From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich


by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Prisoner Kh-123

Character Analysis

Though we never learn this prisoner's name, he has a very interesting and thematically important conversation with Tsezar about film, of course. Tsezar pretty much has no other conversation topics. In this conversation, the two prisoners discuss film and art under Soviet dictatorship. Tsezar argues that a director named Eisenstein is a genius while Kh-123 angrily counters that he sold out to the government and is just spouting off bad political ideas. This is one of the very few times that art and culture is addressed in the novel; the other notable example is Vdovushkin's poetry, which he has to write in secret. The Soviet government definitely suppresses people's freedom of expression. And the key issues touched upon by Tsezar and his debating partner, Kh-123 is the moral dilemma of whether or not a person should compromise with the government, be it in art or life itself.