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The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy - Book Report/Review Example

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This book review describes a research of the Death of Ivan Ilyich book by Leo Tolstoy. The novel reveals the life and death of Ivan Ilyich, a high official of the 19th century Russia’s Court and at the same time, a miserable husband, and a social climber in Russia’s high-society ladder. …
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The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
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The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

Download file to see previous pages... The story completely exemplifies what Tolstoy believed literature must contain: value and purpose (Zott). There are several stages whereupon this story can be read; nonetheless they are intertwined so inextricably into this masterwork that the density is overwhelming. Its simplicity — a dying man’s realization of the wasted life he lived — has been commonly depicted in Hollywood movies yet hardly ever portrayed and paralleled the superb skillfulness of Tolstoy in writing The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Teitelbaum). Departure from life, rousing of one’s spirituality, and salvation are the most important foundations in the novel. Indeed, the novel’s title may deceive the reader, like Ilyich himself, into believing that it is mainly on death, however ironically at the finale the reader, once more like Ilyich himself, comes into the realization that death is immaterial. While demonstrated in the story, death is the final certainty inevitably faced and acknowledged by all mortals. For Ilyich, the inescapability of his own death encourages a spiritual disaster and life abandonment. In keeping Tolstoy's viewpoint, Ilyich refuses the superficiality of his previous life and holds on to his newly-found spiritual ideals of love and acceptance. Reviewers have accentuated the emptiness of Ilyich's quest for greed and power, a life that is exposed as deceitful and lacking in spiritual profundity. Moreover, the novel has been argued from a psychological angle, as observers see Ilyich's estrangement from his associates and relations throughout his sickness and his propensity to pull out from human contact at his most trying moments. It is only through Gerasim, his poor servant, which he tried to make critical human contact shortly prior to his death....
This book review explores the novel by Leo Tolstoy that was originally published in the Russian language as Smert Ivana Ilycha in 1886, several years following a phase of unhappiness and inner intellectual confusion that ended with his conversion to Christianity. At the time Tolstoy’s novel came out, critics centered on the literary worth of the short story and viewed it as a stinging ironic description of aristocratic Russian society. In relation to this insight, the illness of Ilyich dscribed in the novel is symbolic of the disease of the high-class 19th century humanity. Later on, analysis centered on the dealings of death in The Death of Ivan Ilyich, construing the story as a manifestation of the universal mortality of every individual. The plot is also recognized as an incarnation of Tolstoy's quest for meaning and his views on humanity. Whereas some scholars regard the story as an illustration of Tolstoy's smart employment of verisimilitude, as it embodies a stage every human will ultimately meet; some recognizes the story as a leading model of Tolstoy's didacticism and strict morality. While several readers may think that Ilyich is a wicked character, and that the story is a forewarning against fraud, the researcher thinks that Ivan Ilyich is neither worse nor better than the common people. Ilyich rises above any commoner, who shuns away from the actuality of death to make life meaningful. In Tolstoy's remarks, "Ivan Ilyich's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible." ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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