In "Misery," who tells Iona "we shall all die," and why?

Quick answer:

The hunchback tells Iona "we shall all die," because he simply wants to get where he is going and not have to listen to the sledge driver's story.

Expert Answers

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Iona Potapov is a sledge driver, comparable to a cab driver today. He is deeply unhappy and in the throes of grief, because his son has died. Yet when he tries to tell the people who hire his sledge to drive them through the city snow, they have no interest in his misery. To them, he is simply an object they have hired to get them from one place to another. They don't see him as a person or care about him as a fellow human being.

This is true as well of the hunchback, one of the three men Iona picks up. The hunchback has to stand because there are only two seats in the sledge, so he is anxious to get where they are going. When Iona tries to share his sadness with him, the hunchback merely dismisses his pain by saying that everybody dies.

Nobody wants to hear Potapov's story—not his passengers or the other sledge drivers. They would all just prefer he not impose his humanity and grief on them. What is of earth-shattering importance to Iona doesn't matter to people who simply see him as a convenience.

This story is about the way we the dehumanize the people who do our work for us. Iona is reduced to of little more value than his horse, because that is how people see him. Thus it is fitting, if sad, that he pours his grief out to this animal.

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