In Alexander Solzhenitsyns novel One Day in The Life Of Ivan Denisovich Ivan Denisovich is portrayed as the hero in the novel. The American Heritage Dictionary Of the English Language High School Edition states that a hero is The principle male character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation. The word hero is also suggested to mean Any male noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose; especially, one who has risked of sacrificed his life. Ivan Denisovich in most ways fits the description of a hero in its dictionary meaning.
Ivan is the protagonist of the novel. He was arrested while in the army and accused of betraying the Soviet Union by forming an alliance with the Germans as a spy. With the communist form of government in place at this time Ivan was forced to confess to the crimes that were charged against him because he would otherwise be executed. At this time he had he has a wife and children back in his village, but he was only allowed to write to them twice a year. He is serving the ninth year of a ten-year sentence.
Ivan” is his first name and “Denisovich” is his patronymic name. The form of his name in the title is a form of respectful address in Russian. During the course of the novel, however, he is generally referred to as Shukhov. He is a member of the 104th squad. He is regarded as just another inmate. He and the other men are often referred to as zeks, which is an abbreviated form of the Russian word for prisoner. Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is the novel’s title character and protagonist he is not an extraordinary man, but neither is he an anti-hero.
His different characteristics cannot be brought to the forefront because of the way a communist government is run. There is no room for individual glory in this setting. He is an individual trapped in the same situation as millions of other Russians, and he goes about his daily business with the same diligence and complacency as the others. He has very good qualities that most Russians do not have. Ivan has good work ethics that seem to be lacking in every other character in the novel. Ivan has compassion for his work and takes pride in all he does.