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Death of Ivan Ilyich Essay

… Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

To many, death is but an afterthought to the conversation of life. And even then, such a thought is fleeting all the same. Because why think about dying when one is busy living life? Why think about something so alien to one when one is trying to achieve success and material wealth and happiness? Why think about death when it is hard enough trying to live life? Why think about death when it only happens to others and could not possibly happen to oneself?

The consequence of such an attitude is the death of one's spiritual, moral and emotional life, even without one's knowledge (Kamm, 2003, 209). One chooses may neglect the spiritual, moral and emotional aspects of…. [read more]

Death of Ivan Ilyich Essay

… Death of Ivan Ilych

Sum up the reactions of Ivan Ilych's colleagues to the news of his death. What is implied in Tolstoy's calling them "so-called friends"?

Ivan's colleagues are "so-called friends" because unlike true friends they have no real sympathy or empathy for Ivan, his life, or his soul. Their immediate concern is of promotions, who will be selected to take Ivan's place, and the amount of money the new position will bring in. They are superficial, worldly and materialistic. They admit to never seeing him ("I haven't been to see him since the holidays. I always meant to go.") unless a "holiday" custom demands it. Their true natures are summed up tersely with the thought that each one expresses: "Well, he's dead but…. [read more]

Tolstoy and Chekhov Death Essay

… The man is even able to recall having a daughter that died, something that Marfa mentioned on her deathbed but of which Yakov had no memory. In facing his death, Yakov feels. He feels pain and sadness and loss but at least he feels something. Upon the moment when he must realize that he is a human being, he finally accepts his humanity.

The story of "The Death of Ivan Ilych" written by Leo Tolstoy has a similar point to make as the Chekhov story but provides a protagonist who is potentially more likeable. At first, the reader does not care for Ivan Ilych. Here is another greedy man who has spent his entire life trying to acquire financial gain, even at the expense of…. [read more]

Death of Ivan Ilych Term Paper

… " There may be some of Tolstoy's own poisoned marriage described in these passages here between Ivan and Prokovya. She decided at a certain point in her husband's illness, the attitude she would take to it: "that is was his own fault and was another of the annoyances he caused her." Her selfishness is made very repugnant to the reader. At one point she is depicted going out to enjoy the opera, as her husband wastes away at home. There is a falseness to the marriage, and a void or gulf between the married couple, which will not be rectified in the story: in the end Ivan merely learns to "pity her."

Vasya is Ivan's young "school-boy" son. He appears very little in the story,…. [read more]

Tolstoy and Chekhov Essay

… ¶ … Death of Ivan Ilych" and Ward No. 6"

An analysis of "The Death of Ivan Ilych" and "Ward No. 6" reveals that death is a critical concept in both. While Ivan Ilyich and Dr. Andrei Yefimich are similar characters, the significance of their death is very different. While these are clearly different characters, they share similar viewpoints regarding death and, to an extent, life itself. Ivan lived his life in a vacuum and reached out to others very little. His concept of what was important related mostly to work and success. Andrey's view of the world was bleak and hopeless. His attitude towards his patients was cold and aloof. Both men neglect the "human" side of life and, as a result, do not…. [read more]

Death of Ivan Ilych Research Paper

… Her husband's focus on the hereafter made life in the present extremely difficult for Sofia Tolstoy. Tolstoy forced his wife to breastfeed all of the couple's thirteen children as a point of principle to be 'natural' like the peasants and demanded that she life in the style of his Christian aestheticism (Flood 2009).

Tolstoy's spiritual writings, as seen in "Ivan Ilych" advance the notion that all is meaningless in life except for faith. "Only in faith can we find for life a meaning and a possibility," writes Tolstoy A Confession (Tolstoy 15). Those who find pleasure in frivolous things are seen as ignorant or in denial, but sadly this point-of-view made the famous Russian author very difficult to live with 'in real life,' given the…. [read more]

Healing, Growing, Dying in Chapter Essay

… Q3. In Ira Byock's book Dying Well, Byock chronicles the painful process of watching his father die. At first, it was inconceivable to him that his father could pass away, and he met the first stages with a denial of the severity of his father's condition. "It was incomprehensible how all this could be lost" (Byock 1998: 5). This parallels the story of "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Leo Tolstoy, in which the title character first sees many doctors who give him conflicting diagnoses about his terminal condition and his family tries to ignore the fact that his condition is worsening, despite the treatment he is receiving. However, unlike Ivan Ilyich, Byock stresses that his father Seymour's life was a life 'well lived,' and…. [read more]

Death of Ivan Ilych Term Paper

… The city is full of callous people; the author seems to be saying, all alienated from each other because of their busy, empty lifestyles. The only loyal character in this story is the peasant who takes care of Ivan; in direct contrast to all the people Ivan has chosen to surround himself with throughout his life. Therefore, in simple terms, the city is evil and breeds evil characters, while the country is good and breeds moral characters.

Another aspect of alienation Tolstoy address in the story, and that has a large affect on Ivan's character, is his alienation from the church. His wife has to beg him to take communion, so obviously he has not been regularly attending church. He is spiritually empty, which may…. [read more]

Quality of Life an Analysis Essay

… In the search for identity, one can thus find his or her place in society and also find happiness, in Ali's opinion.


In each of the tales presented above, the author examines what exactly makes life worth living. Whether it is one's emotional or moral pains, or the joys thereof, or simply the fact that one has a decent status in society and can enjoy it, are what gives life meaning. Despite their different cultures, times and backgrounds, the authors above all elucidate an aspect of what a good life truly means. Though some stress the physical aspects, others look more at the sociological aspects, yet the question is answered in their characters, who often times have an epiphany that allows them to known…. [read more]

Gulliver's Travels," "Tartuffe," "Madame Bovary Term Paper

… " This is Flaubert's way of showing that the old ways are destructive, and class structure should not exist.

In "Tartuffe," by Moliere, the theme continues using opposing characters that represent good and evil, greed and content. Tartuffe is really a beggar who has stumbled on incredible circumstances. He ends up running a prosperous household belonging to Orgon, and despite growing opposition from his family; Orgon cares for Tartuffe, and will not ask him to leave. Orgon ends up losing his house - his family is thrown into the streets. The story here ends happily when the King recognizes Tartuffe as a notorious criminal, and restores Orgon and his family to what is theirs. The theme shows Tartuffe's greed, and even his use of the…. [read more]

Comparative Study Between the Death of Ivan Ilyich and Heart of Darkness Term Paper

… ¶ … geographically and culturally worlds apart, Leo Tolstoy's the Death of Ivan Ilych and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness both offer address existential issues. The protagonists in each novel come face-to-face with their own mortality, pondering the meaning of their lives and of life in general. Both novels also expose the repercussions of a capitalist worldview. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad focuses on colonialism and capitalism whereas Tolstoy reveals the heartless nature of bureaucracy in the Russian legal system. Through their encounters with their own mortality, Ivan Ilych and Marlow both struggle to find purpose in life. Ilych and Marlow also seek moral meaning in the midst of a dehumanizing economic system.

Chapter two of the Death of Ivan Ilych begins, "Ivan Ilych's life…. [read more]

Victims of Social Mores Term Paper

… Victims of Social Mores or Victims of Character? Three Character Studies from 19th Century Fiction

Does society make the man -- or woman -- or does the character of the individual determine his or her fate? On one hand, it is possible to read the protagonists of the stories "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" and "The Lady with the Dog" as well as the title heroine of Ibsen's drama "Hedda Gabler" as pawns of social forces beyond their control, mere victims of the circumstances of the times. Ivan Ilyich spends his life in a miserable, bureaucratic environment and devotes himself to social-climbing and impressing his superiors. He is encouraged, almost from birth, to play the role of a fawning, sycophant to succeed in his career…. [read more]

Analyzing the Psyche of the Novella: Leo Tolstoy and Franz Kafka Research Paper

… Clearly, he began to feel that he had been living his life too much by the rules and demands of others. He found this to be unbearable as he got older, and Ivan's own experiences and unhappiness demonstrate this sentiment.

Kafka also shows his own disillusionment within the character of Gregor. Gregor is unsatisfied with his boring position as a traveling salesman. Although it helps him provide for his family, he does not like the work and feels unappreciated by those he works for. This is ultimately the underlying cause of his transformation, as Kafka is making a statement about how settling for an unhappy life will only destroy you.

Each of these protagonists was unhappy and sick of their lives. As a result, the…. [read more]

Realism in Short Fiction Gustave Flaubert Essay

… Realism in Short Fiction

Gustave Flaubert's short story "A Simple Heart" is a prime example of the literary genre of realism. Throughout the story, the character of Felicite performs the mundane and everyday tasks of a servant. Though her life has important events and truly life-altering moments, they are not unusual, but of the normal life-changing variety. She suffers through a broken heart and several deaths; she loses her health and her hearing, she becomes confused in old age, and eventually, she dies. There is nothing fantastical in the tale; Felicite never does anything out of the ordinary. This is the essence of her character and largely comprises the point of the story -- she lives her life, which is not particularly happy, but as…. [read more]

Characters Struggling Authenticity Essay

… He goes to law school, works in prestigious offices, and gets married because society seems to approve of this (Tolstoy). When Ivan is on his death-bed, however, he realizes how much of his life has been inauthentic, unhappy, and so far from what is ideal and what is good to him.

Inauthenticity is not a state in which we desire to be, it is a state that happens to us out of our pride or our desire for normalcy. It is our duty as humans who reside, interact with, and care for others around us to check ourselves to ensure we have not slipped into a life we do not really want or make others uncomfortable with. I, for one, frequently tend to become inauthentic…. [read more]

Self-Reliance Explain at Least Essay

… In other words, in the rationalist conception of the human mind, all human beings have the cognitive structures to learn a geometric proof. If a teacher leads an ignorant person whom is mentally competent through the rational learning process, such a person can understand the mathematical proof. All individuals thus possess the capacity to learn, the ability to learn in a similar fashion, if all individuals only look within their mind's structures and exercise these abilities to their maximum capacities.

For Emerson, however, although he does not deny the cognitive capacity of human beings to apprehend certain structures with uniformity, he is more interested in the difference of individual human minds than of their similarities. True creative expression, as opposed to the learning of pre-existing…. [read more]

Transformations and Realizations Every Human Being Term Paper

… Transformations and Realizations

Every human being is born with an innate sense of self. We have an imaginary constructed image of how we appear to the world. Sometimes we match that image, and other times it is an image that we wish to live up to, but will never attain in actuality. This inner image of ourselves is what drives us in our daily quests and trials. The story, the Death of Ivan llyitch deals with this self-image and what happens when something happens to destroy it. The Metamorphosis also deals with the theme of transformation and self-worth. The following will support the thesis that both of the main characters experience growth through their transitions and realizations about their true self.

Ivan in Death of…. [read more]

Rousseau and Tolstoy a Comparison Essay

… Here, Rousseau exalts himself at the thought of being judged by God because he believes that he has already admitted all things. However, unlike Augustine, who confesses out of contrition, Rousseau appears to confess out of pride.

Pride is surely also Ivan Ilych's predominant fault. Although Tolstoy tells us initially that Ivan Ilych was "exceedingly reserved, punctilious, and even severe…often amusing and witty, and always good-natured, correct in his manner, and 'bon enfant'," we are not to be put off by these superfluities: indeed, Tolstoy begins to reveal the hidden character of the man in the next paragraph when he speaks of Ivan Ilych's liaisons (Tolstoy, 2001). When Tolstoy says, "Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible," it…. [read more]

Academic Integrity Seminar Term Paper

… Academic Integrity

I do not believe that it is in the best interest of businesses to be dishonest in any way. It therefore also follows that I do not believe any business or leader who pursues a path of honesty and integrity is in any way naive. Indeed, I am quite in agreement with Alan Greenspan's comments as provided in his Harvard Commencement speech. Indeed, as Mr. Greenspan implies, those business leaders who pursue honesty are more likely to prosper in the long-term than those who do not.

One needs only to consider business giants like Enron and even super-rich individuals like Bernard Madoff for fair warning that dishonest business practices, if found out, will lead to the downfall of even the strongest, tallest giants.…. [read more]

Hedda Gabler Madame Bovary the Death of Ivan Ilyich Term Paper

… 19th Century Literature

Humans are a social being, whose behavior is dictated by their society and its norms. If these values are not followed, a person is seen as strange or abnormal. In extreme cases, individuals are shunned or excluded from activities. In each generation, there are different mores to which people must subscribe. Literature, because it is often about the times, often addresses how the characters are able to live within the society's constraints. The three 19th century works Hedda Gabler, the Death of Ivan Ilych and Madame Bovary portray protagonists whose personalities are not able to cope with the artificial and shallow values of their society and, as a result, must seek the final escape.

Hedda was raised by a military father who…. [read more]

Keats Dickinson, Keats and Eliot Build Term Paper

… Keats

Dickinson, Keats and Eliot Build a Bridge

There is a tendency in certain academic disciplines to encamp either on the side of tradition or modernity. In the sciences, the constant thrust toward evolution suggests a certain predilection for modernization. In history, the preservation of tradition is of the utmost importance if we are to appreciate its impact on the present. However, perhaps poetry is a discipline well suited to the argument that such clear lines of distinction need not necessarily be drawn. This may be the best context through which to examine the claim by writer Octavio Paz that "between tradition and modernity there is a bridge."

This is an idea which is well exemplified in well-loved poetic works by Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot…. [read more]

Family Tree Term Paper

… Most of the people in my father's family dropped out by the 8th grade. When my father became the first member of his family to graduate high school it was a very proud day for the Nees's.

My mother's family came over to America through Ellis Island as well, but they came from Holland. They were also different than my dad's family because they got to New York city and continued to migrate until they landed in the Chicago area. My mother's grandparents moved even further west when they grew up and married each other. After my mother and her four siblings were born her family moved to California, which is where she finished her childhood. Her family worked hard but they were extremely poor.…. [read more]

Alienation in Kafka Franz Essay

… According to Freud, people live in two selves simultaneously: conscious and unconscious. By the conscious Freud means thoughts and actions the manifest content of one's life. He calls the unconscious the latent level. Freud says that there is a continuous effort to keep the desires unconscious or latent. Accordingly, there is a separation between a person and his unconscious mind, which is called alienation. Alienation generally suggests depersonalization, self estrangement, cultural estrangement, the sense of meaninglessness and powerlessness. (Kohzadi et al., 1602 -- 1603)

Gregor feels all of these things. He definitely feels depersonalization. Gregor does not feel valued as a person in his work or in his family. Gregor does not feel like a person, so he might as well not be a person…. [read more]

Authors Who Write Alike Essay

… ¶ … authors who write alike and in discussing post modernism, one factor that was mentioned by writers like Walker especially of the literature of the twentieth-century short story was the narration based on the central character under severe pressure. It was the traditional course that many authors took, and the examples are: "A&P," "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," "The Jilting of Granny Weather-all" and "Araby." All based on Joycean epiphany, and Boyle's Greasy Lake and John Updike's "A&P," belong to this genre. John Updike shows Sammy's rebellion against the store management and its oppression, there is the realization that while the revolt will not gain anything for him or the three girls, or for any one, there is the assertion that the action is…. [read more]

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