Wednesday, March 25, 2009




• He is 41 and has spent 8 years out of his 10 years sentence in a labour camp
• Accused of being a German spy, sent to arbitrary camp
• The earlier part of his sentence was spent in a camp called Ust-Izhma, where he met his foreman Tyurin.
• He is from a small town called Temgenova.
• Emotionless- he lacks any sense of nostalgia for his family
• Adaptable
• naïve
• Has self respect
• Takes pride in his work ( eg. Works in the brick wall, as if he owned it)
• Reflective
• Has the instinct of survival
• Smart-knows how to get by- eg. How to get book.
Role in The story:
• He makes the most out of the camp, he doesn’t give up , makes the best moment out of the worst.
• Shows effort and determination in his work, making him a good model for his inmates.
• He represents a peasant with dignity and individuality even in the face of abasement.
What does he symbolize?:
• He represents an ordinary Russian-“ Ivan” is a common Russian name.
• He can represent the uneducated peasant of the soviet society
• He is a classic victim of injustice- relates to Gulags being unjust due to the soviet regime.
• He is a metaphoric “hero”, he accepted the situation and just dealt with it.
Other Information:
• He is part of gang 104
• He is married and has 2 daughters
• He is illiterate
• He doesn’t expect nor hope for a better life.


• Son of a rich peasant a “ kulak” a class that Stalin vowed to eliminate.
• Tough and heroic, at the beginning he is distant and an authoritative figure
• Later on he transfors into a more sympathetic character when he tells his life story at the power station
• He is honest, straightforward and respected by his work group.
Role in story:
• Not part of a social group
• His experiences show that a life of a camp officer might be worse than a camp prisoner’s.
• He is treated as a representative of the soviet state even though he is still a zek.
• He is a fair person with good attitude
• Shows the level of respect for the foreman of the group

Relationship with Shukhov:

• Foreman of the labor camp
• Was with Shukhov in the previous camp

What the character symbolizes:

• Victim of injustice
• His character shows camps lack of justice, as he was thrown in there undeservedly
• His shift in character from an imposing authoritarian to an accessible COMRADE shows the humanity hidden deep within soviet law enforcers


• He is a babtist.
• He has a copy of the new testament in his notebook.
• Quite, timid almost
• Helpful but never rewarded.
• Generous and passionate about religion
• He is in jail and makes the best of it.
• Masochist?
• Very charitable also if he has nothing
• Role in story
• Proponent of faith
• And religion
• Even if gvt is against them

Relationship with Shukhov

• In the same gang (104)
• Talks to shukhov about religion.
• he is in same dorm room and bunk neighbor

What the character represents or symbolizes

• Christian faith in the ussr?
• Loyal…subdued maybe due to pacifist nature?

• Passion- for faith
• Blind faith? –according to shukhov

Other information

• Prison allows him to regain himself
• Spiritually-no temptation-he has a lot of time



• He learned Russian when he was a child, from russians living in the village near by.
• Ha has been in the camp for two years.

• He has a positive attitude.
• Cheerful, funny, humorous

Role in story

• One of foreign workers (Latvian)
• Humorous and respected.

Relationship with Shukhov:
• They are in the same gang
• They call each other Vanya
• Shukhov likes to work with Kildings
• Prisoner friend

What the character represents or symbolizes.

• Humanity of the prisoners
• Optimistic side of the prisoners but with resignation of getting out of the camp and dealing with the situation

Other info:
• Latvian
• He is fluent in Russian
• He doesn’t smoke


• Not completely but partly deaf
• He used to be a comic
• Even though he can’t hear, he tries his best to get the message.
• Shukhov and other inmates like him
• Hard worker
• Respectful
• “ A tough old devil he was”

Role in the story

• Another example in HQ and his life

Relationship with Shukhov
• Prisoner with shukhov, they work together in the power station
• Respectful: waits for shukhov for lunch, because they are in it “together”

What the character represents or symbolizes:
• Dignity
• Respect


• Western Ukranian
• Assistant gang boss
• Former forest sniper

• Speaks politely even in the camps
• He is strict but kind
• Has good leadership skills
• Responsible and is willing to work

Role in story
• His character shows how to survive in the camp, he gives the captain an extra bowl of kasha.
Relationship with Shukhov
• Deputy foreman of gang 104
• Shukhov admires him
• Important to shukhov more than the camp commandant

What the character represents or symbolizes

• Represents survival?
• Willing to work and finds a way to survive in the camp


• Ex-captain –second rank

• Not afraid to speak his mind
• At the beginning after being discovered to have had a waistcoat or cummerbund he says: “ you have no right to make people undress in the freezing cold! U don’t know article 9 of the criminal code!
• Strong, tough
• Has a somewhat bad reputation
• He is well educated
• Interested in Russian films
• Enjoys bringing back bad news.

Role in the story:
• He is just like any other prisoner
• Follows orders and tries to get through the day alive

Relationship with Shukhov
• A fellow prisoner friend
• In gang 104
• What the character symbolizes or represents
• Nothing majorly
• Just one of the educated prisoners fighting for survival which he might use his knowledge for
• Other information:
• He gets sentenced to 10 days in the guardhouse “hole”

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