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MonkeyNotes-One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich
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THE ROLL CALL Summary

Ivan follows the other prisoners as they lazily trudge their way outside to roll call. The deputy controller hurries them to their usual places. All of Ivanís gang are present except for Penteleyev, who has lied and been admitted to the infirmary even though he is healthy. Ivan decides he needs to have the number on his uniform repainted. He waits as the artist, a fellow prisoner, paints over the old numbers. When he returns to his gang, he notices that Caesar, another fellow prisoner, is smoking. Ivan longs for a puff, but does not ask for one; Caesar, however, allows him to finish the cigarette.

News spreads that the guards are checking the dress of the prisoners in order to make certain that they are not wearing extra clothing or carrying prohibited things. Only Caesar and Captain Buynovsky, a new prisoner from the navy, are caught with extras. When the Captain protests and accuses the guards of being bad Communists, he is punished with ten days of solitary confinement; all of the prisoners know that he will probably not survive such a harsh punishment.

As the roll is finally called, Ivan covers his face against the cold wind with his rag. He then listens as the commander gives work instructions to be followed by the prisoners. As they begin to march away from camp guarded by armed men and dogs, Ivan thinks about his wife and decides he will try to send a letter home.


Notes

This episode continues to reveal the cruelty that the prisoners must endure. An emphasis is placed on the numbers that they wear, which are constantly counted and recounted. It is obvious that the officials do not consider the prisoners to be human beings - only numbers. In the freezing cold, the prisoners are made to unbutton their coats so that the guards can make certain they are wearing no extra clothing. Captain Buynovsky is found to have on an unofficial jersey; when he argues with the officials about it, he is sentenced to ten days of solitary confinement, an extremely harsh punishment that he probably will not survive.

The character of Ivan is further developed. In spite of the harsh conditions of the special camp, he still maintains a code of honor. Although he longs to have a drag of Caesarís cigarette, he will not bribe or beg for anything, like some of the other prisoners. He is too proud to behave in a demeaning way. The other prisoners respect his behavior, which is why Caesar gives Ivan the last of the cigarette. Not surprisingly, bribery is rampant in the camp. Penteleyev has probably bribed his way into the infirmary, and Tyurin admits that he has bribed the authorities to allow his gang to work at the power plant rather than at the desolate Socialist Community Development site.

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