The Death Of Ivan Ilyich: The Major Themes Of Love And Death

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In life, there are few events such as love and death that serve as a transforming experience and makes an individual realize that he has not lived the way he should have. In the following essay, I will examine how love and death serve as the major themes in “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”, “The Lady with the Little Dog” and “Shampoo”, by transforming the world views of the main characters. By examining the life and death of Ivan Ilyich, the love story between Gurov and Anna, and the story of George, a hairstylist who uses his charm and occupation to seduce beautiful women, I will analyse whether people are truly capable of change after going through life changing experiences such as the approach of death and the idea of love. “The Death of Ivan…show more content…
While reading “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”, I was reminded of my first experience with death. At the age of eleven, my beloved grandfather fell extremely ill with a sickness much akin to that of Ivan Ilyich, and spent his last few months pondering whether he had lived his life as he should have. At the time my mother was the main person who took care of my grandfather, and as a result I was also very involved in his journey. Although I was only eleven years old, I witnessed my beloved idol who in my eyes and in the eyes of many had lived a great life going through a heart breaking and transforming experience. At the time, I could not fully grasp the significance of the events surrounding me but years later, at the age of twenty-two, I started fully grasping what was going on years before while I was reading “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”. Although my grandfather did not explicitly say so, in his last few months, he would talk about some mistakes he had made and that he should have maybe done some things differently. As a result, when reading “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”, I found myself personally involved in his story and spent a long time deciding whether Ivan Ilyich would have been able to change his life had he not succumbed to his sickness. I believe that although Ilyich’s experience with his sudden sickness made him realize that he had not lived a happy life, he would not have been able to completely change his life if he were to survive. It is possible that he would have become a kinder and more compassionate man if he were to live on since a near death experience often serves as a spiritual awakening. However, since he was living in 19th century Russia, it would have been very difficult for him to change his life as doing so would have

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