The Death of Ivan Ilyich Questions and Answers
by Leo Tolstoy

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What are the similarities between "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" and The Metamorphosis? As we know there are similarities between "Ivan" and "Gregor", "Gerasim" and "Grete"

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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 Death of Ivan Ilyich sticks to realism, with the depiction of its main character slowly succumbing to a terminal illness rather than a bizarre physical transformation. However, the main focus in both stories is the state of mind of this character as he slowly withdraws from the world around him, and is, indeed, rejected by others on account of his condition.  In either case, the actual physical change is not more important than the spiritual desolation that Gregor and Ivan suffer before death. Both stories are searing portraits of individual loneliness and isolation, and as such are justly famous.

What accentuates this sense of loneliness is that both Ivan and Gregor remain in the midst of their families yet derive so little help and support from them. Gregor is kept physically segregated,...

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