The Death Of Ivan Ilych

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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In "The Death of Ivan Ilych", the setting for this novella begins in the law courts. The second home of the main character Ivan. The story is told to us by explicit authorial comment, as the author is the narrator. Th author also used revelation through dialogue, depicted action, and the dialogue of other characters. It is with all of these methods that Leo Tolstoy reveals to us his and Ivan's feelings about death. A person gets the feeling that Ivan Ilych and Leo Tolstoy were very similar.

When the story opens a group of Ivan's colleagues have gathered and they are discussing his death. They reminisce about the man they knew and immediately they all begin to think about the changes and the promotions his death will bring about. You learn that one of these men, Peter Ivanovich, was one of Ivan's closest friends. He and Ivan grew up together and went to law school together as well.

The next scene is at the funeral of Ivan, which is held at his home. It is here that the author introduces us to Ivan's widow, Praskovya Fedorovna. As the widow talks to Peter she begins by explaining how much Ivan suffered in his last three days. "He screamed unceasingly not for minutes but for hours. For the last three days he screamed incessantly." (40) Just reading this you may think that his wife has some sympathy for her dead husband's suffering. But then she continues, "It was unendurable. I cannot understand how I bore it; you could hear him three rooms off. Oh, what I have suffered!" (40) Now it turns into how much she has suffered. Tolstoy I feel used revelation through dialogue effectively in giving us the feeling that Mrs. Ilych is cold and uncaring. Peter...