The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

The Death of Ivan Ilych

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Ivan Ilyich lives a carefree life that is “most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible”. Like everyone he knows, he spends his life climbing the social ladder. Enduring marriage to a woman whom he often finds too demanding, he works his way up to be a magistrate, thanks to the influence he has over a friend who has just been promoted, focusing more on his work as his family life becomes less tolerable.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper


While hanging curtains for his new home one day, he falls awkwardly and hurts his side. Though he does not think much of it at first, he begins to suffer from a pain in his side. As his discomfort grows, his behavior towards his family becomes more irritable. His wife finally insists that he visit a physician. The physician cannot pinpoint the source of his malady, but soon it becomes clear that his condition is terminal. Confronted with his diagnosis, Ivan attempts every remedy he can to obtain a cure for his worsening situation, until the pain grows so intense that he is forced to cease working and spend the remainder of his days in bed. Here, he is brought face to face with his mortality and realizes that, although he knows of it, he does not truly grasp it.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

During the long and painful process of dying, Ivan dwells on the idea that he does not deserve his suffering because he has lived rightly. If he had not lived a good life, there could be a reason for his pain; but he has, so pain and death must be arbitrary and senseless. As he begins to hate his family for avoiding the subject of his death, for pretending he is only sick and not dying, he finds his only comfort in his peasant boy servant, Gerasim, the only person in Ivan’s life who does not fear death, and also the only one who, apart from his own son, shows compassion for him. Ivan begins to question whether he has, in fact, lived a good life.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

In the final days of his life, Ivan makes a clear split between an artificial life, such as his own, which masks the true meaning of life and makes one fear death, and an authentic life, the life of Gerasim. Authentic life is marked by compassion and sympathy, the artificial life by self-interest. Then “some force” strikes Ivan in the chest and side, and he is brought into the presence of a bright light. His hand falls onto his nearby son’s head, and Ivan pities his son. He no longer hates his daughter or wife, but rather feels pity for them, and hopes his death will release them. In so doing, his terror of death leaves him, and as Tolstoy suggests, death itself disappears.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

1. Ivan is a middle class man from the 19th century who lived in Russia. He was a lawyer and a bureaucrat. He was married to Praskovya. The vignette described Ivan as a capable, cheerful, good-natured and social man. He was attracted to others who were in higher positions and likes their politeness, speech, and manners. Although he was given the position as examining magistrate and even then, he did not abuse his powers. In the beginning of the vignette, Ivan wanted to be an independent man with the luxuries of the rich. However, after the accident, he came to understand the sorrow of others. The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper
In the vignette, the relationship between the physician and patient was authoritarian, and there was no patient-physician relationship to truly understand the concerns and the impact of his illness on the patient’s life. It almost seems that the physician did not take the patient’s concerns seriously. In addition, as his symptoms were worsening, although he consulted other physicians and he received contradictory answers, thus confusing the patient and decreasing the trust in the physician’s abilities. A patient centered relationship allows patient to build trust in the provider. I think that if the physician were more empathetic to the patient, the patient would not have had to look for answers to his questions in medical texts and other physicians. In fact, if there were open communication, maybe the doctors would have been able to find the injury and provide the necessary treatments, before it was too late. The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

2. Merriam Webster dictionaries define despair as a situation in which an individual feels that there is hope or that the situation that they are in will not change (Merriam-Webster). If a patient has fee…

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Writing about death was nothing new, to be sure. In the 19th century, death had been a favorite subject of the Romantics and many writers who came after them. They just couldn’t stop talking about it, and created dying romantic heroes of all kinds: star-crossed lovers with tragic deaths, lonely tortured artists who came to painfully beautiful ends, and valiant men in battle who sacrificed themselves. (Our popular culture still owes a lot to the Romantics.)The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

What was new and remarkable in Tolstoy’s work was how unremarkableits main character – and his death – was. The Death of Ivan Ilych is the story of a painfully ordinary government official who comes down with an untreatable illness and dies at home slowly, painfully, and full of loneliness. He’s middle aged, has an unhappy family life, and a petty personality. Rather than turning to religion, art, or the love of his life to cope with death, he turns to doctors. About as far from a dying romantic hero as you can get. Much more like, well, us normal people.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

Tolstoy himself, on the other hand, was very far from being an average Joe by the time he wrote Ivan Ilych. Tolstoy was born in 1828 to one of the most prominent Russian families (yes, he was a real count). Before he turned 50 he had produced both War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), which are traditionally considered to be among the greatest novels ever (Time magazine ranks them at number 3 and number 1, respectively). It’s no surprise, then, that he also enjoyed the reputation of being one of the greatest writers in the world at the time.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

In spite of all his fame and accomplishment, not long after writing Anna Karenina Tolstoy had a midlife crisis and decided that he couldn’t go on living unless he found the meaning of life. The crisis only ended after an extremely powerful conversion experience (to a more radical variety of Christianity), which in Tolstoy’s eyes changed everything. He announced his personal transformation to the world in his 1881 book entitled A Confession. He stopped thinking of himself primarily as an artist and began writing on religion and politics, advocating things like non-violence, simple and communal living, and anarchism. Followers began showing up at his estate (Yasnaya Polyana) like pilgrims to hear his pronouncements on life and see his experiments in practicing his ideal with his peasants.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

The Death of Ivan Ilych was the first significant work of literature Tolstoy produced after his conversion. It’s a forceful confrontation with the problem of death, and through death, the meaning of life. It’s also a sharp satire of the “false” modern middle-class lifestyle (embodied in the character of Ivan Ilych). Tolstoy saw this lifestyle and attitude taking shape in his day, and thought that those who embraced it were incapable of facing death because they did not understand life.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

Some readers admire the novella for its powerful moral message. Others say it shows the beginning of Tolstoy’s loss of his art, and that once he became interested in teaching moral lessons, his writing lost its complexity and became one-dimensional. What do you think? Get back to us after you’ve read The Death of Ivan Ilych.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper


… on the patient’s needs, all allows one to provide patient centered patient care.
I would use this experience in my future nursing practice by making sure to treat each patient with respect. In addition, I will try not to let other individual’s opinions affect the way I interact with patients. I will also establish rapport with my patients by communicating with them and letting them know that I am there to help them. In addition, as I start my nursing career, and when I interact with nursing students and staff, I will try not to give my opinions about patients.  The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

The Death of Ivan Ilych begins at the chronological end of the story. A group of judges are gathered together in a private room of the courthouse when Peter Ivanovich, a judge and close friend of Ivan Ilych, announces that Ivan has died. Consoled by the thought that it is Ivan who has died and not them, the men in the room cannot help but think of the promotions and transfers that Ivan’s death will occasion. That evening, Peter drives to Ivan’s house to attend his funeral. But while looking at Ivan’s corpse, Peter is bothered by an expression of disapproval and warning on Ivan’s face. Ivan’s wife Praskovya quizzes Peter about possible strategies to maximize her dead husband’s government pension. On his way out, Peter encounters Gerasim, Ivan’s sick nurse. Peter mentions that Ivan’s death and funeral are a sad affair, and Gerasim surprises Peter with the observation that everyone dies some day.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

The story then shifts more than thirty years into the past and picks up with a description of Ivan’s life. Ivan is the second of three sons, and in all respects is an average and commonplace person. Around the age of thirteen he attends the School of Law where he assimilates the values and behavior of those with high social standing. Ivan becomes an examining magistrate in the reformed judicial institutions and moves to a new province. Ivan marries and things progress smoothly until Praskovya becomes pregnant. As Praskovya’s behavior begins to disrupt the proper and decorous lifestyle cherished by Ivan and approved by society, Ivan increasingly absorbs himself in his official work and distances himself from his family. At work he prides himself on removing all personal concerns from his consideration, and at home he adopts a formal attitude toward his family. Time passes and Ivan moves up in the ranks. He expects to be awarded the post of presiding judge in a University town, but is passed over for promotion. Infuriated and struck by a keen sense of injustice, Ivan obtains a leave of absence and moves with his family to his brother-in-law’s house in the country. Conscious that his salary cannot cover his family’s living expenses, Ivan travels to St. Petersburg to look for a higher paying job. He learns that due to a change in the administration of the Ministry of Justice, a close friend has landed a position of great authority. Ivan is awarded a higher paying position in the city, and informing his family of the good news, Ivan departs alone to buy and furnish a house in preparation for the family’s arrival. One day as he is mounting a step-ladder to hang some drapes, he makes a false step and slips, banging his side against the window frame. The injury is not serious, however, and Ivan is quite pleased with the final appearance of the house. He settles into his new life and acquires a love of bridge.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper

Ivan begins to experience some discomfort in his left side and an unusual taste in his mouth. The discomfort gradually increases and soon Ivan is both irritable and quarrelsome. The doctors Ivan visits all disagree on the nature of the illness, and Ivan becomes depressed and fearful. Even cards lose their appeal. Ivan’s physical condition degenerates rapidly. One night while lying alone in the dark, he is visited by his first thoughts of mortality, and they terrify him. He realizes that his illness is not a question of health or disease, but of life or death. Praskovya does not understand nor wish to understand her husband’s plight, and Ivan can barely suppress his hatred for her. Ivan knows that he is dying, but he is unable to grasp the full implications of his mortality. He tries to erect screens to block the thought of death from his mind, but death haunts him ceaselessly. In the midst of this suffering, Gerasim, Ivan’s peasant servant, enters the scene. Assigned the task of helping Ivan with his excretions, Gerasim soon begins passing the entire night with the dying man. To ease his pain, Gerasim supports Ivan’s legs on his shoulders. More than any other living person, Gerasim provides Ivan with the compassion and honesty that he needs. Ivan’s daily routine is monotonous and maddening. As those around him continue to pretend that he is only sick and not dying, Ivan feels that he is surrounded by artificiality. No one wants to confront the fact of Ivan’s imminent death. Ivan becomes silently enraged, and seeing his little son Vasya, Ivan realizes that Vasya is the only one besides Gerasim who understands him. That night Ivan dreams of a deep black sack. He is being violently pushed into the sack, but cannot fall through. And he both fears and desires to fall into it. Awaking from his dream, Ivan sends Gerasim away, and for the first time he hears the inner voice of his soul speaking to him. Twelve more days pass, and Ivan is no longer able to leave the sofa. He lies pondering death and questioning the rationale behind his suffering. As he examines his life, Ivan realizes that the further back he looks, the more joy there is. He finds that just as the pain grew worse and worse, so too did his life. He knows that an explanation for the suffering would be possible if he had not lived rightly, but recalling the propriety of his life, he resigns himself to the senselessness of death. The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper  Then, one night while looking at Gerasim’s face, Ivan begins to doubt whether he has lived his life correctly. He imagines the black sack again, and the immense agony he experiences stems partly from his being thrust into the sack, and partly from not being able to get right into it. The conviction that his life was a good one prevents him from entering the sack, but for some reason he is unwilling to relinquish that belief. Suddenly, “some force” strikes Ivan in the chest and side. It pushes him through the sack and into the presence of a bright light. At that very moment his hand falls on his sons head and he feels sorry for him. His wife approaches his bed, her face wet with tears, and he feels sorry for her too. He realizes that his official life and his family and social relations were all artificial. And he experiences a sense of extreme joy. In the middle of a sigh, Ivan stretches out and dies.The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay Paper


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