The novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, shows the influence of Realism on its author. Leo Tolstoy. The illusion of reality, the main theme of the novella, is an aspect of Realism that Tolstoy effectively used in this novella. Other attitudes of Realism that were used by Tolstoy were the plainness of the characters, a plot that consisted of incidents of everyday life, along with everyday language, and the ability to make the reader feel as if he were looking in on events happening in real life. These are all aspects of Realism that show through in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich.
Tolstoy's intent when writing this novella was to portray the illusion of reality. Many of the minor characters, especially the physicians, depicted the theme. As Ivan Ilyich was becoming sick, many of the doctors came to check on him. Ivan had a problem with these doctors because they dodged the fact that Ivan was going to die.
Ivan saw right through these "celebrated physicians," knowing that they were clouding their diagnosis. Ivan's friends, too, became Tolstoy's target for illusion of reality. When they went to Ivan's funeral, they thought that they "should" or "have to" go and comfort the widow. Their real reasoning behind everything was to see who would take Ivan's position at work. Another example of illusion of reality is when Ivan is lying down in excruciating pain and his wife, daughter, and son-in-law enter. Ivan sits and watches as they ignore the pain he is enduring to argue about something as petty as opera glasses. This seemed true to life because people cannot address a situation as big as death, so they talk around it. Ivan is dumbfounded by their apathy in the presence of his impending death. They then said,