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An Analysis Of The Point Of View

Within The Novel, ?One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich? Essay, Research Paper

In Alexander Solzhenitsyn?s, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a novel

based on a Russian labour prison camp during Stalin?s rule, the point of view is

a limited third person. Through the narration, we follow a prisoner named Ivan

Denisovich Shukhov and experience a single day of his life in a ?special?

Russian prison camp. The purpose of the point of view is to provide details and

to convey emotions to the reader. There are also advantages to the use of a

limited third person which make the novel much more enjoyable. Thus, the point

of view acts as a window to the novel and controls what the reader experiences

by providing a vivid picture of a Russian prison camp.

Due to the reason that there are neither chapters nor major breaks within the

novel, it leaves one to conclude that there is only one point of view, which is

a limited third person. The lack of ?I? and the use of ?he?, ?it? and ?they?

such as in, ?He had longed for the morning not to come,? (p. 8) eliminates the

first person and leaves one with the third person. However the third person may

be divided into two groups, omniscient and limited third person. The viewpoint

of the novel always follows Shukhov around such as in the beginning, ?The

clanging ceased, but everything outside still looked like the middle of the

night when Ivan Denisovich Shukhov got up to go to the bucket,? (p. 7). Never

once does the novel delve into the mind or thoughts of others, only what Shukhov

believes the others are thinking. Therefore the omniscient is eliminated. Thus

the point of view for the novel is a limited third person.

The limited third person point of view acts as a window through which the

reader views the events of the novel. It is a method of rendering or a means by

which an author creates a narrative personality through which the reader

receives the narration. It may simply be described as the perspective of a

novel. By the use of a limited third person within the novel, Solzhenitsyn is

able to provide both a detailed description of events and maintain emotional

contact with the reader. For example, ?With the snow creaking under their boots,

the prisoners hurried away, each to his own business, some to the parcels

office, some to hand in cereals to be cooked in the ?individual?

kitchens?(p.12). This is a detailed description, which easily provides the

reader with mental picture of the situation. Details are an important factor

because without them the reader would not know what is occurring within the

novel. Emotional contact is also very vital in a novel. It helps capture the

reader?s interest by making the reader more emotionally involved with the

characters and the situations. Such is the case when Shukhov is about to be

frisked and had forgotten to hide the hacksaw blade he had brought back. ?The

guard crushed it in his hand, and Shukhov felt as though pincers of iron were

crushing everything inside him?(p. 107). With this view into Shukhov?s mind, an

element of suspense is created and the reader becomes more emotionally involved

fearing for what would occur. Thus the function of the limited third person is

to provide the reader with details of situations to create a better mental image

and convey emotions to make to novel more enjoyable.

There are many advantages of writing in the limited third person. Using this

point of view the author may achieve an excellent median between the first and

omniscient. It is flexible and provides a certain intensity, which contributes

to the reader?s experience. In Solzhenitsyn?s novel the use of the limited third

person provides an excellent method of allowing the reader to ?live? the life of

a prisoner within a Russian prison camp. Due to the reason that the reader is

limited to only what Shukhov experiences, the reader therefore is strongly

influenced by the opinions and attitudes of Shukhov. Such is the case when

Shukhov refers to Fetiukov as ?that jackal.? From that point on the reader tends

to look upon Fetiukov with disgust or contempt. Also when the Moldavian is

missing at the count and is later found, the reader could feel the anger as

Shukhov shouts, ?You rat!? (p.99). Thus by being limited to following Shukhov,

the reader experiences what Shukhov experiences. Some omniscience is also

needed, for without it one would not be able to gain a better understanding of

the events occurring. For instance, the discussion between Tsezar and X 123

about Eisenstein?s, ?Ivan the Terrible.? A man of Shukhov?s education would not

have followed the conversation at all, and would not have been able to repeat

it. Therefore the reader needs a narrator to repeat the discussion. Also when

describing Shukhov?s actions, such as when he ?sprang nimbly down,? Shukhov

would not have described himself as such and therefore the reader knows it is an

omniscient narrator describing the events. Thus, in some cases, an omniscient

narrator is also required to provide a better understanding of the events

occurring and provide a more flexible and detailed look at the lives of

prisoners. Therefore, the limited third person makes the reader become more

involved emotionally and intellectually with the novel.

Therefore the point of view of any literary work is very important. In

Solzhenitsyn?s, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the point of view is a

limited third person. It serves as a tool to convey thoughts and emotions,

capturing the reader?s interest and imagination. Using the third person,

Sozhenitsyn is able to have both flexibility and intensity of emotion within his

work. Therefore providing a literary work, which allows the reader to understand

the events with great interest and emotional involvement. Thus without a point

of view, no literary work would be complete, for it would neither posses a way

to convey emotions nor would it contain cohesive thought.