A literary analysis of the death of ivan illyich by leo tolstoy

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A literary analysis of the death of ivan illyich by leo tolstoy

Themes The Right Life From the outset of the novel it is clear that Tolstoy believes there are two types of lives: The artificial life is marked by shallow relationships, self-interest, and materialism.

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It is insular, unfulfilling, and ultimately incapable of providing answers to the important questions in life.

The authentic life, on the other hand, is marked by pity and compassion. It sees others not as means to ends, but as individual beings with unique thoughts, feelings, and desires. The authentic life cultivates mutually affirming human relationships that break down isolation and allow for true interpersonal contact.

Whereas the artificial life leaves one alone and empty, the authentic life fosters strength through solidarity and comfort through empathy.

A literary analysis of the death of ivan illyich by leo tolstoy

It creates bonds and prepares one to meet death. Gerasim alone is unafraid of death. Confident in the correctness of his life and unafraid of personal involvement, Gerasim has a self-sacrificing love for others that infuses his life with meaning. The virtue of the authentic life is that at the same time Gerasim is helping Ivan, he is also benefiting from the relationship.

Compassion and love go both ways, and the authentic life is the right life. Throughout the novel, Tolstoy makes clear that preparation for death begins with a proper attitude toward life. It leads only to emptiness, horror, and dissatisfaction.

Places Discussed

An acceptance of death, however, and recognition of the true unpredictable nature of life allows for confidence, peace, and even joy at the moment of death. More than anything else, then, the novel can be seen as a lesson on making sense of death through living rightly.

Up until Chapter IX, Ivan is a purely physical being. He shows no indication of any spiritual life whatsoever.

INTRODUCTION

He lives for the benefit of his own flesh and relates with others only insofar as they promote his desires. Worst of all, Ivan mistakes his physical life for his true spiritual life.

A literary analysis of the death of ivan illyich by leo tolstoy

He believes that his existence is the "right" existence, and he refuses to see the error of his life. As a result of denying the spiritual, Ivan is incapable of transcending the physical. He experiences excruciating pain, overwhelming unhappiness, and absolute terror.

Yet when the prospect of his death forces Ivan to confront his isolation, he gradually begins to see the importance of the spiritual life.

As he grows toward understanding, as he supplants the physical with the spiritual, he moves beyond suffering, conquers death, and experiences extreme joy.The Death of Ivan Ilych is a novella by Leo Tolstoy that was first published in A summary of Motifs in Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych.

Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Death of Ivan Ilych and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.

The Death of Ivan Ilyich - Wikipedia

The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Russian: Смерть Ивана Ильича, Smert' Ivána Ilyichá), first published in , is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, considered one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late s.

The Agonizing Death of Ivan Ilyich: Leo Tolstoy’s Analysis of Genuine Verses Artificial Realities. Leo Tolstoy, a man whose philosophy was rooted in ascetic principles, greatly feared death for the duration of .

The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Russian: Смерть Ивана Ильича, Smert' Ivána Ilyichá), first published in , is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, considered one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late s.

The Death of Ivan Ilych is a picture of the values by which many (and perhaps most) people live. It is a life without meaning. It is a life without meaning. We need to note a great divide that runs through the story, however.

SparkNotes: The Death of Ivan Ilych: Themes