The Death of Ivan Ilych

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In life we often think about death and what our life has become. We never suspect that we will become ill and die, and we very rarely agonize over weather our life is what it should be until its too late, as demonstrated in Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych." Throughout Tolstoy's life he was religious and enjoyed life, but then as he reached the height of his fame and fourteen he began to question everything he had once believed in. Some people think that "The Death of Ivan Ilych" holds a lot of symbolism between the story and Tolstoy's life. In "The Death of Ivan Ilych" there is a lot of symbolism of life and death as compared to Tolstoy's life.

Ivan Ilych was a man of success. He set out to achieve his goals, and make his money. He married the women he loved and had two beautiful children, living the good life with money and accomplishment. He didn't have normal worries like most working class people did, he just did what he set out to do and succeeded at that. It is noted that "Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible." (Arp, 512) Until one day he became sick. For months he laid in bed in agonizing pain, and the doctors were left without agreeing knowledge on what he had. Close to the end of his life he began to wonder if his life was really what it should have been and whether or not he achieved all he was supposed to. He questioned death as if to ask "What is this? Can it be death?......Why these sufferings?"

Barnes 3

(Arp, 553) The reader is now left with the question did he die from physical pain or from mental anguish also? It could be said that when he was dealing with his impending death he went through five psychological stages. First he went through denial and ignored the fact that he might be dying. He ignored his pain until it got to bad to cure. Second he went through anger. He became angry at his condition and took it out on his family, friends and servants. Then he went through...
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