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Word Count: 1,118
Leo Tolstoi the author of the short story The Death of Ivan Ilych was born into wealthy family in Russia Tolstoi became tired of going to school and bettering himself so he dropped out of Kazan University Despite societies pressures he opened up a school for lower class children Leo Tolstoi became very successful in his profession as a novelist but was for some reason unhappy with his life He then gave away all his land and book royalties and started living a peasants life The Death of Ivan Ilych is about a mans realization of the meaninglessness of his existence in light of his impending death By all external definitions Ivans life was the picture of success He had risen to the top of his profession he had married an attractive and well-thought of woman and he seemed to be satisfied with the pleasantness of it all Yet under this exterior his life was empty hollow and completely motivated by worldly trappingsOther peoples expectations dominated Ivans life He had to do what was proper He went into the law took a good job and could even rationalize his carousing because everybody said that that was what young people did It is also interesting to note that many of Ivans rationalizations come in the form of French phrases He needs to be part of that upper class regardless of the personal cost He continually seeks out higher wages and better jobs to keep pace with his cost of living Paring down his living expenses is not a viable optionIn addition to this driving need to be somebody in the social and financial world Ivan has a propensity to run away from his problems at home It is unclear in the story what brings on his wifes change of heart and mood but she starts to nag and complain It starts during her pregnancy and never stops She was quite the catch when Ivan married her
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