Ivan Ilych: The Man Behind the Curtains


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Essay #: 058834
Total text length is 5,737 characters (approximately 4.0 pages).

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The beginning:
Ivan Ilych: The Man Behind the Curtains
The Death of Ivan Ilych is a story that begins with news of the title character’s death and the scene of his funeral before it goes on to recount his life. This unusual chronology makes perfect sense when it is revealed at the end of the story that Ivan Ilych was already “dead.” The death represented by Ivan Ilych’s life was a spiritual death. His realization shortly before his physical death that the way he had lived his life was “all not the right thing” was his spiritual rebirth. (Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych, 316, ¶ 348). The way Ivan Ilych had lived, more concerned with the social and economic trappings of his social-climbing life than spiritual or interpersonal connections is what...
The end:
.....used his family to suffer and tried to ask their forgiveness. Instead of saying, “forgive me,” however, he says, “forgo.” (Tolstoy, 316). “Forgo” is means “To give up or refrain from; go without.” (Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary (Revised), 251 (1976)). Thus, in asking, his family’s forgiveness for the suffering he has caused them, Ivan Ilych is asking them to give up on him. He knew that his life as he had lived it was wrong, and the irony of his misstatement implies that he doesn’t want to be remembered as he had been. Ivan Ilych also knew that “…He whose understanding mattered would understand.” (Tolstoy, 316).
Works Cited
Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilych. .
Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary (Revised) (1976).