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

Term Paper Continued…

Here is my updated paper. I still have a lot of editing to do and some ideas to change, but what do you guys think?

Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does a Man Need” is the perfect story which shows how greed easily overcomes people. By reading the story, the reader learns that one can only push themselves so far for something. Everything in life needs to be done with good taste, meaning one has to know their limits. Pahom, the protagonist is a prime example of how greed leads to no good. This man spent a great amount of time earning and saving money to buy land. However, Pahom tries to take a shortcut, as a result of being so greedy; he is not able to enjoy all the land he has worked so hard to acquire. Ironically, Pahom was only given six feet of land, in which he was buried.

This story references ‘The Emancipation of the Serfs’ during the mid 1800s in Russia. During this time, serfs were treated inhumanely on a daily basis. In 1861, legislation passed which stated that the serfs were emancipated, but they were not to receive land, which is what they had been seeking all along. However, if a serf wanted to obtain land they would have to pay to get a small plot of land. Ultimately, freeing the serfs did not prove as effective as all the serfs thought it would be because they were so poor that they could not afford to buy the land. The serfs deserve to have more respect and should not be treated as if they were not human beings. They most likely have worked harder than the people who belong to the bourgeoisie. Typically, the life of the upper class is much easier because they are born into it. However, these people need to learn that everything does not need to be handed to them in a silver platter.

After having read Tolstoy’s story “How Much Land Does a Man Need,” it is evident that he was influenced by The Emancipation of the Serfs and this was referenced in his work. Like Pahom, the serfs wanted land and they would do anything they could to obtain property; however they would not realize that this could in fact lead one to death.  At the time, society thought that serfs should be treated inhumanely and not been granted what they sought after. Man again shows greed and does not think that the lower class of society should have the right to own anything valuable. Ultimately, this results in even more land for the bourgeoisie as a result of the serfs not being able to afford to purchase land.



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