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A Theme in the Story “the Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy

  • Date Submitted: 03/22/2011 03:13 PM
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Danielle Brown
A theme in the story “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilych” sows that caring about others is the only ay to become successful. In the world today, people are judged by what they wear and how they look instead of who they are. Ivan decided to marry Praskovya because she fell in love with him.   Ivan did not care about the church or religion; all he cared about was his appearance. Ivan Ilych also thought that money would make him successful. In the story the only reason Ivan married Praskovya was to improve his social standing in his community. Ivan was driven by his quest for power; he thought that by becoming powerful he would become successful. Ivan Ilych believed that if you pretended to be what the public wanted to see then you would be successful in their eyes. Ilych devoted much of his time to making his house appear high-class, but in reality it was just what is usually seen in houses of people with moderate means who want to appear rich.   In the story Ivan Ilych’s self-centered formula for success was really a failure. Ivan failed in his family and official life.
Part of Ivan Ilych’s formula for success was to make others think he had the perfect family, but his family was only for show. Ivan married Praskovya Fedornva for social acceptance and not love. When Ivan decides to get married Tolstoy tells us, “To say that Ivan Ilych married because he fell in love with Praskovya Fedornva and found that she sympathized with his views of life would be as incorrect as to say that he married because his social circle approved of the match.”(p 289, paragraph 70). He saw that others of high social standing were married and decided that it would be the proper time to do so himself. In this way he would maintain his own proper standing. He soon found out that marriage is not all sunshine and happiness.   “He now realized that matrimony- at any rate with Praskovya Fedornva- was not always conducive to the...

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