Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Death of Ivan Ilych

Ivan's life was "most simple and most ordinary, and therefore most terrible". Why is it such a curse to live a "normal" life? What is it that made his life so terrible? The answer lies in the end, when Ivan is on his deathbed. Throughout his life, Ivan's struggles are very ordinary: finding a good job, finding a wife, trying to improve his position. During the slow and painful process of his death, he cannot take comfort in the company and love of other people, having never formed any lasting bonds with other people. We see after his death that there are no true friends that he ever had. His fair-weather friends viewed his passing as a burden and an opportunity, while his wife views it as a payday. There is no respect for the dead among Ivan's company. All his struggles in his life proved to be fruitless in the end. However, even in the bleakness of Ivan's situation, there is a lesson to be learned: normality leads to boredom and stagnation, therefore a "normal" life is a pointless life.


JaziTokinBud said...

I agree in the fact that his efforts did not pay off, and i believe that it did not pay off because he did them for the wrong reasons. He did not struggle to find a wife, he settled for whatever was though of as a good career move. Ivan Ilych was a work-a-holic who thought that his career and his career alone would give him what he perceived as happiness; living lavishly and materialistic things, which he did not have because he did not live he life genuinely.

Nhart said...

Yes I agree with you, Ivan's life was most simple, ordinary and therefore most terrible, especially in the way he met his end. He was a selfish man, led by society norms. He reminds me of a horse walking a path with blinders. He ignored his wife and her needs once he got married and had children. He sought more ways to be free and independent of his family, seeking more time to himself and his interests. As you said he had no real friends, none that would sit by him and see him though hard times. All he gained and gathered and built was in vain because he did not bear in mind that someday he would seize to exist. He didn’t think of leaving a memorable legacy behind. He was not a person with faith in the after life and God, which made his approaching death even more so terrifying to him. I think he was most unhappy as an adult because he didn't select a conscious path to follow. Instead, he followed what was considered "right" by his peers who were equally lost and confused when it came to understanding the true meaning of life. It reminds me of a Bibical term "it's the blind leading the blind" I know it's also in a U2 song lyrics. lol

Woody said...

The story Ivan Ilych is sad at the end how he does not have any true friends and no one cares that he is dying. His wife views it as payday and no one respects his death. No one should have to die like that.