Reading this was like the Stoic exercise of practicing poverty Seneca talks about. Viktor Frankl's thoughts on finding meaning wherever you are - even in prison - comes to mind as well. Find meaning in work. Yojokun: exert yourself, at the end of the day you should be exhausted the body is meant to work/move.
Why would you want freedom? In freedom your last grain of faith will be choked with weeds. You should rejoice that you're in prison. Here you have time to think about your soul.
Warm up with the work, that was your only salvation.
Shukhov knew how to manage anything. Work was like a stick. It had two ends. When you worked for the knowing you gave them quality; when you worked for a fool you simply gave him eye-wash.
Sleep apart, the only time a prisoner lives for himself is 10 minutes in the morning at breakfast, 5 minutes over dinner and 5 at supper.
How can you expect a man who's warm to understand one who's cold?
During his years in prisons and camps he'd lost the habit of planning for the next day, for a year ahead, for supporting his family. The authorities did his thinking for him about everything - it was somehow easier that way.
Easy money weighs light in the hand and doesn't give you the feeling like you've earned it.
You got an extra 200 grammes of bread for your supper. A couple of hundred grammes ruled your life.
Wonder of wonders! How time flew when you were working! That was something he'd often noticed. The days rolled by in the camp - they were often over before you could say 'knife' But the years never rolled by, they never moved by a second.
A day without a dark cloud. Almost a happy day.