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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
01
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“You have no right to make people undress in the freezing cold! You don’t know Article 9 of the Criminal Code! . . . But they did have. They did know. It’s you, brother, who don’t know anything yet!”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
author
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
book
Ivan Denisovich Shukhov
Captain Buynovsky
characters
prisoners
injustices
harsh treatment
labor camps
cold
concepts
02
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“Every portion was underweight - the only question was by how much. Twice a day you looked at it and tried to set your mind at rest. Maybe they haven’t robbed me blind this time?”
03
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“Amazing how time flew when you were working. He’d often noticed that days in the camp rolled by before you knew it. Yet your sentence stood still, the time you had to serve never got any less.”
04
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“The zeks plodded on, heads down, like men going to a funeral. Nothing to lose now, we’re last back in camp anyway.”
05
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“You can turn a man upside down, inside out, any way you like.”
06
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“There was not even the ticking of a clock - prisoners were not allowed clocks. The big boys tell the time for them.”
07
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“What good is freedom to you! If you’re free, your faith will soon be choked by thorns! Be glad you’re in prison. Here you have time to think about your soul.”
08
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“Stared at the fire, huddled together in the half dark. Like a big family. That’s what a work gang is - a family.”
09
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“What kept body and soul together in these men was a mystery. Canvas belts were drawn tight around empty bellies. The frost was crackling merrily. Not a warm spot, nor a spark of fire anywhere.”
10
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“A convict’s thoughts are no freer than he is: they come back to the same place, worry over the same thing continually.”
11
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“The one thing he might want to ask God for was to let him go home . . . But they wouldn’t let him go home.”
12
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“When you’re flat on your face there’s no time to wonder how you got in and when you’ll get out.”
13
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“He immediately stopped expecting anything from the goodies on display. No good letting your belly get excited when there’s nothing to come.”
14
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“Apart from sleep an old lag can call his life his own only for ten minutes at breakfast time, five at lunchtime, and five more at suppertime.”
15
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“There are two ends to a stick, and there’s more than one way of working. If it’s for human beings - make sure and do it properly. If it’s for the big man - just make it look good.”
16
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“In jail and in the camps Shukhov had lost the habit of scheming how he was going to feed his family from day to day or year to year. The bosses did all his thinking for him, and that somehow made life easier. But what would it be like when he got out?”
17
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“You had to be wide awake all the time. Make sure a warder never saw you on your own, only as one of a crowd. He might be looking for somebody to do a job, or he might just want to take his spite out on you.”
18
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“Ten days! Ten days in that cell block, if they were strict about it and made you sit out the whole stint, meant your health was ruined for life. It meant tuberculosis and the rest of your days in the hospital.”
19
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“A zek’s day is a long one, though, and he can find time for everything.”
20
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“His one dream now was to fall sick for two or three weeks . . . not fatally . . . just sick enough to be put in the hospital.”

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