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Topic: Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy

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Subject: Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
Date Posted: 11/16/2008 12:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/3/2008
Posts: 7
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I just finished reading the short story. We are required to read this book for our class. But I am glad that I read it. Such a interesting story. Makes one wonder the difference between life and death.

Ivan saw his life with rose-colored glasses and felt that he was satisfied with his life. In the end, he realized his life wasn't what he wanted it to be and was finally able to accept death.

One of the questions my professor asked was "why is the title "death of Ivan IIych" and not "life of Ivan IIych"? What do you guys think? Any comments...

Date Posted: 11/16/2008 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2008
Posts: 120
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I also just finished that book a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it. It's still as timely today and the time which it was written. I'd say that the title describes both his life AND his death. Since Ivan was really just living his life so that other people would see him as important and significant, the real Ivan died years before, when he started trying to impress people by being who they thought he ought to be rather than who he really was. The big message I walked away with is that it is important to live the life that inspires and excites you, even if it's not the kind of life that society necessary approves of.
Date Posted: 11/16/2008 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/3/2008
Posts: 7
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I agree with you. I felt that his entire life was a journey toward death without realizing it. In the end, he finally realizes that everyone was faking it including him. His life was a deception toward himself. He thought he was happy.

Personally I was so angry in the first chapter when his death didn't bother anybody. Everybody was being selfish including his wife who only wanted to know about the money. It is such a sad story.

Date Posted: 11/17/2008 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I've read it, both in high school and in college, I agree, very good.

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 10:46 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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I read this story this past fall too. My two-cents: The title refers to his death because it took his impending death to make him realize that he was living just according to conventions, customs, the  obediance and conformity to the world. In the return the world just took him for granted. Better he should have devoted more thought to living rightly in terms of God not just living properly in accordance with the world's expectations, which are fickle often and immoral sometimes. At least, I think this is what Tolstoy is saying.



Last Edited on: 11/18/08 10:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/18/2008 10:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2008
Posts: 120
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I like that perspective. Thanks, Matt. :)