Mr. Timothy Kikos
4 March 2014
The Artificial Life of Ivan Ilych
Selfishness takes part in just about every character in the novella, The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy. Ivan lych, the protagonist in the story, is a well respected and successful man that makes his way to the top of the social latter after years of hard work and devotion to his job, landing him a spot as magistrate. Everybody seems to have a genuine acquaintance with Ilych before he dies of an incurable illness of floating kidneys. However, they all show their true colors when this wealthy man passes away. Ilych’s death forces many people to come together and go through the tediousness of paying their respects and visiting the family. This seems like a drag to all of Ivan’s colleagues from work as they stand around at the ceremony. These greedy men immediately think, each to themselves, how “Ivan Ilych's death may result in promotion for them all”. They briefly discuss the death quoting “Well, he’s dead but I’m alive!” and return to discussing business with other matters. Coworker Schwartz is self-centered, much like Ilych and prefers playing Ivan’s favorite card game bridge at the funeral ceremony. Despite that their partner has left this earth, it seems to be the least worry for these so called “friends” of Ilych. Throughout his life Ilych must endure his unsympathetic wife Parskovya, which is the most characterized throughout the novella as a self-absorbed and egotistic person. She is uninterested in her husband’s struggles unless they directly affect her personally. Once Ivan’s artificial wife becomes pregnant and he becomes ill, he begins to hate her guts. Tolstoy seems to describe Praskovya the most detailed in the entire novella “a short, fat woman who despite all efforts to the contrary had continued to broaden steadily from her shoulders downwards and who had the same extraordinarily arched eyebrows as the lady who had been standing by the...
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