Blackboard Dreams English with Mr. Leon You are here: Tolstoy understood natural human fascination with objects, titles, and propriety and within his own life, denied those material pleasures. He channels these philosophies and mystifications in his book The Death of Ivan Ilyich.
Characters[ edit ] Ivan Ilyich Ilyich is a patronymichis surname is Golovin is a highly regarded official of the Court of Justicedescribed by Tolstoy as, "neither as cold and formal as his elder brother nor as wild as the younger, but was a happy mean between them—an intelligent, polished, lively, and agreeable man.
She is characterized as self-absorbed and uninterested in her husband's struggles, unless they directly affect her. Gerasim is the Golovins' young butler.
He takes on the role of sole comforter and caretaker during Ivan's illness. Peter Ivanovich is Ivan's longtime friend and colleague. He studied law with Ivan and is the first to recognize Ivan's impending death.
Lisa Golovin is Ivan's daughter. Plot summary[ edit ] Ivan Ilyich lives a carefree life that is "most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible". Like everyone he knows, he spends his life climbing the social ladder. Enduring marriage to a woman whom he often finds too demanding, he works his way up to be a magistrate, thanks to the influence he has over a friend who has just been promoted, focusing more on his work as his family life becomes less tolerable.
While hanging curtains for his new home one day, he falls awkwardly and hurts his side. Though he does not think much of it at first, he begins to suffer from a pain in his side.
As his discomfort grows, his behavior towards his family becomes more irritable. His wife finally insists that he visit a physician.
The physician cannot pinpoint the source of his malady, but soon it becomes clear that his condition is terminal. Confronted with his diagnosis, Ivan attempts every remedy he can to obtain a cure for his worsening situation, until the pain grows so intense that he is forced to cease working and spend the remainder of his days in bed.
Here, he is brought face to face with his mortality and realizes that, although he knows of it, he does not truly grasp it. During the long and painful process of dying, Ivan dwells on the idea that he does not deserve his suffering because he has lived rightly.
If he had not lived a good life, there could be a reason for his pain; but he has, so pain and death must be arbitrary and senseless. As he begins to hate his family for avoiding the subject of his death, for pretending he is only sick and not dying, he finds his only comfort in his peasant boy servant, Gerasim, the only person in Ivan's life who does not fear death, and also the only one who, apart from his own son, shows compassion for him.
Ivan begins to question whether he has, in fact, lived a good life. In the final days of his life, Ivan makes a clear split between an artificial life, such as his own, which masks the true meaning of life and makes one fear death, and an authentic life, the life of Gerasim.
Authentic life is marked by compassion and sympathy, the artificial life by self-interest. Then "some force" strikes Ivan in the chest and side, and he is brought into the presence of a bright light. His hand falls onto his nearby son's head, and Ivan pities his son.
He no longer hates his daughter or wife, but rather feels pity for them, and hopes his death will release them. In so doing, his terror of death leaves him, and as Tolstoy suggests, death itself disappears.
Interpretation[ edit ] Inphilosopher Merold Westphal said that the story depicts "death as an enemy which 1 leads us to deceive ourselves, 2 robs us of the meaning of life, and 3 puts us in solitary confinement.
Tolstoy's book is about many things: But more than anything, I would offer, it is about the consequences of living without meaning, that is, without a true and abiding connection to one's life In his lectures on Russian literatureRussian-born novelist and critic Vladimir Nabokov argues that, for Tolstoy, a sinful life such as Ivan's is moral death.
Therefore, death, the return of the soul to God, is, for Tolstoy, moral life. Ivan lived a bad life and since the bad life is nothing but the death of the soul, then Ivan lived a living death; and since beyond death is God's living light, then Ivan died into a new life — Life with a capital L.
Instead, the story leads the reader through a pensive, metaphysical exploration of the reason for death and what it means to truly live. Tolstoy was a man who struggled greatly with self-doubt and spiritual reflection, especially as he grew close to his own death in No matter how often I may be told, "You cannot understand the meaning of life so do not think about it, but live," I can no longer do it: I have already done it too long.
I cannot now help seeing day and night going round and bringing me to death. That is all I see, for that alone is true.
All else is false.The Death of Ivan Ilych study guide contains a biography of Leo Tolstoy, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. About The Death of Ivan Ilych The Death of Ivan Ilych Summary.
The Death of Ivan Ilych is a novella by Leo Tolstoy that was first published in Jan 26, · Psychoanalytic - The Death of Ivan Illych (Leo Tolstoy) Summary: The novel tells the story of the death, at age 45, of a . May 28, · The Death Of Ivan Ilyich: Leo Tolstoy Beginning, as it does, with the death of Ivan Ilyich, you wouldn’t think there was much left to say but Leo Tolstoy’s novella, The Death Of Ivan Ilyich, then winds the narrative back to an earlier part of the character’s life and lets it unravel from srmvision.com: English Literature.
Leo Tolstoy. Born September 9, in Tula Province, Russia. Died November 20, in Astapovo, Russia. The Death of Ivan Ilyich exams how one goes about solving the problems of life.
In this story however the problem is impending death. Literary analysis - Fiction. OTHER SETS BY THIS CREATOR.
7 terms. MKTG . The Death of Ivan Ilych Criticism Leo Tolstoy This Study Guide consists of approximately 60 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Death of Ivan Ilych.