However, the unavoidable truth is that the climate is below freezing every day and is an obstacle for zees throughout the book. In One Day in the Life of Ivan Tendencies, Alasdair Solemnity uses countless references to the freezing cold temperatures to stress that the camp inmates are not only imprisoned by humans, but are also constantly being punished by nature, and in these conditions, brotherhood is the only way to stay truly warm in body and soul. The prisoners are treated very cold-heartedly, which is a physical manifestation of the actual cold they always feel.
The foremen and authorities use the cold to their advantage to make every single moment as miserable as possible. Body searches in a comfortable climate are solely embarrassing, but the fact that they happen in such cold temperatures makes it unbearably worse. The weather is also good motivation for the prisoners: “the cold was fierce, but the foreman was fiercer” (62). Another example of unfair treatment is the sick bay. The authorities only allow the first two people who sign up to stay there, which is completely unreasonable for the size of the camp.
Ivan has “no other wish in the world” but to lie down in sick bay and sleep (36). Ivan is not one to abuse sick bay privileges, and this is shown throughout the novel in how he finds ways to deal with Russian’s natural torture method. The cold is “worst at sunup,” implying that there is no feeling worse than waking up for work parade every morning (38). “In the dark, in the freezing cold, with a hungry belly, and the whole day ahead of you,” Ivan explains how bad-tempered and grouchy his gang members (fellow inmates who had been labeled into the same roof of workers) are at this point (28).
Ivan has discovered a few techniques to help him through each day, such as boots were what mattered, since “hands institute once you start work” (59). Although “it was hard starting a days work in such cold.. That was all you had to do, make a start, and the rest was easy’ (55). He has learned to savor the small, unsatisfactory amount of food he does receive. After a long, hard day of work, a zee “longs for his ladleful’s of scalding-hot watery evening soup, it “nears more to him than freedom, more than his whole past life, more than whatever life is left to him” (137).
Van’s priorities illustrate the importance of something as basic as nourishment in an environment that threatens Van’s very existence as much as the camp. The gang members are often selfish when avoiding the camp’s demutualization and ensuring their survival, but they often need to depend on each other to minimize punishment and suffering. This is demonstrated in a scenario where one of the members is not present at the end of the day. If this happens, everybody must wait outside in the freezing cold for them.
In Van’s gang, a Moldavia gang member isn’t present at roll call after they had gone to work at the bricklaying site. Shoves gang is furious since they had already been waiting for such a long time, and the “cold was really biting” (121). Van’s gang expresses so much anger that if the guards had handed him over to the crowd, they would “tear him to pieces like wolves tearing a calf” (121). The prisoners must be selfish when it comes down to their necessities of warmth and survival. The camp inmates show the most selfishness with food.
The pace they eat in is very crowded, and some people stay sitting down at the tables after they finish eating simply because “anything is more fun than being out in the freezing cold” (76). Alasdair Solemnity utilizes this continuous description of the weather to stress that the cold in unspeakable and that the inmates are political prisoners of the government, as well as of nature. The miserably cold climate of Russia makes the entire experience of imprisonment much worse. The temperatures stymie (deft: to thwart or hinder) the worker’s comfort for the remainder of Van’s sentence.