Isolation and Illusions in "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" Book Review by Rhapsode

Isolation and Illusions in "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"
An analysis of the isolation and illusions in "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Leo Tolstoy.
# 102612 | 860 words | 1 source | MLA | 2007 | CA
Published on Mar 30, 2008 in Literature (Russian) , English (Analysis)

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The paper examines how the character of Ivan, in Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich", gradually isolates himself from his environment through a series of revelations concerning the nature of his society. The paper discusses how, after Ivan's accidental fall, Ivan's need for understanding and empathy strips the illusions from his relationships and exacerbates his isolation from the family, professional and social relationships that comprised his life.

From the Paper:

"Ivan is repeatedly described as holding himself 'aloof' from the others who inhabit his world, and the recollection of his life that comprise the majority of the text describe how Ivan's isolation began long before his accident. "[F]rom earliest youth [Ivan] had been drawn to those who stood above him...he had adopted their manners and views, and he had established friendly relations with them" (241). In his attempt to associate himself with those elders and symbols of success through imitation, Ivan isolated himself from his peers and began the lifelong quest for satisfaction through superficial goals. His marriage reinforces this tendency, for he "married her acquiring this particular wife he did what brought him pleasure as well as doing what those in high position considered it proper" (246). His marriage is based solely on the need to present the right appearance, and consequently the realities of the relationship, in the necessity to devote thought and attention to his wife, become to him an 'unpleasantness' that he must escape from."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Tolstoy, Leo. Lev Tolstoi: Short Stories. Margaret Wettlin, trans., Foreign LanguagesPublishing House, Moscow. (no date of publication listed), pp. 230-301.

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Isolation and Illusions in "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" (2008, March 30) Retrieved October 17, 2019, from

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"Isolation and Illusions in "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"" 30 March 2008. Web. 17 October. 2019. <>