Life of a Prisoner in the Soviet Gulag and Nazi Death Camp Systems - Essay Example

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This essay describes that prison life is miserable and oppressive in ways that are known to fundamentally change individuals. In the last century, two of the worst places in which to be imprisoned were the death camps of World War II and the Gulag of the Soviet Union…
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Life of a Prisoner in the Soviet Gulag and Nazi Death Camp Systems
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Download file to see previous pages One of the notable things about Solzhenitsyn’s work is that there is little that truly occurs in the book. The novel tells the details of a day, slowly and methodically, so that the mundane nature of life in a prison is revealed. Although there is some discussion of punishment and the cruelty of living in the Gulag, it is the monotony and the long day that has the most impact. Through the oppressive atmosphere and the indignity of being given no trust through constant searches and counting of the inmates, there is a sense of being held in place, that feeling permeating the whole work in a way that portrays a realistic feeling of being in prison. In contrast, the life that Levi Primo describes is filled with hardships that are terrible and not mundane. Each new indignity pushes him toward the next lowered level in which he must re-establish some sense of humanity into his life.
The strongest concept that creates the biggest differences in the experiences that are described is that in the Gulag, while life is harsh, there does seem to be some hope that the next day will come, and that finally the protagonist will be released from his imprisonment. In Auschwitz, on the other hand, there is the pervading sense that there will be only death at the end of the journey. Hope is a much more precious commodity as the descriptions of the daily life is defined by the knowledge. The low level of human conditions emphasized the lack of respect for basic human existence that was provided in this terrible place. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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