The Death Of Ivan Ilyich

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Leo Tolstoy was known to be in some regard obsessed with the concepts of death and dying. Although The Death of Ivan Ilyich may be a relatively short tale, it graphically explores the themes of the dying process while still taking a glimpse into the life of the title character Ivan Ilyich. This novella puts its reader in the shoes of a man whom has never taken a second to imagine his demise as he lies in his death bed contemplating how well a life he has lived. Ivan Ilyich lived as many people today would traditionally, which was the pursuit of socio-political elevation at the expense of “living a good life” as Tolstoy would often reference is not the case for people whom live in peasantry like the character Gerasim. Tolstoy in writing this novella does not only focus on the dying process of Ivan, but also explores how Ivan lived his life as well as concepts such as his motives, desires and ambitions and each of these concepts reemerge in some degree as he undergoes his final self-reflection during the dying process. The novella oddly starts out shortly after Ivan’s death but it later takes us back years before then, to when he was in the prime of his life and talks of his origins as a middle child whom lived life in mediocrity. Overtime he decides to study law and eventually becomes a judge, all the while focusing on his work and expelling deep personal connections with anyone. He even decides to marry a woman, not necessarily because he may care for her but because

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