The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a complicated novella with many different themes which could be reviewed. As is plainly evident from the title of the work, death is a major concept as well as how Ivan Ilyich handles his journey through the dying process. Ivan Ilyich's family must also traverse his death although they do not react in the same ways. Ivan Ilyich's illness and death are represented in the book through the five stages of grief that Kubler Ross models, which in some ways we can see by the way his family and doctors react both morally and ethically towards Ivan Ilyich.
Dr. Kubler-Ross developed a model to include the five stages of grief associated with loss or in the case of Ivan Ilyich, with dying. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
They don't necessarily occur in this particular order but can sometimes also overlap. There is no set amount of time for theses stages to occur, however, there are times when Ivan Ilyich experiences them all.
Shortly after Ivan Ilyich bumped himself on the window knob, he often told the story but insisted that he felt fine. He acknowledged a little bruise and a little pain but denied anything further. The pain continued and did not go away no matter how much he denied it. After what may have been a few months Ivan Ilyich "sometimes complained of a strange taste in his mouth and some discomfort on his left side" (p 63) but he continued to deny that anything could really be wrong. In Ivan Ilyich's case, denial and anger seemed to have overlapped. As the pain in his side grew worse, he became more and more agitated and...