However, human relationships not only initiate feelings towards characters but help develop those feelings. One very good example of such development of a character throughout the novel is Tyurin. In the beginning of the book, Tyurin blends in with all the other authoritative figures that the prisoners resent. But, as the book progresses, the reader sees that Tyurin’s authority over the prisoners is more similar to a father than a warder. This is proved when Shukov says “… it was the boss who fed you. And he wouldn’t make you work if you didn’t have to”.
In a situation such as a prison camp, only a father figure would have an attitude like that. Solzhenitsyn uses incidents like these to gradually and continually change the relationship between the prisoners and the gang boss in the reader’s mind. Fetyukov is another person whose personality changes throughout the book for the reader. As mentioned above, when the reader finds out that Fetyukov is completely alone with no family and no friends, the reader’s attitude towards Fetyukov turns from complete disgust to understanding and neutrality.
However, later in the book when Shukov admits that “You couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He’d never live out his time in the camp” (Solzhenitsyn, 181), the reader once again must change his impression of Fetyukov to now feel sorry for him. This is because the reader had always imagined that Fetyukov would survive his sentence in average comfort because while he didn’t receive any packages from home, he obtained such material comforts by scavenging. But then Shukov says that he will die in the camps, the reader sees that Fetyukov will die completely alone in complete isolation.
In conclusion, Alexander Solzhenitsyn cleverly involves human relationships in his novel in such a way that the reader never realizes it. He uses relationships to create feelings in the reader towards certain characters and those characters’ actions are then filtered through this impression until the book is over. This means that Solzhenitsyn has the freedom to allow the character to take any action he wants without having to worry about the mood of the novel being ruined.
The bleak mood remaining constant throughout the book supports the theme of existentialism in the novel. The method for developing the main theme of the novel does have faults because people will not recognize that the purpose of writing this book is to show the meaninglessness of life until the very end, or even a while after that. This means that people may stop reading the book, considering it boring. However it is commendable on Solzhenitsyn’s part that he is able to uphold the constant depression in the novel through the use of the never-changing tone of Shukov’s voice.