Analysis of Leo Tolstoy and his work, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Part 1

I found it interesting that in the very first paragraph of the novel, Tolstoy already dives into discussing the concept of war. I feel that most authors typically do not reveal the main theme at the very beginning of the story. In addition, I like how Tolstoy’s language is scholarly, but it is still understandable to read. In the beginning of part 1 the reader is introduced to Anna Pavlovna Scherer and she is just one of the people who constaintly keeps alluding to war. She first describes the threats that Napolean faces to bring Russia then she goes on to ask Prince Andrei if he has enlisted. Furthermore, the reader can also see the gender roles that both men and women have in the novel. For example,  Prince Andrei warns him against marrying as he feels as though he has lost his freedom. He then goes on to criticize women. Being that it is 1805, this is obviously common place for men to be critizing women as opposed to todays day and age. After having discussed war, Tolstoy then has Pierre launch into the discussion of peace. Pierre voices approval of the French Revolution. After the soiree, Pierre and Andrew discuss the idea of perpetual peace which was brought to their attention by one of Anna’s guests. Pierre believes in peace, but he thinks that peace should be spiritual rather than political.
In chapter 7, I was confused with the whole scene regarding Pierre taking part in tying a bear to a policeman. Anyone have any thought or ideas on that?

I also found the different culutral differences to be quite interesting. For instance, the Rostov mother and youngest daughter are celebrating their name day (the feast day of the Christian saint after whom the women are named). This just further demonstrates how these women are religious and enjoy spiritual festivities. The reader also learns that  Nicholas is joining the army because of his own desire. As one continues to read we learn that there is tension in the air between Vasili Kuragin,the current heir to the Bezukhov fortune, and Anna Mikhaylovna. Vasili fears that Anna Mikhaylovna will be a rival fortune-seeker. This foreshadows that their relationship will be broken after  the hostility they have for each other. However, the count passes away and Pierre becomes the heir to his fathers fortunes. Therefore, the tension between Vasilli and Anna will ease because to their dismay they are not an heir to the money.

All the information i described takes you roughly through chapter 14 part 1 on the novel.

– Alexis


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One thought on “Part 1

  1. I also noticed that he sort of just dives into talking about war. I mean he did spend some time in the army so this may be something that resonates with him.

    – Nelson

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