Inner Reality In The Death Of Ivan Ilyich

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The theme of inner reality versus outer appearance prevails throughout The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Tolstoy continually has the characters think in one manner but act in another. Ivan, his colleagues, and his wife lived their lives doing what was expected of them. In the end, Ivan learned that living that way did not bring him happiness or fulfillment. He was the creator of his own delusional lies that had become his life. It was only when Ivan was faced with his impending death that he realized that he had never truly lived. The story begins with acquaintances and colleagues of Ivan’s gathered in the law courts where they learn of Ivan’s death from the newspaper. Usually when learning of a friend’s death you immediately mourn the loss of the person and your thoughts turn to…show more content…
(1423) Attending the funeral was more of a burden and responsibility instead of an actual heartfelt notion to pay their respects. They each would display fake emotions by acting sad on the outside but the inner reality would show their hypocrisy. Ivan’s “friends” know it is the right thing to do to attend the funeral service although they would rather go play cards. Propriety insists that they follow through with their obligations although true kindness is lacking. It was apparent that neither Peter Ivanovich nor Schwartz wanted to be there. Schwartz upon making eye contact with Peter stops and winks “as if to say: “Ivan Ilyich has made a mess of things-not like you and me.” (1423) Schwartz then hurries off to his card game. The entire atmosphere and mood at Ivan’s funeral service was that of impatience and detachment. It is apparent that the men are only there because it is the right thing to do. They make an appearance that says on the outside they are mourning the loss of their friend and colleague but inside they could care less and selfishly want to

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