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The Death of Ivan Ilych | Study Guide

Leo Tolstoy

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The Death of Ivan Ilych | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Early life

    Ivan Ilych, an average conformist and amiable man, becomes a lawyer.

    Chapter 2
  • 1859

    Ivan works as a provincial government assistant.

    Chapter 2
  • 1864

    A new law code helps Ivan get promoted to examining magistrate.

    Chapter 2
  • 1866

    Ivan meets and marries Praskovya Fedorovna; they have children.

    Chapter 2
  • 1869

    Ivan is promoted to assistant public prosecutor; he comes to loathe his wife.

    Chapter 2
  • 1876

    Ivan is promoted to the post of public prosecutor.

    Chapter 2
  • September 10, 1880

    Ivan becomes a government minister, buys a house, and moves to St. Petersburg.

    Chapter 3
  • Fall 1880

    Ivan injures his side while hanging drapes in his new house.

    Chapter 3
  • 1886

    Ivan begins feeling pain in his side; his marriage is torture for him.

    Chapter 4
  • Early winter 1880

    Ivan consults several doctors; none can diagnose his pain.

    Chapter 4
  • Late winter

    Ivan's pain is constant; he feels that he's dying but still hopes for a cure.

    Chapter 5
  • Early spring

    Gerasim helps the nearly helpless Ivan.

    Chapter 7
  • Spring

    Ivan's condition worsens; his family finds him burdensome.

    Chapter 7
  • Spring

    Ivan's inner voice can't explain his suffering but questions the life Ivan has lived.

    Chapter 9
  • Spring

    Ivan dreams of the black sack.

    Chapter 9
  • Two weeks later

    Ivan realizes he's moving ever more quickly toward death.

    Chapter 10
  • Two weeks later

    Ivan hates his family's falseness and lies; only Gerasim comforts him.

    Chapter 11
  • A while later

    Ivan falls through the black sack into the light.

    Chapter 12
  • In one instant

    Ivan realizes the falseness of the life he's led; his love redeems him as he dies.

    Chapter 12
  • Days later

    Ivan's family and colleagues gather for his funeral at Ivan's house.

    Chapter 1

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 In 1882 at one of the law courts in Russia, a group of prosecutors, lawyers, and magistrates are in a room at the courth... Read More
Chapter 2 This chapter describes Ivan Ilych's early life and covers approximately the first 17 or 18 years of his marriage. His li... Read More
Chapter 3 After 17 years of marriage and many years as a respected public prosecutor, Ivan Ilych is overlooked for a sought-after ... Read More
Chapter 4 As the months pass, Ivan Ilych believes he's in good health, even if sometimes he "had a queer taste in his mouth and fe... Read More
Chapter 5 It's just before New Year's, and Ivan Ilych's brother-in-law has come to visit. Ivan greets him when he gets home from w... Read More
Chapter 6 In his heart, Ivan Ilych knows he's dying but can't truly grasp the reality of death. He had learned the logic that all ... Read More
Chapter 7 Ivan is three months into his illness. He and everyone else realize that the main consideration is "whether he would vac... Read More
Chapter 8 Ivan Ilych is in unremitting pain, and he knows his life is "inexorably waning." As he's offered his morning tea, Ivan I... Read More
Chapter 9 When Praskovya returns from the theater, she wants to send Gerasim away and sit with Ivan Ilych by herself. But Ivan say... Read More
Chapter 10 Two weeks later and Ivan Ilych is so ill and weak he can no longer leave the sofa. His pain increases, and he thinks abo... Read More
Chapter 11 This short chapter emphasizes both the short time span it covers and Ivan Ilych's headlong rush toward death. Two weeks ... Read More
Chapter 12 From the time at the end of the last chapter when Ivan Ilych sent his wife away, he begins incessant screaming that cont... Read More
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