One of the many pleasant life lessons this story has to offer includes the conclusion that HOPE = HAPPINESS. Ivan remains miserable once he has lost all hope. At any moment that hope reappears, he is suddenly satisfied enough to push on and his pain magically shrinks and/or disappears.
Also, religion can help generate that hope…
“When the priest came… there came a moment of hope… He took the sacrament with tears in his eyes.” (pg. 128)
But before we get excited, thinking to our little selves that hope is the answer to eternal satisfaction, I would like to throw in there that Tolstoy obviously wanted to erase all hope from us, as the unsuspecting and naive readers. Because if hope is all we have, and is what keeps us satisfied enough to continue living, then in the eyes of the ‘Optimistic’ Tolstoy, we are leading lives of falsity and lies; lives which will one day catch up to us and make us miserable on our death beds once we realize that no, nobody cares and the world continues on.
Well, happy last blog of the quarter! Might as well end it on a good note:)