezar. He is wealthy enough to get packages and to bribe his way into a good work position, but he does not have the power to avoid getting busted by the guards. The main power, the oppressive government, that controls everyone in the camps is distant, removed, and at times invisible. 
3. Time
     Shukhov would kill for Hermione Granger's Time Turner. He could get all his little errands done and not have to run around in a panic all the time. Of course, then his day would be even longer, practically never-ending. Days are already never-ending in the camp. All the days seem to run together into endless prison sentences and non-stop work, with no personal time at all. For Shukhov, there is practically no time to relax; survival is highly time-consuming. In the bizarro world of the camps, time is zek's most precious commodity, aside from food. There's never enough time, it's easily stolen, and all zeks are greedy for precious minutes of personal time. Time is perhaps the worst thing that people in the camp lose. 
4. Rules and Order
     Rules and order are often not really connected in the prison camp, which is odd. There is an excess of rules that no one really follows, like the restrictions on clothes or firewood. And there are rules that really can't be followed, like the rule that does not allow zeks to walk alone. To make matters worse, some of the rules get in the way of survival, so zeks are in a sense punished for trying to survive half the time. Regardless of how dumb or illogical they are, rules dominate a zek's life. What makes these rules horrible is that zeks are punished arbitrarily, or randomly, for breaking them. Life in the camp is extremely unpredictable and illogical, which makes life extremely frustrating for a zek. The rules are there to punish people, not to create any sort of order in the camp. 
5. Perseverance
     Like most things in the camp, perseverance is downscaled to surviving the cold, the hard labour, and the lack of food. Triumphing over adversity basically amounts to still breathing and moving. Perseverance is largely a mental thing in the prison camp. Having the will to survive, maintaining a sense of self and a sense of pride, refusing to let go of the past entirely, and refusing to give up hope are all key elements to successfully persevering. Like Rocky, the zeks are all about "going the distance". There is no way to truly "win" in the camps, so surviving for the long haul is the only victory the zeks can really have.
6. Competition
     Life in the prison camps is all about survival of the fittest at its most brutal. It is the law of the jungle and for the people in the camps, competition for resources is ruthless. Prisoners have to compete for everything -- food, warmth, decent work assignments, rewards, etc. They even compete for cigarette butts. In order to survive and to maintain a competitive edge against others, a zek has to be constantly alert. Shukhov is especially aware of this need. If he could have a motivational poster by his bunk, it would probably feature Mad-Eye Moody yelling "Constant Vigilance!" Since the stakes of competition in the camp are literally life and death, no relationship is sacred and prisoners often screw over their "friends" in an effort to keep themselves alive.
7. Memory and the Past
     The past really seems to fly out the window in the alien world of the prison camp. Everyone is a prisoner, and a prison sentence is a sort of great social equalizer, impacting rich and poor, young and old. But what people were in the outside world definitely effects the type of prisoners they become, as well as their chances for survival. The ex-captain Buynovsky is used to giving orders and can't adjust to taking them in the camp; the ex-carpenter Shukhov carves out a niche for himself as a skilled labourer. In fact, the past might dictate a person's future in the camps more than it ordinarily would in the outside world. For a prisoner, the present is sort of frozen in the camps, and the future is put indefinitely on hold. The camp disconnects people from their past to a large extent.
8. Dreams, Hopes, and Plans
     There is a huge genre of prison films and stories. These films reveal that prisoners in jail harbor hopes for the future -- namely, getting the heck out of jail. Nearly all of these films involve an exciting escape, or an attempted escape at the very least. But no one bothers to escape during "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich". At it seems that most past escape attempts ended in prisoners getting shot. The hope of getting out of the gulag is described as pretty much hopeless. So hope, like everything in the camp, is downsized. Prisoners here have hope for something like an extra portion of food. The hope for freedom is practically a pipe-dream. In the camp, the future is measured more in minutes than in years, and the long-term future seems doomed for most prisoners.
9. Family
     Family is turned on its head in the prison camp. All the zeks are separated from their families in the real world, some for decades. In fact, there is so much time and space between families that they almost cease to operate as such. Shukhov's relationship with his wife and his children seems almost meaningless in the camps; he's largely disconnected from them. Shukhov can scarcely understand their experiences since he has been away, and they probably can't understand his life either. Other zeks have completely lost their families, like Tyurin, or have been abandoned by their families, like Fetyukov. In the camp, new families form and the work gangs start operating as a type of family, albeit a cutthroat mafia family.
10. The Importance of Faith
     Although Shukhov does not think or talk about religion for the bulk of the novel, his final conversation with Alyoshka, a devout Baptist, reveals that faith can be a means of survival in the oppressive camp system. Shukhov's interest in Alyoshka's discussion of God, faith, and prayers marks Shukhov's expansion beyond his usual thoughts of work, warmth, food, and sleep. Alyoshka's urging of Shukhov to pursue things of the spirit rather than things of the flesh renders Shukhov speechless, as if he is deeply reflecting on this philosophy. More important, he actually follows this advice in giving Alyoshka one of his biscuits, voluntarily sacrificing a worldly good. Shukhov's sense of inner peace in the novel's last paragraph, which resembles Alyoshka's sense of inner peace throughout the novel, demonstrates the religious faith offers strength in the face of adversity.