The Struggle For Human Dignity Novels English Literature Essay

The battle for human self-respect is a major subject in Solzhenitsyn ‘s novel “ One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. ” The chief character, Shukhov is imprisoned in a concentration cantonment that tries to rob him and the other captives of their spirit and self-respect in assorted ways. One physical manner is through the inhumane populating conditions of the cantonment. One peculiarly barbarous illustration is the freezing conditions under which the captives were expected to populate. In the novel, guards performed organic structure hunts on the captives, coercing them to take their vesture in stop deading temperatures. In fact, there was n’t any topographic point to acquire warm, Shukhov explains. “ You could number on a month with nowhere to travel for a warm, non so much as a Canis familiaris doghouse ” ( Solzhenitsyn ) .

Besides being forced to populate in freezing conditions, the captives are barely even fed. Alternatively, they are expected to populate on one piece of staff of life a twenty-four hours which is hardly adequate to last on, and are given mattresses to kip on, but without any sheets. In the work cantonments, they are afforded no physical amenitiess at all. Prisoners are besides robbed of their self-respect through the denudation of their individual individualities. For case, captive ‘s names are taken from them when they become a series of letters and figure by which they are referred to. Shukhov becomes “ Shcha-854. ” This takes off any sense of individualism that they might hold and cut down them to a figure.

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Similar to Shukhov ‘s experiences are those of Eliezer in the novel “ Night ” by Eli Wiesel. When he arrives at Auschwitz, the work forces are tattooed with letters and Numberss and hapless Eliezer is denied the comfort of his ain name and is alternatively reduced to “ A-7713. ” In his stay in assorted concentration cantonments, Eliezer is separated from his ma and sister, watches his male parent deteriorate and, much like Shuvhov, is forced to do determinations sing nutrient rations. At one point, his block leader advises Eli to eat the nutrient rations of his ain male parent. Although Eli knows there is n’t much he can make about Chlomo and understands that he should take self-preservation and construct up his ain strength, he feels a sense of duty to look out for his pa. Another illustration affecting bread peculiarly illustrates dehumanisation, and the puting aside of their human self-respect for the intent of endurance. “ One twenty-four hours when we had come to a halt, a worker took a piece of staff of life out of his bag and threw it into a waggon. There was a stampede. Tonss of hungering work forces fought urgently over a few crumbs. The worker watched the spectacle with great involvement ” ( Wiesel, 100 ) . What is peculiarly striking about this image is non simply the fact that worlds were starved to the point of fall backing to animal-like behaviour, but that the worker looked onto this “ spectacle with great involvement ” ( Wiesel, 100 ) .

More of import than the efforts to dehumanise Shukov in the working cantonment is the fact the he refuses to accept the denudation of his human self-respect. Alternatively, actively resists and manages to keep a sense of self-respect through assorted Acts of the Apostless of rebellion. He chooses to populate life in the concentration cantonments in a civilised and dignified mode. For illustration, despite the fact that he is being fed meager rations, he ever takes his chapeau off at every repast. This affectingly illustrates that even without adequate nutrient to last, his personal sense of self-respect and pride continues to last.

Another character in Solzhenitsyn ‘s novel, Fetyukov, is really different from Shuvok. Fetyukov reduces himself to foraging and going a mendicant for garbages of nutrient. Shukhov, on the other manus, refuses to crouch to this degree no affair how hungry he becomes. Shukov worked really difficult to gain his manner. He would wake up early to take on uneven occupations and run errands to gain everything that he had. “ Shukhov ne’er overslept. He was ever up at the call. That manner he had an hr and a half all to himself before work parade – clip for a adult male who knew his manner around to gain a spot on the side. [ He would ] haste around the shop suites looking for uneven occupations – brushing up or running errands ” ( Solzhenitsyn ) . This shows that despite holding basic human needs necessary for human endurance taken off from him, his self-respect can non be taken off so easy. It is in this manner that Shukov is contending back against the work cantonment. Ultimately, no affair what is denied to him, he still has one thing left- his human self-respect.

Mill speaks to this thought of human self-respect. Dignity, harmonizing to Mill is demonstrated by the unwillingly of a “ being of higher modules ” to let themselves to “ drop into what he feels to be a lower class of being. ” This involuntariness to make so, harmonizing to Mill, constitutes a sense of self-respect. This self-respect is something that all human existences have in some manner or another. It constitutes an indispensable portion of felicity for those that are strong plenty non to let anything to conflict with it. Leting anything to conflict with it makes one an inferior being. It is through keeping this sense of self-respect that one becomes superior, harmonizing to Mill. This thought parallels Shukov ‘s finding to non cut down himself to Fetyukov ‘s degree of imploring and foraging for garbages of nutrient. He refuses to drop into a “ lower class of being ” and chooses alternatively to maintain his sense of pride and human self-respect intact.

The battle for human self-respect and endurance was besides a battle for the people of the Industrial Revolution. Because of internal migration, people were going progressively concentrated in urban countries. This urbanisation reaped evident effects. The metropoliss became heavy, packed, and were by and large unhealthy topographic points to populate. They were “ overcrowded, devoid of mass transit installations, and equipped at best with immensely unequal sanitation facilitiesaˆ¦ ” ( Sullivan, 519 ) . Due to overcrowding and poorness, offense rates increased during this clip, every bit good. One quotation mark in peculiar is strikingly recognizant of the on the job conditions faced by those in concentration cantonments, such as the 1s Eliezer and Shukov were placed in. “ Young kids were marched off before dawn to work all twenty-four hours in the mills. If they fell behind the gait set by the machines, they were beaten. Sometimes they were chained to the machines ” ( Sullivan, 521 ) . Overall, the image of the industrial labor during the first half of the 19th century was classified as “ a new sort of slavery-slavery to the machine and the machine proprietor ” ( Sullivan, 521 ) . Much like Eliezer and Shukov, households of lower categories were besides populating at subsistence levels-barely plenty to last on, and merely plenty to let them to go on populating in order to maintain working.

The battle for human self-respect is one faced non merely by literary characters, but besides by existent people throughout civilisation, specifically those forced into concentration cantonments and those of the working category made to work at subsistence degrees. Depriving people of their names takes off a individual ‘s sense of individuality. A individual ‘s pride is compromised every bit good when they are forced into unhealthy and degrading working conditions and are given merely a meager sum of nutrient to populate on. One of import lesson, nevertheless, is that a individual ‘s sense of human self-respect is something that comes from the interior and can non be taken from anyone with a will strong plenty to defy. Even displaced workers during the Industrial Revolution finally rebelled with work stoppages, violent protests and union-organizing activities ( Sullivan, 520 ) . Human self-respect is greater than the amount of all personal afflictions, and can be seen alternatively in the mode in which people conduct themselves, showing their ain sense of dignity.


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