Bread clearly symbolizes comfort, nourishment, and happiness in this novel by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. "Rations" are given to prisoners for nourishment. Despite the fact that the prisoners are in awful conditions, they are overjoyed when they are able to eat their rations of bread. Bread is their prized possessions. It represents survival and comfort to their starving bodies.It seems as if it is the one aspect of the camp that can truly make any prisoner happy, and it most definitely makes Shukov happy.
Not only is bread a symbol, but time is a consistent symbol throughout the narration as well. I believe time represents self-awareness and hope. Time is also a prized possession, for prisoners truly cherish time to themselves during meals and during the night when they are able to sleep. In fact Ivan states, "Apart from sleep, the only time a prisoner lives for himself is ten minutes in the morning and at breakfast, five minutes over dinner, and five at supper." Time is also the only thing that brings the prisoners closer to freedom. As they survive each day, they are that much closer to being liberated.