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

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My Thesis: Ivan Ilyich is a prime example of how society’s expectations and norms shape people into… [Dear fellow bloggers, I need your assistance. Originally my final word(s) were “preset molds” to finish off my thesis statement. However, I was advised to devise a better word(s)/ phrase to describe what it is that I am trying to communicate. I want the reader to get the idea that society wants us to follow in the paths that have already been beaten (a concept much better described with long, wordy sentences). I am at a loss, or more so, an inability to put that into one word. Any suggestions?]

Here is My Idea: Talk about his decisions when it comes to his path in life, his decisions with love, and his ultimate resolve. Then, compare his decisions to common-day examples of decisions that parallel his behaviors and thought processes (for example, going to college, instead of running off into the wild to live with wolves and trying to find ourselves in the beauty of nature). Then sum up how society changes our thought patterns to fit something the majority approves of. [Do you guys think that this is an appropriate way to end my paper? Just my concluding thought… or is there some ultimate resolve I should try to reach? Some final suggestion for the better of all mankind?]

My Intro: There is a certain pattern to the dynamics which occur between people, a method which unifies and gives reason to the madness of human existence. It organizes, identifies, and separates individuals into titles, titles that although mean different things, ultimately confine their members to that one absolute thing. This overwhelming power, the cloud of the social universe, is the sometimes unwritten, but openly known, opinion of the majority. Through this opinion, which roams through cities and other concrete habitats like a thick fog, people are trained to obey and conform to preset molds created by accepted ideals. In “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”, the protagonist, Ivan Ilyich, adapts and imitates the behaviors and decision-making that society has set forth before him. Through his metamorphosis into a socially acceptable slave, Ivan makes decisions with a mental set that often disregards his most natural desires and replaces their weight with what society has shown him to be the path to happiness and success. Ivan Ilyich is a prime example of how society’s expectations and norms shape people into preset molds.
***Oh, I almost forgot… Am I supposed to include Tolstoy’s history in this? Any ideas?


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