OUSD > Urban Dreams > Language Arts > Extended Literature > Grade 12 > Tolstoy


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Ivan, the protagonist, followed a well-traveled road, adhering to "comme il faut" (as is expected) or doing what one was supposed to do in career matters, selection of clothes, choosing a wife, raising children. There is little to admire about this generally successful but thoughtless and selfish man. Ivan's inability to invest meaningfully in family, social, or professional relationships leads to frightening consequences when he becomes gravely ill, probably with pancreatic cancer. Five different physicians with attitudes that range from arrogant to dishonest offer little assistance or compassion. His family soon loses patience with his suffering and tends to blame him for the onset of illness. Only Gerasim, a peasant hired to assist him in his most basic needs, provides the kind of care and understanding required by the dying and increasingly isolated or deserted sufferer. more --(© New York University; )


  • Novel Guide ® Literature Notes
    Summary, Character profiles, Theme & Metaphor Analysis, Quotes, Bibliography

    http://www.novelguide.com/deathofivanilyich/index.html (novelguide.com; )

  • SparkNote by Nick Miller
    Context; Plot Overview; Character List; Analysis of Major Characters; Themes, Motifs, and Symbols; Chapters; Important Quotations Explained; Key Facts; Study Questions and Essay Topics; Quiz; Suggestions for Further Reading
    http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/ivanilych/ (SparkNotes.com; )

Other websites about The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Author Biography:

Leo Tolstoy, the son of a nobleman landowner, was born on September 9, 1828, at Yasnaya Polyana, the family estate south of Moscow. He was orphaned at the age of nine, then raised by relatives and educated by French and German tutors. At the age of 16, Tolstoy enrolled at Kazan' University (now Kazan' State University), first studying languages and then law; influenced by the writings of the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, he became dissatisfied with formal study and in 1847 left without a degree. After a brief, futile attempt to improve the condition of the serfs on his estate, he plunged into the dissipations of Moscow's high society, which he candidly recorded in his diary with vows to reform. More... (Great Literature Online; )

Websites about Leo Tolstoy

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