"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Saturday, April 21, 2012

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

If you need a good book to put your hard times in perspective, I recommend One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This little biographical memoir is one day, from start to finish, of a Russian political prisoner. This book's not just about any day, though, it's about good day for this man.

I had already forgotten but was swiftly reminded of how heavy it must have been to be a Russian post-WWII. Most Russian soldiers who were taken prisoner by the Germans returned home, if they survived, only to be thrown into "Special Camps" for being spies, which they usually weren't. What a heroes' welcome, sheesh.

Themes to consider while reviewing this piece:
  • Owning your own time, or at least small portions of it, regardless of circumstances
  • The virtues of humility; if you show your pride, you're lost
  • Enemies not in distant countries, but within your own neighbors and groups
  • Faith vs. Intelligence vs. Luck
If you take nothing else away from this book, remember this: chin up, things for you truly are better than they could be!

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