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It appears that Tolstoy’s main point in writing this story was to illustrate the concept of death. Death is usually portrayed as a very mysterious and frightening aspect of life. However within The Death of Ivan Ilynch, Tolstoy shows death in a different light. In the first chapter, Tolstoy really captures how utterly mundane death is, especially for those left behind. This is shown in the reaction of Ivan’s coworkers. For example, as soon as Fedor Vasilievich hears about Ivan’s death, he starts to think about the possibility of being promoted as Ivan’s spot in the court has now opened up(Tolstoy, 1886). Additionally, many of the men, particularly Peter Ivanovich feel a bit irritated or put out at the thought that they are now obligated to go pay their condolences to Ivan’s wife and family(Tolstoy, 1886). At the house, a man named Schwartz even communicates with Peter about an upcoming game of bridge at Fedor Vasilievich’s house(Tolstoy, 1886). This entire chapter illustrates how death can become a rather mundane event, and, even if someone is no longer living, the lives of other people continue on.
In addition to addressing the mundane aspects of death, Tolstoy also looks at how drawn out illness and death can be. For much of the story, Ivan is battling a mysterious illness, and every doctor he visits appears to have a different opinion as to what it could be(Tolstoy, 1886). Eventually the illness becomes so severe and painful that Ivan is unable to live his life in a normal fashion and must be given powerful drugs like morphine in order to stave off the pain(Tolstoy, 1886). The medication does little to help him; however and Ivan becomes unable to care for himself at all. This period lasts quite a while in the story. At the end of his life, he screams for three days as the pain becomes too great(Tolstoy, 1886). Finally, he is able to die. Ivan’s death presents a more accurate take on the expiration of a human.
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The narrator exactly knows how each character thinks,feels,and acts throughout the course of the novelette.He can actually reveal the deepest part of the characters’ consciousness.He can expose the innermost thoughts of the characters revealing their transparent attitude towards life,relationships,and the society in general
For example, Ivan says that ‘Death is finished’ an indication of the spiritual death which characterized his whole life. When Ivan died, Pyotr Ivanovich said ‘I thought somehow that he’d never get up from his bed again’ an indication of how people around him were prepared for Ivan’s death (Tolstoy 88).
According to the research findings, this symbolism, the black sack, is connected to the theme of inevitability of death. Even though Ivan never wanted to reach the bottom, he finally did. His story of approaching death steadily is his recognition of death as well as his attempt to compromise with his nullifying and dreadful power.
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The story opens with the announcement of Ivan's death.
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