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.