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The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Tolstoy - Essay Example

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Name and Number of the Course Date “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy Introduction Count Leo Tolstoy’s novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich was first published in 1886, is one of the best known works among his late fiction…
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The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Tolstoy
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Download file to see previous pages He has family, friends and a good position that he devoted a major part of his life in cultivating. As a result he has political, personal and social freedom. Ilyich’s free and easy life is pleasant with decorum and lightheartedness, and his nature is agreeable. Through this narrative, Tolstoy studies both life and death, Ivan’s realization about his life not truly lived, and his eventual making of peace with the inevitability of death. Thus, only in his last moments does Ivan Ilyich lose his fear of death, and joyfully perceives the light which replaces it (Tolstoy 56). Great scholars such as Vladimir and Mahatma Gandhi acclaimed the novella as the greatest in Russian literature. The work is interesting to read, rich in insights about human nature, and educative in its content. Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to examine Leo Tolstoy’s story The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and discuss why the main protagonist’s life was not truly lived. Why Ivan Ilyich’s Life was not Well Lived Tolstoy through his story insists that Ivan Ilyich is not different from others in the world, and that his extremely simple and ordinary life is “most terrible” (Tolstoy 9). ...
The author depicts his protagonist as a selfish, short-sighted and mediocre person, since the latter’s ideal goal in life was to avoid unpleasantness. Ilyich’s main pleasures in life included playing bridge with his friends, besides liking antiques and living properly and pleasantly. However, it is evident that none of these normal, ordinary qualities can condemn Ilyich as wicked. This is the exact message that Tolstoy wishes to convey to the reader. While Ivan’s existence was akin to living death, his death is a rebirth into a new spiritual life. Therefore, his fatal flaw was that he had lived in a spiritual void (Hobby 34). According to Tolstoy, the fact of living and life ironically includes the certainty of death. Living with pain and illness everyday, Ivan Ilyich suffers for several months while refusing to accept the inevitability of his death (Tolstoy 7). The core of his life had consisted of emptiness, self deception and false values. Most human beings, in the process of living, we commonly deny the truth of our human condition, pretend to forget about death; and this lie forms a part of the other lies that vitiate our beings. This means that Ilyich had been “living a literal, physical life but had been spiritually dead” (Hobby 34). Olney’s (p.110) analysis of the story differentiates between “life as experience” and “life as meaning”, and states that Tolstoy’s vivid representation through the fictional narrative helps the reader comprehend the truth that was present in the author’s own soul. For Tolstoy the actual meaning of life was different from indulgence in parties, tastefully decorating one’s home, and other ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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