Finding Meaning: Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych
From the paper:
Two hours before his death Ivan Ilych finally asks the right question. After three days of screaming through agonizing pain, he laments that his life was all not the right thing, and passes into death wondering what is the right thing? (151). With this final realization and questioning, the title character of Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych makes clear the author’s intention that each of us must find the right thing and discover how to lead a meaningful life. Tolstoy explains that even at this final moment, Ivan Ilych is capable of redeeming himself and making this discovery, that though his life had not been what it should have been, this could still be rectified (151). If Ivan Ilych can do it at the last minute, the rest of us still can.