Web Folio: Michelle Richards as Lenina

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Oral Report

Background of Author: Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Other Works by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was born on Dec. 11, 1918, in Kislovodsk, Russia. After graduating with a degree in mathematics from the University of Rostov ­on ­Don, Alexander served in the Red Army artillery in World War II. In 1945 he was arrested for criticizing Joseph Stalin in a letter to a friend and was imprisoned for eight years. While imprisoned, Alexander worked in a labor camp and a prison research institute and first began to write poetry. In prison he was also diagnosed as having cancer. After his release on the day of Stalin’s death, Alexander was forced to spend three years in exile. His first book, "One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch", published in Russian in 1962, and tells the story of a day in the life of an inmate in a Soviet labor camp. The book brought Alexander instant recognition. "The Family Circle" and "Cancer Ward", both published abroad in 1968, made Alexander internationally famous. His criticism of government repression led to a ban on publication of his work in the Soviet Union after the mid-1960’s. His books continued to be published abroad, however, and were circulated underground inside the Soviet Union. Alexander was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1970 but was afraid to leave the Soviet Union to receive it for fear that the government would not allow him to reenter the country when he returned. In 1974, shortly after the first parts of "The Gulag Archipelago" were published in Paris, Alexander was arrested and tried for treason. Exiled from the Soviet Union, he settled in Switzerland and finally took possession of his Nobel Prize. He later settled in the United States. In 1980, he published "The Mortal Danger" in English. Because of the changes in official Soviet policy, most of his works once again became available to Soviet readers in 1989. In September 1991 Soviet officials dropped the treason charges lodged against Alexander in 1974. Other Works: Random Quotes Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in His Life August 1914: The Red Wheel Invisible Allies Cancer Ward The First Circle November 1916: The Red Wheel/Knot II Joseph Stalin was a Georgian Marxist revolutionary and later the virtual dictator of the USSR (1928-1953). Born in Gori, Georgia, the son of a cobbler and ex-serf. He studied at the Tiflis Orthodox Theological Seminary, from which he was expelled in 1899. After joining a Georgian Social Democratic organization (1898), he became active in the revolutionary underground, and was twice exiled to Siberia (1902, 1913). After Vladmir Lenin’s death (1924) he pursued a policy of building "socialism in one country", and gradually isolated and disgraced his political rivals, notably Trotsky. Lenin died leaving no clear successor and seemed clearly to regret that he had created a party dictatorship rather than a truly democratic society. In 1928, Stalin launched the campaign for the collectivization of agriculture during which millions of peasants perished, and the first 5-year plan for the forced industrialization of the economy. He believed that the Soviet Union was 100 hundred years behind the West and they much catch up as quickly as possible. The collectivization plan was an attempt to modernize industry by the state taking over all firms and businesses. Those who objected to Stalin’s methods ended up in slave labor camps called Gulags. The camps were often in Siberia or in Northern Russia. The Russian people worked with little food for ten years or more. Many died from exhaustion. One of the major results of the Five-Year Plans was the impressive industrial and agricultural development of the Siberian USSR and Central Asian USSR. Between 1934 and 1938 he inaugurated a massive purge of the party, government, armed forces, and intelligentsia (the intellectual elite of a society) in which millions of so-called "enemies of the people" were imprisoned, exiled, or shot. Many of the people Stalin turned on and were convicted of "crimes of the state" were his friends and colleagues and were working alongside him with the same goals until he came into power and changed the focus, for the sole purpose of getting rid of them and increasing his own power.   From 1945 until his death in 1953 he resumed his repressive measures at home, and conducted policies that contributed to the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. Nikita Khrushchev (general secretary of the Communist Party) denounced him, after his death at the 20th Party Congress (1956) for crimes against the Party and for building a "cult of personality". Website Information:

  1. http://www.hno.harvard.edu/hno.subpages/speeches/solzhenitsyn.html

  2. (Harvard Commencement Address 1978) ­Concentration of Truth

  3. http://www.almaz.com/nobel/Solzhemitsyn.html

Background/Biography/Further Links to Resources

Michelle Richards


Anais Nin: Incest


Incest, the memoir written by Anais Nin is set apart by the powerful and surrealistic style as well as her distressing imagery. Her work reveals great sensitivity and perception.

Anais was addicted to herself and the sexual control of her relationships. Preciously beautiful, tiresomely egotistical, passionately creative and a compulsive liar, Anais pursued her ideas of love, art and sensuality to her own exhaustion.

"The diary is a drug, a narcotic", Henry Miller reportedly said to Anais in 1937. Her diary was her outlet to come to terms with herself and find salvation in her writing. "I am not natural outside the diary". The diary is my form. I can only write while things are warm and happening when I write later I become artificial, I stylize." Anais search for self-knowledge and psychological insight as well as her feminist perspective is intensely detailed in her diary. Individuals and scenes are truly vivid in content and paint pictures of the experience.

The voice and point of view of the journals make the literature unique due to the rawness and courage of her confession. Anais shows no censorship and often contradicts her feelings in a maniac depressed method of thought. "That my deepest love should be mostly pain, that is a disease within me". The literature is unique in the audacity of the material and her commitment to seek out sensual experiences and that inextinguishable drive to write and record.

Anais has been criticized of being narcissist and I believe she has some attributes of narcissism such as Anais is extremely self-involved and captured by her own image. She does however desire to fulfil and love others more than herself. Anais Nin has psychological depth in her journals. She has a deep understanding even if it is maniacally construed of her relationships. She transcends an image of herself on others. The image of what they would like her to be. She has a strong passion for life and her own interpretation of happiness.

"I only believe in fire. Life. Fire. Being myself on fire I set others on fire. Never Death. Fire and Life. Les Jeux."

"If what Proust says is true, that happiness is the absence of fever, then I will never know happiness. For I am possessed by a fever for knowledge, experience, and creation."

Michelle Richards

Character: Brave New World: Lenina Crowne

Critique: Anais Nin

Dramatic Monologue


"Everyone belongs to everyone else"! Promiscuity is the answer ­we all must make the effort to be a little more immoral - I like the way Anais lets herself be possessed by the fever. She pursued her sensuality to exhaustion. I wonder if Anais remembered to wear a surrogate cartridge belt with contraceptives or is she a freemartin that cannot get pregnant when she is with all those men?

Consumption! I can definitely relate to Anais Nin’s lifestyle of the finer things in life ­"I love new clothes, I love new clothes, I love……..I love men, I love men, I love women, I love women……..

Anais Nin’s journal reveals no boundaries and no shame but she writes only about herself and reflects too much on the past. She must learn to structure her life in the future! Anais reveals in her journal the disgusting, ugliness and imperfection of human passion.

Anais must try the perfect drug to escape from her troubles in her relationships ­A dose of soma will give her an euphoric, narcotic, and pleasantly hallucinate without any after effects. She could take a holiday from reality (her father & Henry) whenever she likes, and come back without so much as a headache or a mythology. I could introduce Anais to a delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a weekend, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three or four for a dark eternity on the moon. She could escape from her deepest love of pain; the disease that she felt lived inside her.

Anias was addicted to sex and to herself. Why doesn’t she understand that she must be happy in life and learn to love everyone. She must stop thinking and reading of the ancient times and try to become one with the future. Individualism? What is that? We all are one, the incarnation of the Greater Being. Anais will no longer feel alone and the need for sex, her depression, and addiction to her diary if she becomes one with everybody-

"Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun,

Kiss the girls and make them One,

Boys at one with girls at peace,

Orgy-porgy gives release."

"Thank Ford", I am a Beta. I must take a double dose of soma for a long holiday from Anais Nin!


Michelle Richards

Einstein’s Dreams

Journal Entry



Living in the moment

Living in the past

World with no future

World with everything pre-destined (Brave New World)

World in which people live forever

Social Time

Biological Time


Einstein’s Dreams is a book about emulated images about time structure. The book made me start to think about how much of my life if affected by time especially in New York when it seems that I am always rushing around. As I read and research Alexander Solzhenitzins book the issue of circular repetitive time is presented in "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich". Each day being structured the same way without any hope or knowledge of being set free. Is death freedom?

Time freezes when I think about the past ­In dreams it seems that time is frozen when you are thinking about the future or of the past.

Time passes by quickly when I am immersed in literature ­I wake up from a wonderful novel and several hours have passed by without me even noticing it.

Time changes throughout my day depending on my schedule with work and school. If I am working on a project ­I never have enough time. If I am scheduled to give a presentation ­it seems like hours go by when it really is only minutes before it’s time to present.

I think some people have no concept of time ­or maybe they are on their own personal time without regard to the structural time of others. Do people have their own timetables?

Michelle Richards

Journal Entry

Nawal El Saadawi: God Dies by the Nile


Nawal Saadawi’s writing employs the style of repetition to demonstrate the intensity of the sun and nature. An example of the use of repetition in chapters 3 & 4 regarding the beating of women - "Beat her. Don’t you know that girls and women never do what they’re told unless you beat them?" ­Sheikh Zahran.

El Saadawi used this recurrence to reiterate the mindset and disregard that men demonstrated to women in Egypt.

The sun is personified and alive in the novel. It wakes up with the characters; it has a strong existence throughout the day and goes to sleep with them at night.


Quotes with reference to the sun:

A.M. "Suddenly, over the edge of the earth a point of sun shone out, grew slowly to become a disc of fire, then climbed up into the sky.

Midday: "The sun rose up in the sky gradually. Its disc turned into a ball of fire, choking the wind, bearing the down on the trees, turning everything into solid dryness, so that all things seemed to suffocate, burn in its red fire, and dry up."

P.M.-"The hours passed. The sun began to lean towards the earth in a slow, sweeping movement. Its flames no longer burned with the same ire. The heat subsided."

"The sun had dropped below the earth, and to the west, its crimson light no longer fought against the dusk."

Each chapter gives the reader the various periods of the sun ­the intensity of the dryness and heat. (a timelessness.) I tried to imagine myself in an extremely hot and dry place with sweat running down my face. The sun sees it all in the novel­all the layers of the rape of self by man, religion, and god. The geography, nature and the literature interlock as one in the novel.


Who are the narcissistic characters in this novel?

Sheikh Hamzawi, the Mayor, men -

Are all the characters "flat" by Western standards?

No, the characters are strong ­faces interpreting their pain ­"gaunt and bloodless ­lips were tightly closed, resolute, as though no word could pass through them. The large-wide open eyes fixed on the horizon expressed an angry defiance">

What is the depth in the message that El Saadawi conveys?

The depth that the message El Saadawi conveys is that danger is a part of her life. She felt so strongly about getting the truth out about women and sexuality in a world that lies. She felt that no power in the world could strip her of her knowledge and her writings.

Is there a difference between deep messages and deep characters?

Yes ­deep messages may need to involve shallow characters with deep characters to edify the full meaning of message. Deep characters may demonstrate shallow messages or no message at all. Deep messages drive inward to the soul ……….

Michelle Richards

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Journal Entry



James Joyce clearly shows the portrayal of a sensitive youth (himself) that is harrowed by religious and sexual guilt and transfigured by an idea of beauty.

I believe it is easy for people to relate to Stephen’s remarkable self-involvement and his frustration under the authority of church, state, and parents today even under different circumstances. The transformation of an adolescent sensitive to his surroundings and constrained to give it meaning is an area that many people can connect.

The writing style of James Joyce took some time for me to get accustomed to reading -the formlessness, its abrupt transitions, and the lack of plot. However, I agree with some of the book’s recent reviews that Joyce is an excellent conversationalist writer. His dialogue is as true to life as any conversation in contemporary time.

Are artists narcissistic or just the images they create? Or are some images shallow and some full?

Artist’s can be narcissistic to the images they construct and evolve. The artists can be captured by the image of their own creation. The artist becomes self-involved in the character and the world revolves around their life with/as the art. The narcissism is the absence of self (the artist) and a worship of the image. Some images are shallow and some are full depending on the artist’s interpretation of the figure.


Michelle Richards

Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita

Journal Entry

The style and language of "Lolita" is amazing. "Lolita" is sex made into art form. The book seemed to assert the power of the comic spirit from the most outlandish materials.

Hubert’s fate seemed classically tragic. He is a hero with a tragic flaw. He is every man driven by desire, wanting Lolita so badly that he did not consider her a human being, or as anything but a dream figment made flesh ­which is the eternal and universal nature of passion.

Is Hubert Narcissistic or does he have Psychological Depth? I interpret Hubert as extremely narcissistic. He is self-involved and captured by the nymphet image in which his world completely evolves around. He cannot see Lolita as an individual due to his perception of his illusion of her. His self-importance is put in front of his obligation as protector.


Michelle Richards

No Exit

Existentialism and the diversity of positions associated with the philosophical movement reflect one major theme: a stress on individual existence, subjectivity, individual freedom and choice. Existentialists argue that there is no objective, rational basis for decisions; they stress the importance of individualism in deciding questions of morality and truth. Existentialists also conclude that rational clarity is desirable wherever possible but that life's most important questions are not accessible to reason or science. Freedom of choice, through which each human being creates his or her own nature, is a primary topic.

German philosopher Martin Heidegger felt that anxiety leads to the individual’s confrontation with the impossibility of finding ultimate justification for his or her choices. Heidegger argued that human beings can never hope to understand why they are here: instead, each individual must choose a goal and follow it with a passionate conviction, aware of the certainty of death and the ultimate meaninglessness of one’s life.

Twentieth-century French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre first gave the term existentialism general currency by using it for his own philosophy. Explicitly atheistic and pessimistic, his philosophy declared that human life requires a rational basis but the attempt is a "futile passion". He insisted that his view is a form of humanism, emphasizing freedom and responsibility.

The play No Exit written by Jean Paul Sartre embodies the existentialism point of view. The four characters tell each other how they lived their lives and why they believed to be doomed to hell. Garcin, Estelle and Inez realize that hell was not at all what they had perceived it to be - "Hell was each other!"

I believe the mind can be in hell in a beautiful surrounding. I also believe you can be at peace in a hellish physical environment. You must focus on the positive aspects and keep yourself from becoming too involved in the negative.



Herman Hesse: Narcissus and Goldmund

Michelle Richards

Narcissus and Goldmund is a beautifully written story of a body-and-soul shaking debate between two men of opposite character. The book made me think about my own situations that between the flesh and spirit. I started to think about my actions and my contemplation of certain actions. What makes people decide to act or stay sedentary? What procedure has to take place in order to decide what’s right and what’s wrong? Pro and Con list? Mistakes in the past? Religious theory?

I believe it’s your own personal intuition that guides you to the right decision. Intuition is your basic instinct, your personal perception, an insight of the situation and own sixth sense if you will ­How do you know if your decision is right or wrong ­you just know…and if you decide your final action was the wrong one then you will grow and learn from your mistakes and use it as an opportunity. Your decisions make up your destiny…………………


Michelle Richards

Lenina Crowne / Brave New World

Lenina In New York City

"Ford!" look at the filth, sickness, crime and sorrow here in New York! These people are savages!!!!! The streets, buildings, and inhabitants are old and disgusting! I don’t even want to breathe in the smutty air from all the pollution & toxic waste. The exhaust from the cars, the smoke from the buildings ­Don’t these savages know how to conserve energy and fly with science! We have perfected all of these dinosaur ways of thinking with science in the Utopian world. Thank Ford!


Look at all the families together with their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. I am appalled at the nuclear family as the basic unit here. Hatcheries are the new technology! These neanderthals are destined to be unhappy without stability, community, and identity. They are all hallowed by the evils of their culture ­"motherhood", "home", "family", freedom" even "love". All the emotions and individuality involved in this society will be detrimental to these savages ­Community! Individuals loyalty should be to the state only -I must try and help them!


All the art, science and religion in New York City will lead to emotional, physical and spiritual unrest! People in my Utopian world are happy without these nuances. "History is bunk"! and "Everyone belongs to everyone else!" These people need to be introduced to soma ­they will find a renewed happiness!!!!!! I must assist them to discover soma ­That’s the problem in New York ­No Soma! Only drugs with the after effects and legal retributions. No wonder this world is chaos! I just want to take three somas and sit, serenely not listening, thinking of nothing at all".


Look at all these hospitals and nursing homes for the old and sick! Sickness everywhere!!!!! Why are all these savages mourning and full of sadness? Death is natural and pleasant. I don’t understand this feeling of tragedy associated with death? These savages think too way much!


Universal happiness ­I miss it! I miss the New World Utopian contentment of consuming mass-produced goods, sport, promiscuous sex, "the feelies", and most famously of all the pleasure-drug, soma. In my world we have no war, poverty or crime. Our goals are happiness and stability-both socially and personally.


Brave New World here I come!

Michelle Richards

Lenina Crowne

"A Day In the Life of Lenina Crowne"

It was early in the morning after Lenina finished her daily game of obstacle golf. She showered and put on her favorite pale pink blouse, zippiecamiknicks and bell-bottomed trousers. Lenina immediately took off in her bright green helicopter with the all-super-singing, synthetic talking, colored, stereoscopic feellies to find her love - John the Savage. She loved him so much and was destined to make him want her too. Her high spirits overflowed in song.


"Hug me till you drug me, honey"

Kiss me till I’m in a coma:

Hug me, honey, snuggly bunny;

Love’s as good as soma."


She wonders why John is so queer to the Utopian rituals yet she can’t stop thinking about him even after she has taken soma to stop the obsession. Something must be very wrong ­she thought? She wants to try and understand him ­his love of Shakespeare and individuality. She could not forget the wonderful story he told her of Romeo & Juliet. It was a love story of soul mates just like them. Even after her traumatic and violent fight with John she continued to look for him …….Where had he gone? He had told her that her loved her yet went ballistic when she tried to return her affection. The savage felt he was not worthy of her - He has interrupted her entire being ­she cannot live in the New World anymore with this affliction. Lenina’s now an outcast ­She in exile ­She has made a vow to quit taking soma until she finds John.


Where is John? I can’t go on without him?