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One of the reactions to the overall message of Tolstoy's work is one of humility. There is a strong element of how the loss of individual ego can transcend the condition of what is. This becomes a potential reaction to the work. When Aksionov goes to jail, there is much in way of ego and personal sense of self in terms of his protestations about his innocence as well as how this is injustice. Yet, during his time in jail, Aksionov loses this sense of personal ego as he transforms into a devoutly religious person. It seems as if that his plunging into religion has helped to transform his own ego and sense of self. This is one of the strongest reactions that can be seen in the work, something that is continued at the end when Makar confesses his own guilt and begs for Aksionov's forgiveness. The life that Aksionov has led compels him to speak from a position where there is a loss of ego: "God will forgive you! . . . Maybe I am a hundred times worse than you.” In a world where individuals are taught from the earliest of ages to continually stand up for oneself and assert one's own sense of ego and self, Aksionov's words help to establish the idea that anyone can shed their ego and submit themselves in the name of something higher and more transcendent. It is here where I think that the reaction to Tolstoy's work is intense in terms of demonstrating how individuals can live their lives in a way in which ego is not as prominent and dominant in consciousness. This is a reaction that I find present in the end message from the text.
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