Psychological Analysis of Death: The Death of Ivan Illych

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The Death of Ivan Illych brings an excellent in-depth description of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s 5 cycles of grief theory. In the book, it shows how Ivan Illych goes through these cycles in their own individual way. The cycles that Kubler-Ross uses in her theory are: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. To get a better understanding of these cycles, this paper will describe each cycle and provide quotations that will help develop an idea of how someone going through these cycles may react.

According to Kubler-Ross’s theory, the first cycle is denial. Denial in this case is the individual denying that they are dying. When the individual resists the reality that they are going to die. “Then where shall I be when I am no more? Could this be dying? No I don’t want to!” (Tolystoy, “TdofII” p127), Ivan may have felt that he would be leaving too much behind if he were to die: worrying about where he’ll after he dies and refusing to something that cannot be stopped. Concerned mostly about losing his luxuries, he was clearly afraid and couldn’t accept he was dying as shown in this quote. “In the depth of his heart he knew he was dying, but not only was he not accustomed to the thought, he simply did not and could not grasp it.” (Tolystoy, “TdofII” p129).

The second stage of Kubler-Ross's theory is anger. To blame others for why they are dying as well as blaming a higher power is a sign of the anger cycle. A person in the anger cycle will also resent others because they are not dying and will show feelings of envy. Ivan Illych's anger cycle showed strong resentment to his wife, fellow magistrates, and God. “Go on! Strike me! But what is it for? What have I done to thee?”(Tolystoy, “TdofII” p143). In addition to this phase...

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...t is . What really accentuated the story's realness was the cold-harsh fact that no one is exempt from death. This was given when Gerasim said to Ivan that everyone dies (p135). As the last book Tolstoy made before his conversion to Christianity: this book, delving deep into death, could reveal some clues about what the bible is trying to tell us about the truth of death. Is death the end, the process, or...the beginning? Who knows? One thing for certain is that every individual goes through the grief process a bit differently, and Tolstoy has proven that through his main character, Ivan Illych.

Works Cited

"Kübler-Ross model - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 July 2010. .

Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Illych. New York: New American Library, 1960.
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