symbolizes his unique identity, and simultaneously his dedication to self-preservation, both physically and spiritually. The spoon is one of Shukhov’s only possessions and by far his most beloved. In the gulag, everything including boots, bowls, and living quarters are communal, so Shukhov’s spoon, his only possession, symbolizes his individuality. The camp is designed to strip the prisoners of their individual identities, so in a sense, the Zeks move inward to maintain their identities. The way Shukhov hides his spoon in his boot, alludes to the way in which his identity is hidden by his external appearance and circumstances, but remains incredibly close to him at all times. It is no mistake that this symbol of identity is connected to the act of eating. Some of Shukhov’s strongest principals are connected to his eating habits—he takes off his hat, does not eat the fish eyes, and never licks bowls—and these principals are essential to Shukhov’s sustained sense of personal identity. The spoon is also a tool Shukhov has connected with sustenance, and the spoon works in one sense to bring food to his mouth, but in a deeper sense to feed his identity by allowing him the means to maintain his principals.