Study Guide

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Characters

Ivan Denisovich Shukhov

We spend an entire day with Shukhov. Or more accurately, we spend an entire day through Shukhov;...

Captain Buynovsky

Captain Buynovsky is a lot like Captain von Trapp from The Sound of Music. No, really. They're...

Fetyukov

Since we only have one day with Gang 104, it makes sense that a lot of them are largely defined...

Tsezar Markovich

Tsezar is one of the most important people in the book in terms of Shukhov. In a way, Tsezar is...

Alyoshka the Baptist

Like Fetyukov, Alyoshka has a title that describes him: the Baptist. Alyoshka is defined almost...

Senka Klevshin

Senka might just be the most interesting person in Gang 104. His backstory reads like some sort...

Vasily Fyodorich Tyurin

Tyurin is like the father of Gang 104. He's the authority figure who is often absent, off working...

Pavlo

Pavlo might win the award for coolest dude in Gang 104. He's young and still pretty enthusiastic;...

The Two Estonians

The two Estonians are like two peas in a pod, and other clichés which indicate they're like...

Gopchik

Gopchik is a bit like Shukhov's mini-me. The youngest member of Gang 104, only sixteen, he's is...

Kildigs

Kildigs acts as Shukhov's counterpart for the bulk of the novel. Kildigs is a fellow bricklayer...

Lieutenant Volkovoy

Volkovoy is downright evil. He goes around whipping people, popping out from behind corners and...

Der

Der has what might be the most fitting name in the whole book. It just sounds like the name of...

Shukhov's Wife

Since the entire book takes place in the prison camp, we only hear about Shukhov's wife...

Nikolai Semyonich Kolya Vdovushkin

If Vdovushkin were anywhere other than the camp, he'd definitely be sued for malpractice. See,...

Stepan Grigorich

Stepan Grigorich never actually appears in the book, but we do hear some about him from Shukhov...

Limpy

Limpy actually has a limp, like his name implies. It's how he landed his cushy gig as a mess...

Kuzyomin

We only hear about Kuzyomin once at the very beginning of the book, but he basically provides us...

The Moldavian

The Moldavian is the unfortunate zek who fell asleep at the worksite, held up hundreds of people,...

Pantleyev

We never actually see Pantleyev because he plays hooky. Pantleyev seems universally hated in Gang...

Prisoner Kh-123

Though we never learn this prisoner's name, he has a very interesting and thematically important...

Prisoner Yu-81

Yu-81 is the number of a legendary prisoner that Shukhov observes over dinner. In many ways,...

The Wardens

We see a variety of wardens in the book, and most of them have rather mean nicknames. These are...

The Old Artist

The Old Artist is pretty much what his name says, so no false advertising there. He appears only...

The Latvian in Hut 7

This guy is the camp's resident tobacco salesman, and he cuts Shukhov a fair deal for some...