Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Death of Ivan Ilyich - holiday post II

The emotions Tolstoy expresses through Ivan Ilyich are powerful and distressing and make you wonder how you would feel in a similar position. The mind can be a very dangerous place when all you can think about is death…

Highlights from chapters 3 - 6

* The progress of Ivan Ilyich is suddenly stopped when he gets passed over for promotion so he heads off the St Petersburg to get a better job and a lucky twist of fortune means he knows someone able to give him a good position

* He acquires a flat and does it up to perfection but while showing a curtain maker how to hang a drape he falls and bangs his side. His family move in and he starts to complain of a funny taste in his mouth and a pain in his side but it doesn’t seem to distract from his life of social whirling too much

* He goes to the doctor and starts to believe he is dying and becomes obsessed with his health and visits numerous doctors all looking for a way out of the illness

* Worst of all his family don’t seem to care: “And he has to live like this on the edge of destruction, alone, with nobody at all to understand and pity him.” Pg 51

* His brother-in-law comes to visit and is shocked at his appearance and describes him to his sister as a dead man walking and this then sparks off a further visit by Ivan to a doctor but then he seems to end the night resigned to death and hating his wife with every fibre of his body

* He tries to bury himself in work but that doesn’t help and he then uses the chance to rearrange the house as a way of distracting himself from the pain and focusing on ‘It’ the thing eating away at him but he knows that time is running out

More tomorrow…

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