In his work itself, especially in his examinations, he very soon acquired a method of eliminating all considerations irrelevant to the legal aspect of the case, and reducing even the most complicated case to a form in which it would be presented on paper only in its externals, completely excluding his personal opinion of the matter, while above all observing every prescribed formality.

Ivan's professional ability to reduce complicated cases to mere forms on paper, to deal with potentially emotional and personal situations in terms of cold externals, reflects in all aspects of his life. Ivan deals with unpleasant situations and relationships by pushing them away and erecting barriers between himself and the disagreeable influence. When married life grows difficult for Ivan he spends more and more time at work, and when he is obliged to be at home he maintains a safe distance from his wife and family by inviting guests to join him. Ivan expects predictability from the world, and he retreats from it when the unexpected arises. Like his professional life, Ivan's personal life is formal and disconnected. By shutting out his wife, family, and the rest of the world, Ivan manages to shut himself in. He is isolated and alienated, and in the end his life is a mere form.