“The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy.
Ivan, who happens to be a court judge, lives a normal ordinary life, that a person of his social class affords, but he dies a terrible death. He is born, and raised in a family of three boys and comes from an average family. At thirteen years of age, he goes to a law school and acquires the principles and a change in behavior as he is climbing the social ladder. He later becomes a judge in the newly transformed legal institution and locates to another region. He gets married, and starts a family, but this does not deter him from having a carefree attitude in life.
He concentrates mostly in his work, and ignores his family as he is so preoccupied with his social status. The wife becomes pregnant, and Ivan feels like the wife manners are interfering with his respectable lifestyle, that seems to be loved and cherished by many in the society. He lives a kind of life full off hypocrisy, as he indulge in his work, and maintains a distance between him and his family. He portrays a contented professional look at his work place and adopts an official approach at home. The level of hypocrisy in him increases day by day.
Living with his wife becomes an issue and he tries to forget his tribulations by getting a promotion, and becomes a magistrate. He achieves this unfairly as one of his friend, has an influence in the legal system. The promotion is made possible by one of his friends, who holds higher rank in the legal institution. This gives him an opportunity to spend a lot of his time at his workplace, and neglect his family. Ivan accidentally falls down, as he is hanging the curtains at his home hurting one of his sides. He does not give it much thought until he starts to feel pain. (Tolstoy pg125)
This causes more tension in the family, as his attitude towards the family members becomes intolerable. He finally decides to visit a doctor, but the source of the pain can not be traced. He develops a terminal illness as a result of the fall. He tries his best to look for treatment, but his condition keeps on deteriorating forcing him to stop working, and spend his days resting in bed. He soon realizes that as a human being, he is immortal, even though it is difficult for him to accept, and deal with the situation. During his illness which turns out to be continuous and painful, it makes him think that he should not be suffering as he has lived a righteous life. To him death is painful, and he feels he does not deserve to suffer. He hates his family for avoiding the issue of his eminent death, and not being honest about his sickness. (Tolstoypg59)
Life is a game and regardless of his social status, the main person he finds solace in, is a peasant boy who happens to be his servant. The boy shows sympathy for him, as well as he does not fear death. This makes Ivan doubt the kind of life he has been living. Lastly, he gets to understand the difference between the fake life he has lived all his life, and a real life. Artificial life is full of egocentric individuals, while real life manifests itself through sympathy and kindness. He finally dies in peace, as he accepts his family and pities them finding joy at last.
BIBLIOGRAPHY l 1033 Tolstoy, Leo Nikolayevich. The Death of Ivan Ilyich:Easyread Large Bold Edition. London: Read How You Want.com, 2009.