The Death of Ivan Llynch

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The Death of Ivan Llynch Leo Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Llych” is a novella dealing with the presence of death and begins with “ends with”, letting the reader’s knowledge the climax at the starting of the novel that this is a story how Ivan Llynch dies. Tolstoy interestingly uses “The Death of Ivan Llynch” as the title because the predictability of death is one of the main central themes in this novel that Tolstoy tries to give understanding of along with many others that one can realize while reading the novel. This short novel is a story of realism of reality and understanding of the actual feeling and meaning behind peoples actions.

All the characters that are involved in Ivan’s life seem to not care of the incident as much as they should have been. Leo Tolstoy uses stylistic devices and a great amount of diction in order to knowledge the readers with the full potential of the primary and minor character’s inner feelings towards Ivan’s dreadful incident. Tolstoy’s use of stylistic devices, diction, structure and tone create a sense gloomy and a forlorn tone to describe Ivan’s inner and outer life. Tolstoy’s use of these certain elements give a deeper understating of the characters feelings and how they act when an incident occurs during the story.

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Tolstoy sadly introduces the some of the characters (Ivan’s colleagues from school and work) with the same selfish reactions to Ivan’s death with uncompassionate feelings. “So on receiving the news of Ivan Ilych’s death the first thought of each of the gentlemen in that private room was of the changes and promotions it might occasion among themselves or their acquaintances”. Right at the beginning, we, as the readers are lead to understand that these colleagues of Ivan never really cared about him as much.

The style Tolstoy writes gives us the understanding that Ivan Ilych was a lonely individual that never realized the people that circled his life in reality. When Ivan gotten sick he then completely shifted in a reality stage towards his relationship with his family and friends and when it comes down to depending on them, they turned him down. Tolstoy then goes on stating “Besides considerations as to the possible transfers and promotions likely to result from Ivan Ilych’s death, the mere fact of the death of a near acquaintance aroused, as usual, in all who heard of it the complacent eeling that, ‘it is he who is dead and not I. ’” The authors sentences structure bring the climax at the first chapter, letting the readers fully understand what’s going to happen next, which in many ways for shadow’s the end. The way Ivan reacts to his appendix problem leaves the reader to thinking that he no longer cares about his life as much because he doesn’t realize how serious his condition is until he over hears “Exaggerating! Don’t you see it? Why, he’s a dead man! Look at his eyes—there’s no life in them. But what is it that is wrong with him? ” He then walks into his room realizing all the things his doctors use to tell him about his condition, and decides to get check one last time. At this stage of the novel. Tolstoy has made clear to the readers that the main character, Ivan has knowledge the fact that death is quickly approaching him, and the way the author demonstrates this is the way he organizes his sentences. The climax is already built, which makes the reader wonder and critically think of what could possibly happen next, which it self sets the tone in a negative path.

In order to get the full potential and affect of the novel Leo Tolstoy uses devices such as metaphors to symbolize Ivan’s death. When Ivan Llynch is fully aware of his condition and how serious it is, he lays in his bed and says “‘what’s the use? It makes no difference,’ he said to himself, staring with wide-open eyes into the darkness” Tolstoy uses words like “darkness” which could have multiple hidden meaning. The fact that his eyes are open in the darkness symbolize death and that the future holds nothing.

Even though he understands the seriousness of his condition, Ivan has no spiritual beliefs until the last days of his life. He begins to realize so many things that he never thought about, he found out who truly cares for him and who he deeply cares for. Tolstoy somehow makes the reader feel bad for Ivan and what his going through for example when he cries in pain the last three days before his death. In a way the author allows you to relate with the main characters life because it’s so ordinary, and its what really happens in ones life.

The illusion of reality in Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Llynch” is brought forth when Ivan is in his room and yelling in pain, and that his wife, and son in law are all in the other room not showing any care for him. Death is the most serious situation there could possibly be, and Ivan’s family was treating it like it’s an ordinary flu. Leo Tolstoy’s use of this stylistic devices is a way to bring powerful meaning to his point that his trying to prove.

Death is a serious situation, and Tolstoy has created Ivan and situated him on the edge of life and death, and his reactions demonstrate the way he things and realizes the life that his lived. Tolstoy’s use of diction and language makes the reader realize how “The Death of Ivan Llynch” is so ordinary. The fact that this is a middle class suburban family gives out a certain connection to the readers. The novella carries a constant language and tone because throughout the story there is no major event that occurs.

The only event is the death of Ivan and that is given in the title, which the reader is already knowledge by the fact that he will die later on in the story. In the novel, the characters are also ordinary and somewhat average of how they take action on some situations described and their work status. Llynch works for the government in law and is waiting for a pension plan, like an average family does throughout points in their lives. This is another device that Tolstoy uses to describe realism in the novel. “But that thought, and not the thought only but the reality itself, seemed to come and confront him”

In “The Death of Ivan Llynch” Leo Tolstoy uses multiple devices and elements to create the right atmosphere and uses different shades of irony, diction, language to create a certain tone and slowly building the mood to the novel. These elements and devices used create lost and that depressing tone that lets the readers understand that this story has a vary dark mood. Tolstoy does a great job in describing the feeling of these characters and how Ivan takes them into consideration. At the end of the novella, Ivan asks for forgiveness from his wife and realizes that the life he lives could have been a lot better then it was.

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The Death of Ivan Llynch. (2018, Feb 16). Retrieved from

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