Short Summary of "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Leo Tolstoy Essays

764 Words Nov 30th, 2012 4 Pages
Amanda Kopinski
Philosophy of the Human Person
Summary of The Death of Ivan Ilyich The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy begins at the chronological end of Ivan Ilyich’s life. Members of a court proceeding were on break of the Melvinsky proceedings, and Pyotr Ivanovich proclaimed: “Ivan Ilyich is dead” (35). All the men in the courtroom at the time were supposedly “close acquaintances” of Ivan, but none remarked at the sadness of his death, but rather the chance of promotion all of the men would chance now that Ivan’s spot was opened. Ivanovich, however, was Ivan’s “closest acquaintance,” as Ivan did not actually have real friends although he was well liked amongst his colleagues. Ivanovich goes to Ilyich’s house, and
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Ilyich begins to feel he has moved up wealthier, and decides he needs to portray affluence. He begins small renovations on his home, along with moving around furniture. One day as hanging drapery, he injures his head. He unexpectedly is happy with this situation and proclaims: “It’s a good thing I’m so agile. Another man would have killed himself, but I got off with a little bump here” (67). This is not necessarily the case, however, as Ivan eventually ends up feeling discomfort in his side, and an uncomfortable taste in his mouth. He goes to many doctors, who all diagnose him differently, but settles on appendicitis. The medication does not end up working, however, and over time Ilyich grows more and more uncomfortable and, after seeing a portrait of himself compared to his ghastly reflection in the present, soon realizes he is just slowly dying. Ivan suffers, and his strength slowly deteriorates. He loses the ability to walk, then the ability to leave bed, and soon is left bedridden. Ilyich’s buttler, Gerasim, seems to be the only person who cares about Ivan’s predicament. While Ivan’s wife, children and friends seem unphazed by his slow death, Gerasim comforts Ilyivh and holds his feet. Over the next week or so, Ivan is left to think in bed with nothing else to do. He relives his life in memories, and looks back on time. He realizes “the farther back in time he went, the more