After a career setback, Iván Ilych fights for a post with high salary, and ends up with a job in Petersburg. Buy Study Guide. He becomes more irritable, and begins seeing doctors, who diagnose his illness as an appendix problem. Doctors periodically visit Ivan and examine him, but he hates them because he knows they won’t admit that there’s nothing they can do to save him. He ends up moving into a separate room, where his mobility decreases. Only Gerasim, one of Ivan’s servants, provides any relief. But on the third day, he has a revelation.
Shortly thereafter, his pain recedes. Now, though, he sees that he’s been wrong to think this way, and this realization causes him to question the very point of life. The Death of Ivan Ilych Summary. The Question and Answer section for The Death of Ivan Ilych is a great Instead, he focuses on his career and social status, dressing himself in fine clothes and accepting a job as an assistant to the governor. With the preface-aftermath finished, Tolstoy returns to the beginning, moving back in time nearly three decades. Beginning in the title character's youth: Iván Ilych is the middle son of a bureaucrat.
His death at age 45 follows a nondescript career as a member of the court of justice. After achieving the position of examining magistrate, Ivan begins to consider marriage, mainly on the advice of highly placed law associates. GradeSaver, 25 November 2003 Web. When Piotr suggests that Praskovya’s effort probably would not be successful, Praskovya quickly ends the conversation, and Piotr leaves to attend his bridge game. He accepts that compassion is the key to correct living, and tries to ask his wife for forgiveness. It is in this state of mind that he takes a turn for the worse, becoming bedbound in a small room where he receives doctors, his wife, and servants like Gerasim, a young peasant who selflessly helps him. Not affiliated with Harvard College. Not only does this make him feel sorry for Ivan, but it also reminds him that he, too, will die someday. Though he’s never put much thought into the prospect of marriage, he decides that she’s a “decent catch” and that he might as well wed her. LitCharts Teacher Editions. As his son touches his hand, Iván Ilych finally recognizes that the way he has lived his life has been hypocritical and empty. While in school, though, he begins to do certain things that repulse him: spending money frivolously, drinking, and having casual sex. • Ivan Ilyich (Ilyich is a patronymic, his surname is Golovin) is a highly regarded official of the Court of Justice, described by Tolstoy as, "neither as cold and formal as his elder brother nor as wild as the younger, but was a happy mean between them—an intelligent, polished, lively, and agreeable man." Though he seems to be in agony, internally Iván Ilych is at peace as he dies. This, however, leads him to wonder if he’s lived his life incorrectly, but he dismisses this idea by reminding himself that he has always done everything “properly.” Nonetheless, he is unable to stop questioning his lifestyle and choices, taking up a dialogue with a voice deep within him. And yet, this thought remains abstract, and he manages to push it out of his mind by focusing on the idea of playing cards after the funeral. They also think of how they will be forced to go through all the tedious business of paying respects and visiting the family. When he first enters the ceremony and sees all the sad faces and grieving family members, he becomes depressed, but soon spots a colleague named Schwartz, who winks at him and smiles in a way that conveys a lack of true sentiment, as if Schwartz is unwilling to let the morose proceedings interfere with his plans to organize a game of whist that evening.
As the story progresses, he becomes more and more introspective and emotional as he ponders the reason for his agonizing illness and death. “Death is gone,” Ivan tells himself, and then so is he.
Before then, Ilyich has lived his life thinking only of himself and his next round of pleasure. When Ivan finally receives a good promotion and substantial salary increase, he seems happy.
Instant downloads of all 1364 LitChart PDFs Thinking this way, he realizes that he’s never allowed himself to believe in his own mortality. They settle into an aloof marriage. No matter what they say or what he does, though, his symptoms intensify. Iván Ilych had been terminally ill for some time.
In the days leading up to his death, Ivan agrees to take communion, which makes him feel somewhat better. The men immediately think, each to himself, of how Iván Ilych's death may result in promotion for them all. Despite this dedication, though, his work life begins to deteriorate when he’s overlooked for a promotion several years in a row. He sometimes calls on Gerasim to lift his legs and place them on Gerasim’s shoulders until his pain eases. Because his marriage is less than satisfactory, Ivan focuses on his career, driven by the power that he holds over individuals and by his salary, which does not increase as quickly as Ivan desires. Later that day Peter Ivánovich goes to Iván Ilych's house. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our. Finally, at the end of the appointment, Ivan asks once more if he’s going to die, but the doctor simply stares at him and says that he has already stated his opinion. At the same time, though, Pyotr Ivanovich is unsettled when he goes to Ivan’s funeral and hears about his friend’s suffering. He then decides that he has indeed lived improperly, but he doesn’t know what he should have done or why he must suffer. Ivan moves to Petersburg in advance of his family, wanting to set up their apartment while he begins his new job. Initially, Ivan and Praskovya seem happy with each other, but she becomes jealous and demanding during her first pregnancy. As she speaks, Pyotr notices that she only talks about her husband’s suffering in terms of how it affected her, and then she asks him to help her receive the most money possible from the government in the aftermath of his death. In the past, when unpleasant events occurred, such as the death of a few of his children and his wifes growing irritability, he turned away from these domestic concerns and spent time working at the office. He attends the School of Law. It is important to realise what Gerasim represents and how his character contrasts dramatically with Ivan's wife and family and their response to his death. He retreats into his inner world at the end. His work takes him to the provinces as an official serving the governor. The pain goes away before long. These actions make him feel as if he’s embarking on an unsavory life. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. Pyotr Ivanovich, who was friends with Ivan Ilyich for many years, realizes that he might be able to help his brother-in-law transfer because of this new vacancy, and Fyodor Vasilyevich fantasizes about getting a promotion. Ivan suffers a painful bruise on his side.
All he knew was that at such times it is always safe to cross oneself. He feels not hatred for others, but pity. She fails to provide Ivan with any care or show any concern for him as his condition worsens. On his way out, Peter Ivánovich sees Iván Ilych's daughter and her fiancé, as well as Iván Ilych's young son.
No matter how hard he tries to convince himself that his work has given his life meaning, he can’t help but think that only his pain is real, and that everything else he has ever focused on has been nothing in comparison to this unavoidable, dreadful experience of agony. He falls through the bottom of his dream's black sack and sees a great light. But he was not quite sure whether one should make... What is the appearance vs reality in the novel, The Death of Ivan Ilych? He then reviews memories of his childhood, feeling as if he can only live in the past. Iván Ilych had been terminally ill for some time. He begins to hate his wife, who virtually ignores his suffering. Soon enough, though, these symptoms affect his mood, causing him to argue with Praskovya about the tiniest matters. Throughout the majority of this tale, Ilyich shows that he is... eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. A second move makes him examining magistrate in his new town, where he makes friends with the local society and takes up cardplaying. Several colleagues attend Ivan’s wake, but reluctantly because it interferes with their weekly bridge game. Over time, though, he recognizes that his superiors also indulge such behaviors, so he stops thinking about whether or not he’s leading a good life. Praskovya then asks Piotr about Ivan’s pension, which she has already calculated, wondering whether she possibly could extract an additional widow’s stipend from the government. What is the moral of "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"? During an interval in a trial, several legal professionals converse in a private room. Whenever Ivan and Praskovya start to fight, he retreats by reviewing documents in the evenings. Gradually, his illness worsens, he loses pleasure in playing cards, and he grows increasingly alienated from those around him. Iván Ilych continues to cherish propriety, decorous living, and pleasantness, through moves and various promotions and the births and deaths of several children. He spares no expense, lavishly decorating the living quarters. In desperation,... Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Death of Ivan Ilyich study guide and get instant access to the following: You'll also get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and 300,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts. "The Death of Ivan Ilych Summary". From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Ivan, the son of a Russian government official, has lived a life of relative privilege in nineteenth century Russia.
© 2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Leo Tolstoy’s tale of Ivan Ilyich begins with his death at age forty-five, which is reported by his law colleagues, who read about his demise in the newspaper. He is forced to take opium to fight the pain, and his mental anguish becomes more terrible as he fights the realization that he has wasted his life. He attends the services. Iván Ilych becomes increasingly aware of the hypocrisy and lack of compassion in the people around him, including doctors and his own family. Peter Ivánovich, the title character's closest friend, reads in the obituaries that Iván Ilych has died. In the third month of his illness, he no longer can control his bodily functions, and a peasant lad named Gerásim is appointed to take care of him. From then on, Ivan shrinks away from Praskovya’s touch, detesting her presence whenever she enters the room. Peter Ivanovich, like everyone else on such occasions, entered feeling uncertain what he would have to do. As Ivan’s health continues to deteriorate, he falls into despair. The wound seems to heal quickly, but Ivan feels a lingering pain in his side and a foul taste in his mouth. As a young man, he studies law and benefits from his father’s reputation. He becomes frustrated with the medical specialists who attempt to treat his illness. She then asks Peter Ivánovich advice about pensions and governments grants.
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