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

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

The Doctor’s

Ivan is struggling he experiences a great deal of pain and goes to see numerous doctors. Every time Ivan goes to a doctor he is given a different diagnosis and he grows increasingly frusterated with himself. Everyone seems to be taking Ivan’s illness lightly to the point that his friends make fun of it.  What I find most important is that the doctor’s treat Ivan just as he treats the petitioners that come before him in court (in a professional and detached manner). However, Ivan realizes that his illness is serious and he begins to understand that death is more than likely to occur. I think that Ivan realizes how money cannot save his life.

– Alexis


Dysfunctional Relationships

After having read more of the story, I think it is important to take note of the dysfunctional relationship that Ivan and his family share.  As I have mentioned earlier, we already know that Ivan and his wife, Preskovya, do not have the best marriage. One could say that they are each selfish (I think Ivan is more selfish just because he married her because as an aristocrat he should  have a wife) and they don’t really care about each other. For example, after Ivan died, Preskovya was only concerned with the financial aspects of the funeral. Not only do Ivan and his wife have a dysfunctional relationship, but also his family life is marked with unhappiness. As a result of Ivan not being the best father, and not being there when his family needs him, when Ivan becomes sick his family does not sympathize with him very much. Despite the dysfunctional relationship this family has, Ivan’s youngest son is the only one to show any sign of affection to his dad. It is such a shame that the family does not have a better relationship. However, if Ivan had this relationship with all his relatives and friends then I can kind of see why they are so greedy and are just after his money.

– Alexis

Possible Themes

Possible themes to think about while reading that I have found so far…

  • death
  • money
  • greed
  • feeling of isolation or loneliness
  • the whole class division (Russian middle class especially–> because of all the details and descriptions Tolstoy focuses on with them)
  • materialism

– Alexis

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