Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Death of Ivan Ilych

Am reading Tolstoy’s `Death of Ivan Ilych’ – a book that starts with a death – an agonizing one with `screams that lasted three days’ – probably cancer.

Then it charts the life of Ivan Ilych, an outwardly successful, conformist 19th century Russian judge who forgoes any forms of domestic happiness or emotional life for security, career-achievement and social respectability then, on dying, finds himself utterly alone, his colleaugues planning their promotions, his wife indifferent.

Only his peasant nursemaid and young boy enable him to sob and weep and be held, as he wants to be, by a family and friends that care.

The lesson? Don’t live your life to impress others and conform. They don’t care and your life will be wasted.

2 comments:

Martin said...

Thought this was going to be about the death of the great thinker, Ivan Illich.

http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich.html

Will have to search out the Tolstoy book myself as well now.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful book! Tessa