The Death of Ivan Ilych
Study Questions and Essay Topics
Why does Tolstoy choose to place Ivan's funeral in the first chapter?
Some critics believe that The Death of Ivan Ilych is a work of moral fiction, that it is designed primarily to provide moral instruction to its audience. Discuss this claim and provide evidence from the text to support your opinion.
Identify and discuss the narrative and structural devices that Tolstoy uses.
Suggested Essay Topics
Why does Tolstoy present the story through the eyes of an omniscient narrator?
Discuss the significance of the title. If the work professes to be about Ivan's death, why is it almost entirely dedicated to Ivan's life?
Is the fact that Gerasim is a peasant important to understanding his character and worldview?
Discuss the use of the black bag as a symbol in The Death of Ivan Ilych.
Why is Ivan's method of dealing with life's unpleasantness ultimately unsuccessful?
According to Tolstoy, why is it important to acknowledge one's own mortality?
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