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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich


by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Biblical References

Historical References

  • Bendera (or Stepan Bandera): a Ukrainian nationalist underground leader (77)
  • "Special Camps" : hard labor camps for political prisoners (92)
  • Article Nine of the Soviet Criminal Code (181)
  • Buchenwald: a Nazi concentration camp (268, 386)
  • Belomor Canal: a canal linking Baltic and White Seas, built by convict labor 1931-1933 (327)
  • Sergei Kirov: a Soviet official assassinated in 1934 (525)
  • "1935 Kirov wave" : wave of arrests following Kirov's assassination (525)
  • The Great Purge in 1937 (515)
  • Korean War (1040)

Pop Culture References

  • Sotsgorodok: a Socialist settlement (10)
  • "Zeks": Russian slang for inmates or prisoners (first mention on 37, throughout rest of text)
  • Ust-Izhma: Shukhov's first prison camp (throughout text)
  • Kolkhoz: a collective farm (58, 225-228)
  • Vok: wolf in Russian (173)
  • Oprichniki: armed forces under Ivan the Terrible (491)
  • Kulak: well-off peasant, deemed class enemies under Stalin (514-528)
  • Stakhanovite: worker who voluntarily works extra hard for the "glory of communism," named after Alexsei Grigorievich Stakhanov (531)

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