Study Guide For The Novel The Death Of Ivan Ilyich By Leo Tolstoy
There are a few really good reasons why students, both official and private, still seek out study guides for the novel The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. Above all else, it’s because this story could be applied to the whole of modernity. A well to do middle-aged high court judge with big plans, looking to impress others with his status, then begins to realize he has fallen victim to an untimely and drawn out death.

When looking online for study guides for the novel The Death of Ivan Ilyich, it’s important to get a thorough version. Many out there today simply do not bother with explaining the insight and morals of the story. Instead, they stick with the cold hard facts.

Here are the three main parts that one should find is a solid version of the study guide.

Part One

The story begins with some of Ivan’s colleagues in a secluded room talking about the certain legalities of current important cases. One of them learns of Ivan’s death, shares the news, and then the reader watches how most men deal with death. They’re glad he is the one who is dead, and they’re living and working. Then, like sharks and vultures, everyone tries to use an important man’s death to better their own situation in life.

Part Two

This part of the study guide for the novel basically goes over Ivan’s life leading up to his death. In nearly all ways he is an ordinary man with an average human life. He makes his way up the ranks of the social ladder through intense struggle, marries, and has children.

Part Three

This section of the book deals with what seems to be the most trying time of Ivan’s life, enduring the stresses of marriage and professional life. Leo Tolstoy makes it clear how easily we let our lives disguise the pursuing figure of death. Ivan becomes greedy, jealous, and a strict disciplinarian. Eventually, while doing some interior decorating, Ivan falls and somehow comes down with a fatal condition.

It is then that the story begins to unfold and reveal what its point really is. The reader gets to see life through the prism of death. At the doorstep of oblivion, all of the superficialities and artificial aspects of human social life come to the surface. Any study guide for The Death of Ivan Ilyich worth its salt should make it perfectly clear that this work was written after Leo Tolstoy heavily converted to Christianity.

The author in a very effective manner makes it obvious what a good life should be, and how important it is to experience the good and real things in life while there is still time. Furthermore, Tolstoy brings to light his distaste for complicated men of state, as well as the upper middle class and their ultimately unimportant financial schemes.

Any study guide for The Death of Ivan Ilyich should set in stone that Leo Tolstoy believed in the poor and simple people. He believed that those who keep their lives simplified, away from all of the hustle and bustle of fleeting human life, are closer to God.


Photo Credit: Tschäff

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