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Freedom of Thought in Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

There are many definitions of the term “freedom.” Some will say that to be free one must be allowed to do as one pleases in terms of one’s physical body, while others will say that one must only be able to think to be truly free. Yet another group will argue that both aspects must be present for true freedom to exist.

In many of his books, but specifically One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn deals with the idea that the mind is not truly free. He believed that since there is an inherent desire for approval within the human race, any thoughts that agree with the values of society cannot be deemed free thinking since the thinker could simply be searching for approval. Some critics believe that “this implies a double standard on freedom of thought,” and that “freedom is inherent in the very process of thought” (Fink 1).

Solzhenitsyn believed that it was nearly impossible to have truly free thoughts under the prison camp conditions described in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, or in any situation where there is an authoritarian ruler. In a pris…

My Antonia Essay: Importance of Setting

The Importance of Setting in My Antonia

The setting of the story has tremendous impact on the characters and themes in the novel “My Antonia” by Willa Cather. Cather’s delicately crafted naturalistic style is evident not only in her colorfully detailed depictions of the Nebraska frontier, but also in her characters’ relationship with the land on which they live. The common naturalist theme of man being controlled by nature appears many times throughout the novel, particularly in the chapters containing the first winter.

The Burden’s and the Shimerda’s, try as they might, cannot fight the harsh climate of the Nebraska prairie. Rather than attempt to control the environment around them, they must learn to work with it and adjust to make do with what they have. Jim learns this his first winter, as well as the Shimerda’s, for they are both newcomers to a strange place. They realize that trying to fight the wind and snow will do more harm than good, and adapt themselves to work when weather permits and hope nature…

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