The Death of Ivan Ilyich Questions and Answers

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

In this tremendous story we are presented with a man who follows his life trying to do what he feels is expected of him by society. Ivan Ilyich only establishes "light and playful relations" with...

Latest answer posted March 11, 2011 11:26 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Several morals are at the heart of Tolstoy's novella, but the one I'll discuss is the author's message that the material world is basically illusory and meaningless in the long run. Ivan Ilyich is...

Latest answer posted May 12, 2019 2:56 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Tolstoy is very clear in this novel that materialism and social climbing are to be abhorred, but all the same he explains why materialism is attractive. Throughout the entirety of Tolstoy's novel,...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2017 8:22 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The emphasis on this amazing short story is on the kind of "fake" or ersatz lives that Ivan Ilyich and his contemporaries live. They are never able to face up to their superficial lives that really...

Latest answer posted May 6, 2011 7:17 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich, on its surface, is an exploration of a man questioning the purpose of his life and coming up short. However, as with Tolstoy's other famous works,...

Latest answer posted December 31, 2019 4:33 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The wake is described from the point of view of the character called Peter Ivanovich, who was a friend and colleague of Ivan Ilyich. The only comical elements are concerned with Peter Ivanovich's...

Latest answer posted September 23, 2013 10:22 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Chapter 2 of the novel The Death of Ivan Ilych opens with one of the most famously-quoted phrases in Russian literature Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most...

Latest answer posted November 20, 2015 8:33 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan Ilyich's associates are described as "so-called friends" because they apparently do not feel genuinely close to the man while he was alive, and even after he has died, they all seem to regard...

Latest answer posted April 13, 2018 4:10 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Religion seems to play little role in the life of Ivan Illyich. It is clear that he believes in God or some sort of higher existence, and yet he only really confronts God when it is clear that he...

Latest answer posted March 11, 2011 11:18 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan a judge in the high court with a child and a wife is found to be living a good and simple life, or so he thought. He begins to feel sick and finds out that he is terminal. It is at this point...

Latest answer posted April 15, 2008 5:10 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

There are very many instances of rising action in Tolstoy's story. The most important aspect of rising action is that that come just before the climax. Prior to that part of the story, Ilyich,...

Latest answer posted June 17, 2012 8:18 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The life of Ivan Ilyich is one that is dominated by vanity and pride. Note how he is so desirous of having the perfect house that he takes such interest in, even though the narrator tells us it is...

Latest answer posted March 11, 2011 11:55 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The setting is late nineteenth century in Petersburg and the surrounding Russian provinces and cities, and the novel is told from the point of view of the omniscient narrator, although action...

Latest answer posted June 16, 2007 3:34 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Gerasim is able to connect with his master precisely because of his simple peasant background and the way that he honestly accepts death as part of the process of life. Note what he says in the...

Latest answer posted March 11, 2011 11:35 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

This is an intriguing question, and one that is not easy to try to answer. Tolstoy was one of the world's very greatest writers. He wrote with that "high seriousness," which the English critic...

Latest answer posted December 3, 2015 4:27 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Illych follows the following plot outline: Exposition: We see Ivan's life as "climbing a ladder." He's a "cog in a machine," a good member of a Czarist Russian...

Latest answer posted April 23, 2010 9:33 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

No, Ivan is not a religious man, but upon his death he has an epiphany which transforms him. He lived a normal life, trying to follow the middle-class expectations of success.  He...

Latest answer posted July 23, 2007 1:57 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan Ilyich's final three days of suffering are a metaphor for man's struggle to find truth, and to discover the meaning, or the purpose, of life. Like most people, before his illness Ivan Ilyich...

Latest answer posted April 23, 2018 2:36 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

It is important to realise what Gerasim represents and how his character contrasts dramatically with Ivan's wife and family and their response to his death. Gerasim is a Russian peasant whom...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2011 8:15 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Obviously, Ivan is not claiming he will not physically die. This quote refers to his spiritual regeneration, which only came through the process of death waking him up from the emptiness of his...

Latest answer posted July 29, 2019 7:15 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

I believe that these words are a reference to Christ's final words on the cross (you can read about Tolstoy's struggle with faith here on eNotes to see how this is part of his theme of death in...

Latest answer posted May 10, 2010 5:30 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

In Tolstoy's great classic "The Death of Ivan Ilych," one of the things that Ivan reconciles at the end of his life is the way he has participated, or not participated, in his marriage. The...

Latest answer posted November 22, 2009 3:35 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

It is clear that what allows Ivan Illyich to achieve redemption, if indeed redemption is what he achieves, is a recognition of how he has wasted his life by focusing on the material alone. His...

Latest answer posted June 13, 2011 8:26 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Tolstoy's story sets up a conflict between material desires and human compassion. He uses Ivan's life and death as a way to show the truth that comes with mortality—what we earned in life is not as...

Latest answer posted June 29, 2017 9:36 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

These two stories are similar in terms of theme, main character, and, not least importantly, tone. The Metamorphosis begins with a fantasy event – the changing of a man into a giant bug - while The...

Latest answer posted May 1, 2014 1:33 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

For one thing, it teaches us that happiness isn't what we often think it to be. Many of us tend to seek happiness in wealth and material goods; that's the kind of life that Ivan Ilyich has led. But...

Latest answer posted November 24, 2017 6:01 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan's reproach to the living is seen in his facial expressions that reflect his disapproval of the lifestyles of his family and friends. As his death comes closer, he becomes angry at his family...

Latest answer posted July 26, 2007 5:26 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The main character Ivan Ilych is obsessed with propriety and formality. As a way of expressing this formality, the author uses the full names of the characters. This style prohibits the reader...

Latest answer posted July 8, 2008 3:48 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Tolstoy's choice of words in this case illustrates the theme of alienation that is maintained throughout the story. Though Tolstoy is not often considered an existentialist writer, he anticipated...

Latest answer posted April 10, 2018 1:40 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Tolstoy's message, in this story and in most of his later fiction, involves the transience and relatively unimportant nature of earthly life. Ivan Ilyich, in the agony of the final three days...

Latest answer posted November 8, 2018 8:27 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

In "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," prior to being sick and near-death, Ivan had only acquaintances, not friends. Acquaintances are formal, but friends are intimate. Acquaintances are bothered by...

Latest answer posted November 18, 2010 4:06 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

This story is usually hailed as a masterpiece of psychological and social realism; in its portrayal of the last few weeks of a dying man's life, it mercilessly exposes the uncaring attitude of...

Latest answer posted February 20, 2015 7:20 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

I think, in answering this question, it's useful to consider how this story is structured, because The Death of Ivan Ilyich begins at the end, after its protagonist has died, with Ivan Ilyich's...

Latest answer posted March 7, 2019 11:15 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

In The Death of Ivan Lynch, Tolstoy writes that Ivan Lynch’s life “had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.” (Tolstoy 47). Here, Tolstoy is saying that Ivan lived a banal...

Latest answer posted May 30, 2020 12:43 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The most prominent reason that Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" speaks to his life more than his death is that in death, people tend to reflect on the lives of the person who has passed away....

Latest answer posted May 21, 2012 8:58 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan's life is dictated to him by social status. It is his biggest shortcoming in his life. He lives by the moral code of the socialites his surrounds himself with. He believes that he must mimic...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2008 10:32 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan Ilyich's family, his work associates, and his doctor all show a kind of indifference to his illness and death. Significantly, however, they are not "bad" people. Tolstoy stresses that Ivan...

Latest answer posted June 8, 2018 5:21 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan Ilyich’s life and death are measured against the running backdrop of time in The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Near the beginning of the novella, we see time measured loosely: we meet Ivan Ilyich’s...

Latest answer posted January 3, 2019 3:21 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The life of nearly all the characters in this story is shown to be a superficial round of social duties and routines. This kind of life appears stultifying and emotionally stunted. Yet none of...

Latest answer posted March 29, 2013 6:33 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Tolstoy's description of the terrible sufferings of Ivan Illich in his great short novel "The Death of Ivan Illich" certainly had a purpose in making the reader appreciate the reality of death and...

Latest answer posted May 7, 2012 4:17 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The reason has to do with the way that the family interacts with each other and how they are not emotional. They are distant and formal with each other. This is how Ivan Ilych has lived all his...

Latest answer posted January 10, 2009 4:49 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan Illych has devoted his life to propriety, rising up the social ladder and having better material possessions and wealth. He is superficial and shallow, he is surrounded by the same type of...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2008 6:07 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

There are a number of themes, but the overriding one is mortality. Tolstoy believes that we can only truly lead meaningful lives if we gain a deep, spiritual understanding of that mortality which...

Latest answer posted October 28, 2017 1:54 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Leo Tolstoy had a major religious conversion after writing Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilych is his most famous after-conversion work. He converted to a kind of Buddhist, secularist...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2009 4:53 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The greatest sin, Ivan realizes on his deathbed as his son kisses his hand, is to cause others to suffer. In great physical pain, Ivan feels a release of mental anguish as he repents of the misery...

Latest answer posted May 2, 2019 12:31 pm UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ilych's thought process and his descent into memory are the best evidence for the moral judgement being placed on his life. As he weakens, Ilych longs for the happy life that he once lived. But...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2008 10:18 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

In this story Tolstoy is commenting on propriety and social pretense. When Ivan did everything as he should have, it was true; but he did it for all the wrong reasons. In other words, he lived well...

Latest answer posted November 17, 2009 6:13 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Thank you for the question. I actually like these that combine some literature with history as well! Tolstoy's personal life (albeit with some commonalities) bears little resemblance to that of...

Latest answer posted January 14, 2010 5:51 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Despite knowing Ivan Illyich for his entire life, Peter shows little or no emotion at his rapidly deteriorating condition. As his old acquaintance prepares to meet his maker, all that Peter can...

Latest answer posted June 16, 2019 6:03 am UTC

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

In both Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" and Jack London's "To Build a Fire," the protagonists fear death and resist giving in to death until the last moment. Then they both discover that...

Latest answer posted September 25, 2018 6:22 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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