Ivan Llyinch grew up as a hard working boy and in his youth he studied law. He passed, graduated and qualified as a lawyer .He was posted as a tenth rank lawyer at the country district. He worked there for five years .He worked diligently and professionally. He devoted all his time and energy to his work to appoint of forgetting his family. Though he worked excellently, his family life was miserable. His wife was too demanding.
After five years he was promoted as an examination magistrate in the province. He worked there diligently. He interacted with people of both and superior and inferior status. He was sociable and friendly to all people. He was a member of his colleagues and they liked him very much. He was a member of court of justice which occurred on 4th February 1882. He bought a new apartment and one day as he was hanging a curtain in the new apartment, he fell and hurt his side. It was hurting but he assumed the pain would go. He continued with his daily basis activities. The pain did not go but it aggravated day after day. His wife insisted they should seek medical attention. They went from one physician to another but the pain never went. Finally the physician declared that his condition was terminal. He lay in his bed all days in pain.
During the five days of pain, it was a time to reflect on his life. He considered that he had lived a noble and a fulfilling life thus he did not understand why he was going through such pain. Besides his sons' compassion, his peasant boy showed him sympathy and compassion. This is when he discovered the difference between artificial and authentic life. His peasant boy lived an authentic life that is a life of compassion and sympathy .This life made the boy not fear death and this made Ivan Llyinch like him so much. On the other hand Ivan Llyinch lived an artificial life which did not have compassion or sympathy. He feared death. As the pain increased he hated his wife and daughters for they feared death and did not want him mention his death. They could not stand the mention of death.
These made him feel comfort only in his peasant boy. he looked at his son and felt pity for him. He also felt sorry for his wife and daughter for they continued living in their artificial life. One day a greater pain stroked his chest and side so hard and he saw himself in the bottom of a hole and a bright light. In this, his pain ceased. He heard someone says he was dead .he screamed and asked where the pain was and death .he did not fear death any more. In the middle of his sigh he died. His wife announced his death in a news paper.
His colleagues were in a meeting when peter saw on the paper that Ivan Llyinch had died. "Gentlemen ", he said, Ivan Ilych has died!"(Tolstoy 1). They all liked him so much and his position was kept open for him but Alexeev would succeed him in case of his death. on receiving the news every member in that private room first thought of themselves. How they would be change of their current position and promotions they would get from this. "I shall be sure to get Sintabel's place or Vinnokov's "Fedoror Vasilievich thought. "I was promised that long ago and the promotion means an extra eight hundred rubles a year for me besides the allowances" (Tolstoy 3).
They acted so greedily instead of feeling compassion and sympathy for his family. His brother in law peter did not either show compassion for his family but he thought for himself that is, on how he would please his wife by offering himself to transfer Ivan's body to Kaluga.Peter was his youth full friend. They studied law together and he felt it was his obligation to do so. He too lived an artificial life for he feared death. "I thought he would never leave his bed again", said peter Ivanovich aloud." it 's very sad" (Tolstoy 4).Peter asked his wife what happened to him and she said," he suffered terribly the last few days" (Tolstoy 21).
Gerasim was filled with sadness as he was fond of Ivan and acted as his bedside nurse during the difficult times. Ivan Ilyich death reveals the importance of living an authentic life; a life that is full of compassion and sympathy instead of being self-centered. It symbolizes spiritual and moral values of life that we should follow. It also reveals that there is peace after death as Ivan's pain ended there and his fear of death disappeared. It's more satisfying and one dies peacefully if he lives an authentic life as it is not only fulfilling, but also peaceful. Peter, his brother-in-law, continued fearing death and did not want to imagine such pain and death would occur to him one day. Ivan's wife, on the other hand, was terrified by what her husband went through and he did not even imagine how she stood seeing him screaming out of great pain. She did not understand why he went through such great pain.
Ivan was a man who was devoted to his profession and work. He worked diligently and forgot his family. He did not show them sympathy and compassion, he neglected his own family to fulfill his profession although he did not realize the harm he was causing his family by doing that. Tolstoy notes that, "Ivan Ilyich's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible" (p31). At his death point, he had time to reflect on his life. He always thought he had lived a noble life by dedicating all his time to his work. In his bed while in pain, he realized how he had neglected his family. Gerasim, his peasant boy, was the one who made him realize the other side of life; a life full of sympathy and compassion.
Even though the peasant boy had nothing to call his own, he lived a comfortable life and was always concerned about what his friends or family was going through. He was compassion and was happy with his life. This boy did not fear death as Ivan did because he was living an authentic life. Unlike the peasant boy, Ivan experienced peace for a very short time after he realized the importance of living an authentic life. He stopped fearing death although he did get a chance of speaking to his family or his friends and tell them about living a genuine life. He could not talk but all he could do was feel sorry for them because of the life they were living.
Ivan Ilyich was a hardworking man who was committed to his work. He had good relations with all people of all status in life. According to Tolstoy, "Ivan Ilyich had been a colleague of the gentlemen present and was liked by them all" (p3). He got along with all people although; he was living a miserable family life. He showed neither sympathy nor compassion to his family since he lived an artificial life. A life that was full of self centeredness. All he thought was about himself and his professional achievements. His story is a clear indication of how many of us live our lives only thinking about ourselves, our achievements, and happiness at the expense of our family's happiness.
His friends, on the other hand, portray how many people are greedy waiting for other people's misfortunes in order to take advantage. For instance, his co-workers were only thinking of their promotions when Ivan finally died. His wife too as greedy as the only thing he could think of after her husband's death was how to get his pensions. This story teaches that we should not wait until we are almost dying to realize the meaning of living an authentic life and we should teach the same to our loved ones.