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…there was light-heartedness, friendship, and hope…they were the memories of a love for a woman. Then all became confused and there was still less of what was good; later on again there was still less that was good, and the further he went the less there was. His marriage, a mere accident, then the disenchantment that followed it... (Tolstoy, 1886, 29-30).
He realizes that all the while he thought he was going up, he was really going downhill and now there is nothing left for him but death (Tolstoy, 1886, 30).
After three days of complete agony, Ivan finally learns to accept his sins and even though it is too late to fully rectify them, the mere acknowledgement that the life his past life was the wrong one was enough to free him. And in this recognition, he is then able to let go of his anger, doubts and fears,…
Harder, W. (1990). Granny & Ivan: Katherine Anne Porter's Mirror for Tolstoy. Renascence, 42(3), 149-156.
Hustis, H. (2000). 'Three Rooms Off': Death and the Reader in Tolstoy's the Death of Ivan Ilych. LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory, 11(3), 261.
Kamm, F. (2003). Rescuing Ivan Ilych: How We Live and How We Die. Ethics, 113(2), 202.
Tolstoy, Leo. (1886). E-book of the Death of Ivan Ilyich. Accessed online (October 9, 2009). http://manybooks.net/titles/tolstoylother08death_of_ivan_ilych.html
Death of Ivan Ilych:" the spiritual vs. The material
In "The Death of Ivan Ilych," the Russian author Leo Tolstoy presents a man of the professional class who is so obsessed with 'getting ahead' he refuses to accept his own death until confronted with the inevitable. The title is ironic: Ivan defined himself throughout his life by everything but his mortality, but in the end that is all with which he is left. Tolstoy portrays "Ivan to be so little developed beyond his own narcissism that he does not recognize the most certain fact of his life: his own death. Not only Ivan but his whole professional group (which stands for a central part of modern life), have built their lives around their career success and the pleasures it makes possible. Little moral development is seen beyond the organizational conformity needed to pursue their self-interests" (Feldman 2004). Ivan simply lives…
Feldman, Steven P. "The Professional Conscience: A Psychoanalytic Study of Moral Character
in Tolstoy's 'The Death of Ivan Ilych.'" Journal of Business Ethics 49.4 (2004): 311-28.
Flood, Alison. "Sofia Tolstoy's diaries paint bleak portrait of marriage to Leo." The Guardian.
2 Jun 2009. [3 Dec 2012]
Death of Ivan Ilych
Before we interpret some of the main religious ideas behind Tolstoy's story, we will first examine some of the main characters who surround Ivan Ilych, during his life and during his long tortuous death struggles.
The reader first meets Peter Ivanovich in the very opening of the story. We soon learn that he works with Ivan Ilych in the "Law Courts" and that as youths they had studied law together. Tolstoy immediately puts a dark cloud over this assumed intimacy and affection, by clearly stating that the death of Peter Ivanovich's close friend does not engender pity or sadness, but rather, speculation on the "changes and promotions it might occasion among themselves." It is at the side of the character Peter Ivanovich that we, the readers, first enter the death room of Ivan Ilych, and first see his home, his family, and his laid out body…
Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy. Specifically it will contain an analysis of alienation and the city in the short novella. Most people think Tolstoy is analyzing life and death in this story, but there are references to other aspects of society, as well. Tolstoy's use of symbolism in the story indicates how alienated Ivan really is from the world, and how alienated bourgeois society is from each other.
From the very opening of this short story, Tolstoy uses imagery to convey the idea of alienation and isolation. He uses the image of a stark coffin-lid, standing alone in an entryway, to give the reader a feeling of how isolated and alone Ivan was throughout his life. He writes, "Leaning against the wall in the hall downstairs near the cloak-stand was a coffin-lid covered with cloth of gold, ornamented with gold cord and tassels, that had been polished up…
Tolstoy, Leo. "The Death of Ivan Ilych." In The Oxford Library of Short Novels, ed. John Wain. Vol. 2. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990.
Both characters found ways to avoid living through isolation. They alienated themselves from practically everyone and this resulted in severe pain. The message here is to think about the things that consume us and then consider how important those things will be at the end of our lives or when our lives become difficult.
The Death of Ivan Ilych" and "ard No. 6" are compelling stories that force us to think of life and death through the most painful experience of others. The search for the meaning of life becomes significant with these men who have lived rather aloof lives until they are stricken with a confounding truth. Ivan must face the truth that his life was not lived the best way that it could have been. Andrey must come to terms that he has been living has been terribly misguided. Both men realize that to some extent, their lives…
Chekhov, Anton. Ward No. 6." Read Print Online Library. Information Retrieved February 27, 2009. http://www.readprint.com/work-356/Anton-Chekhov
Tolstoy, Leo. "The Death of Ivan Ilych." The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction R.V. Cassill, ed. New York W.W. Norton and Company. 1981.
Gulliver's Travels," "Tartuffe," "Madame Bovary," "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," & "Things Fall Apart"
The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and compare how the theme(s) of "Things Fall Apart" by Achebe relate to the theme and/or storylines of "Gulliver's Travels," by Swift, "Tartuffe," by Moliere, "Madame Bovary," by Flaubert, and "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Tolstoy. All these authors use their works to "expose and alter the fundamental moral codes that determine political systems and social mores" (Levine 136).
POLITICAL SYSTEMS AND SOCIAL MORES
Things Fall Apart," by Chinua Achebe is a novel about an African family named Okonkwo, who try to fit in to the white man's society. However, their own society was balanced, happy, and complete, and they did not really need to fit in with the white man. hen they did, it ultimately destroyed their society, and way of life.
Gulliver's Travels," by…
Flaubert, Gustave. Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town. Trans. Gerard Hopkins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Grossman, Debra. "SparkNotes on Gulliver's Travels." SparksNotes.com. 2002. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gulliver
Levine, Alan. "Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart as a Case Study in Nietzsche's Transvaluation of Values." Perspectives on Political Science 28.3 (1999): 136-141.
Moliere, Jean Baptiste Poquelin. "Tartuffe." Project Gutenberg. 2002. http://digital.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=2027
Tolstoy and Chekhov
Death is the only true inevitability in a person's life. Once born, the only thing that is guaranteed is that one day that life will be extinguished. People live their whole lives with a death sentence hanging over their heads. For some people, death is terrifying and they rail against it and do whatever they can to avoid it. Others see death as a kind release, excusing them from the world of men, where they toil. Each person reacts differently to their own impending death and to the deaths of their loved ones. There is no single right or wrong way to react to someone's death or to react around someone who is in the process of dying. In both Anton Chekhov's "Rothschild's Fiddle" and Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych," the authors explore the ways that a man may deal with the death of those…
Chekhov, Anton. "Rothschild's Fiddle." The Chorus Girls and Other Stories. 1920. Print.
Tolstoy, Leo. "The Death of Ivan Ilych." 1886. Print.
Hedda and Ivan: The Struggle of the Willful Self
Hedda Gabler and Ivan Ilyich are both willful individuals. However, Ivan on his deathbed converts from a life of selfishness to a vision of selflessness and thus, it is presumed, saves his soul. Hedda, on the other hand, pursues a selfish existence to the very last and when she realizes that she no longer has absolute control over her life, she shoots herself. The two are very different characters in this way: Ivan submits to the realization that he is not in control, that he is in fact a burden to others, and that there is a beauty in the act of compassion to which he wants to attach himself at the end of his miserable life. Hedda does not interact with this beauty nor does she submit to the realization of loss of control. She instead "opts out" of her…
healing, growing, dying in chapter "A broader view healing" Margaret Coberly argues dying a healing process -discovery. We find a similar claim coming Mwalimu lmara essay "Dying Last Stage Growth" asserts: "dying stage life experienced profound growth event total life's experience.
According to Mwalimu Imara's essay "Dying as the Last Stage of Growth," rather than rejecting death as abnormal (for death comes to us all) or fearing death, death should be viewed as simply another stage of life. Imara recounts the experience of a woman who said that she lived more fully in the last months of her life than she did throughout her entire existence, because only then was she able to appreciate the goodness in people and open herself up enough to be emotionally vulnerable (Imara 1975: 154). The same could be said of Leo Tolstoy's character Ivan Ilyich.
Throughout most of his life, Ilyich is an ambitious,…
Q3. In Ira Byock's book Dying Well, Byock chronicles the painful process of watching his father die. At first, it was inconceivable to him that his father could pass away, and he met the first stages with a denial of the severity of his father's condition. "It was incomprehensible how all this could be lost" (Byock 1998: 5). This parallels the story of "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Leo Tolstoy, in which the title character first sees many doctors who give him conflicting diagnoses about his terminal condition and his family tries to ignore the fact that his condition is worsening, despite the treatment he is receiving. However, unlike Ivan Ilyich, Byock stresses that his father Seymour's life was a life 'well lived,' and his father ended his life surrounded by caring family members. Being with the dying person and tending to their needs, believes Byock, can be a powerful way to ensure that the dying process has a component of 'healing.'
However, Ivan Ilyich does experience flashes of insight. For example, he asks the peasant Gerasim to hold his legs to relieve his pain at times. Although this probably has no physical effect, instinctively Ilyich finds that Gerasim's compassion and matter-of-fact attitude towards illness and death is healing for him. He forms his first simple, human connection with someone else. Even though he is at first angry at his wife and children for their materialism, he dies forgiving them.
Ilyich is literally 'killed' by the house he has so carefully decorated -- he dies as a result of the accident he sustained while hanging curtains. However, after feeling anger about the way he is dying and the fact that someone who has tried to 'make it' in the world for so long must die, in death he finally comes to understand the meaningless nature of all of the things he has been striving for and can appreciate simple goodness and kindness. Although Ilyich may not have 'lived well' in the terms defined by Byock, at the very end he can be said to have 'died well' in the sense that he learned from the experience.
The Brothers Karamazov and the Death of Ivan Ilyich
Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich examine the role that suffering plays in the transformation of a soul for better or for worse. Being a much longer work, Dostoevsky’s novel examines suffering from a number of different perspectives, giving a number of different outcomes—each depending on the will of the individual character, the psychological situation of that character, the character’s faith, and so on. Tolstoy takes a narrower focus by looking at how the suffering of one character changes the person’s mental state—and how the suffering of his caretaker gives him a window of grace to truly transform his soul and get it ready for judgment on the other side of the grave. This paper will compare these two works and show how suffering and the transformation of a person are linked by the extent to which the…
He alone knew that with the consciousness of the injustices done him, with his wife's incessant nagging, and with the debts he had contracted by living beyond his means, his position was far from normal." (Tolstoy, Chapter III). Not everyone thinks Ivan Ilyich's salary is meager, and he chooses to live beyond his means, thus although he is ordinary, his world is not absent of examples of how it is possible to live differently. Likewise, the married lovers of "The Lady with the Dog" could theoretically leave their spouses, although divorce is difficult in 19th century Russia. hat impedes them seems to be the fact that openly leaving their spouses and children will make them societal pariahs, and result in a loss of financial and social status. At the end of the tale, their resolve to begin their life anew rings hollow, and they may very well remain willing to…
Chekhov, Anton. "The Lady with the Dog." Online Literature E-text. [23 Jul 2007]
Ibsen, Henrik. "Hedda Gabler." Project Gutenberg E-text. [23 Jul 2007]
Characters Struggling Authenticity
The state of being authentic in our lives, in our personalities, and in our actions can be a difficult, but important concept to come to terms with. As we grow, events and people in life can shape who we are, and we can choose to be true to ourselves or succumb to pressures and assume an inauthentic identity. In the stories "Signs and Symbols," "The Lady with the Dog," and "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" (written by Vladimir Nabokov, Anton Chekhov, and Leo Tolstoy, respectively), we can examine characters influenced into inauthenticity, and the realization of their example can help us reflect upon the authenticity of our own lives.
Each of the characters in these stories is influenced by a different motivator. Through their judgment of their circumstances, they choose to react in the way they see fit. In "Signs and Symbols," for example, a…
Chekhov, Anton. "The Lady with the Dog." 26 March 2011. .
Nabokov, Vladimir. "Signs and Symbols." 26 March 2011. .
Tolstoy, Leo. "The Death of Ivan Ilyich." The Classical Library. 2001. 26 March 2011.
In the Metamorphosis, it is the image of the main character's family and those around him that is transformed. However, in the Death of Ivan Llyitch it is the main characters image of himself that is transformed. Gregor is the same person on the inside in his cockroach form that he was when he was a salesman. However, his family fails to see him the same. Gregor was happy, but becomes depressed as his family isolates themselves from him more and more. In the Death of Ivan Llyitch the main character moved from depression to joy. The characters in these novels occupy different ends of the emotional spectrum. Their emotional spectrum moves in the opposite direction.
The emotional transformation of the two main characters is opposite as well. Ivan's is an inner transformation. His physical world changes little, it is his emotional world and inner sense of self that changes.…
Kafka, Franz the Metamorphosis and Other Stories, trans. Donna Freed. New York:
Barnes & Noble. 1996.
Tolstoy, L. The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Master and Man. Slater, Ann (trans.). New York,
Modern Library. 2004.
Recurring Western Preoccupation
One of the most frequently recurring themes in Westernized culture is that of death. This motif is certainly evinced in a number of forms of literature -- particularly those esteemed to possess literary value -- including Leo Tolstoy's "Death of Ivan Ilyich" and in Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler." Death dominates the plot of both of these works of literature. There are multiple deaths in Ibsen's work, whereas the protagonist in Tolstoy's realizes early on that he is fated to die and the proverbial shadow of death looms over the ensuing pages. An analysis of the thematic device of death and its importance in both of these works reveals that it largely functions as a petty escape in Ibsen's text, and is a means to a more profound level of transcendence in that of Tolstoy.
There is a point of despair that accompanies both of the deaths portrayed…
While we are shown the fact that Sammy, ogles the girls and makes a queen of the leader. On one hand while he feels no pang in doing so he is disgusted by the butcher's lustful gaze. (Saldivar, 214)
There is rebellion when the manager who is a puritan rebukes the girls. The only outrage that the manager, Lengel, seem to have done is to make the queen blush. Thus Sammy quits his job against an authority that demeans people. The girls seem neither to have noticed the managers' consternation or admonition nor have they noticed Sammy standing up for them. Sammy gains nothing but loses his job in the bargain. (Saldivar, 215)
There was parody of other works for which Updike is noted. Here in this story too, apart from Araby we find the parody of the classic Vanity Fair. Parody of the Vanity Fair can be seen in…
Saldivar, Toni. The Art of John Updike's "A&P." Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 34, no.
2, 1997, pp: 212-216.
Walker, Michael. Boyle's "Greasy Lake" and the Moral Failure of Postmodernism.
Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 31, no. 2, 2002, pp: 245-251.
Ivan Ilych and Marlow share much in common in terms of their dutiful service to an external bureaucracy, feeling stymied by that bureaucracy, and desiring deeper more meaningful spiritual experiences. At the same time, though, Ilych remains far more traditional than Marlow, whose open-mindedness earns him Kurtz's trust. Ilych is open-minded in terms of his willingness to see through superficiality and social facades, but he rarely sees beyond the mundane until the illness sets in. In fact, Ilych remains completely caught up in the rat race that defines ussian government work to the extent that promotions and salary raises make him "completely happy." Marlow, on the other hand, stares death in the face each day. He also encounters the faces of African people who shock him out of his mundane existence: "I could see every rib, the joints of their limbs were like knots in a rope; each had…
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Retrieved May 14, 2008 at http://historyofideas.org/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=ConDark.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=1&division=div1
Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilych. Retrieved May 14, 2008 at http://www.geocities.com/short_stories_page/tolstoydeath.html
However, in line with the Paz prompt at the outset of this discussion, Keats merely uses this tradition as a bridge on which to extend toward motivation on behalf of the evolving form. The subject matter is where this work takes a step toward modernity. The manner in which Keats describes the reality of dying is startling for its time primarily because it lacks religiosity. In describing death, the poet tells, "where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; / here but to think is to be full of sorrow / and leaden-eyed despairs; / here beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, / or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow."
The notion of discussing death from a decidedly humanistic rather than spiritual perspective is more daring and innovative than perhaps we are won't to give credit for. It is remarkable that the poet would invert a steadfastly traditional form…
Dickinson, E. (1862). #303 (the Soul Selects Her Own Society). Poets.org.
Eliot, T.S. (1917). The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. University of Virginia. Online at http://people.virginia.edu/~sfr/enam312/prufrock.html
Keats, J. (1819). Ode to a Nightingale. Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250 -- 1900.
family tree of the writer. The writer details his family's routes through immigration to America from Germany and the trail of building a new life based on that immigration.
To look at my family today, one might assume that my relatives traveled over on the Mayflower and broke bread at the first Thanksgiving feats, but that is not the case. The true story of my family lies in the success that we have had in acclimating to the wonders of America in only three generations.
My family was among the hundreds of thousands of families that flocked to the states years ago to seek their fortune and begin a new life in the land of opportunity. My father's family hailed from Germany, while my mother's family was of Dutch decent in Holland. When the VonNess family came through Ellis Island from Germany they were prepared to whatever it took to…