Lou's Reviews > The Death of Ivan Ilych

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
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Jun 30, 12

bookshelves: june-read, classics
Read on June 05, 2011

You are transported to the world of Ivan and walk with him to his last moments at deaths door. A story of the terror of death and Ivan's fear of dying, his concern and sorrow for his families witnessing of his howling and decline. Suffering realizes joy of youth and memories of the best of days, while he is in this process of death the solitude brings him to doors of gone memories of happiness. How our daily trappings take us away from finer and truer happier moments of life, a time lost so valuable, we are a generational lost by media consumption, mobiles, internet and tv fine examples of vehicles of joyous hours but are also guilty of stealing our treasured hours that could be spent in much so joyous moments, i myself am guilty of these behaviours but i find the much joy in the solitude and private thought of words and reading. A short story but the magnitude of the message conveyed great to me I am now thinking of my past and age of innocence, ignorance is bliss words uttered by oh so many. This is the first reading of any of Tolstoy's works for me and I wait in anticipation to descent upon the treasure trove of his works of literature, Bon voyage alas I must hasten to read more and more.

"From the very beginning of his illness, from the time when Ivan Ilyvich first went to the doctor, his life had divided into two opposite states of mind, which alternated each other: now there was despair and the expectation of the incomprehensible and terrible death, now there was hope and the interest-filled process of observing the functioning of his body. Now there hung before his eyes a kidney or an intestine that shirked it's duty for a time; now there was only incomprehensible, terrible death, from which there was no escape."

"In the recent time of that solitude in which he found himself, lying face to the back f the sofa, that solitude in the midst of the populous town and his numerous acquaintances and family- a solitude than which there could be none more total anywhere; not at the bottom of the sea, not under the earth-in the recent time of that dreadful solitude, Ivan Ilyvich had lived only on imaginings of the past. One after another, pictures of the past appeared to him. They always began with the nearest time and went back to the most remote, to childhood, and there they stayed."

"And again right there, along with this course of recollection, another course of recollection was going o his soul-of how his illness had grown and worsened. The further back he went, the more life there was. There was a goodness in life, and more of life itself. The two merged together."As my torment kept on getting worse and worse, so the whole of life got worse and worse," he thought. There was one bright spot back there, at the beginning of life, and then it became darker and darker, ever quicker and quicker. "In inverse proportion to the square of the distance from death," thought Ivan Ilyvich. And this image of a stone plunging down with increasing speed sank into his soul. Life, a series of ever-increasing sufferings, races faster and faster towards it's end, the most dreadful suffering."

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06/05/2011
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Barbara Absolutely. Tolstoy makes us reflect on our own lives and question if we're living them to the fullest. Whether we die peacefully content from our investment in the lives of others or in turmoil from always focusing inwards--it's our choice.


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