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Quotes

Quote #1

The hammer banged reveille on the rail outside camp HQ at five o'clock as always. Time to get up. (1)

The idea of "as always" acts as a constant undercurrent to Shukhov's entire day and it really helps to bring the entire book full circle when it's considered in context with the book's final lines on how many thousands of days Shukhov has in his prison sentence. His days in prison are literally "as always."

Quote #2

Shukhov never overslept. He was always up at the call. That way he had an hour and a half all to himself before work parade - time for a man who knew his way around to earn a bit on the side. (4)

We learn a lot about Shukhov's character here, particularly how disciplined he is and how he carefully manages and covets his time. We also learn about how valuable time is in the camps, since there's so little free time available.

Quote #3

A convict's thoughts are no freer than he is: they come back to the same place, worry over the same thing continually. (219)

Life in the camps is almost suffocating in many ways and zeks are imprisoned both physically and mentally. The diction here, the word "continually" especially, help us to see how the zeks are forced to fight the same battles day after day, as if they were on some sort of perpetual treadmill just running in place.

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