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The Death of Ivan Ilych | Study Guide

Leo Tolstoy

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Ivan Ilych, Chapter 9 aybe I did not live as I ought to have done ... But how can that be when I did everything properly? Sources: The International Fiction Review, National Endowment for the Arts, The New Yorker Copyright © 2018 Course Hero, Inc. Doctors Represent human failings and the desire to avoid death Phoenix Stands for spiritual rebirth after death Black Sack Symbolizes death, which Ivan struggles against Symbols Ivan Ilych Golovin Ordinary 19th-century bourgeois Russian man; undergoes a profound internal transformation after discovering he’s dying Praskovya Fedorovna Golovina Ivan’s narcissistic and uncompassionate wife; mother to his two children; concerned only with status and appearances Gerasim Strong, kind servant to Ivan’s family; embraces all aspects of life; takes care of and comforts Ivan while he is dying Main Characters Tolstoy was a Russian nobleman who gained great acclaim as a novelist, writing novels such as War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Later in life he underwent a powerful religious conversion to Christianity. The Death of Ivan Ilych was his first significant work after this conversion. LEO TOLSTOY1828–1910 Author By accepting his imminent death, Ivan redeems what is left of his life. Acceptance & Redemption People focus on the showy parts of life but lose touch with what matters. Artificiality & Authenticity Death and fear are inevitable, and everyone must learn how to deal with them. Mortality Ivan Ilych learns he is dying, and there is nothing that can save him. As he comes to accept death, he finds meaning in his life. At the same time, he recognizes that much of his life is less important than it seemed. His death is not noble or heroic; he is just an ordinary man. Finding Meaning in an Ordinary Man’s Death THEMES Russian Original Language 1886 Year Published Leo Tolstoy Author The Death of Ivan Ilych Drama Novella

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