Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 6 | Words: 1642
Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Ivan Ilych is a man who believes in prosperity and, has seen his goals achieve at whatever the cost as described by (Tolstoy, 3). He was a very ambitious bureaucrat who fought his way the ladder of advantage in a country which was full of corruption and bureaucratic apparatus of Czar. Ivan moved gracefully into different roles which were given to him, adjusting in attitude, understanding, and in ethics to fit in the exigencies of his career and taking the circus of consolations and, perks given to him by fashionable society members.

His life was simple and, successful until he became ill. He lay in bed for four months with a lot of pain and, he began wondering if his life was satisfactory. He also looked at what it has to be and whether or not he achieved what he was meant to. In the final journey, death proved not to be the destination of Ivan’s, it is simply a wasted province everything that he leaves behind by relinquishing his existence, all the belongings and affectations, and intimacies that he permitted so that he can pass off his life as a conviction worth settling for.

Ladder as a Key Figure in the Death of Ivan

Falling from the ladder by Ivan is comparable to the social ladder from which he encounters his fall. Ivan’s false life is the main cause of his downfall. He desire to please the upper class and, thus desire dressing his house like the rich. Evan had been particularly successful in buying cheaply antiques, which offered an aristocratic character to the whole place. He also asserts that “ I feel fifteen years younger” (Tolstoy, 49). All this he does to surprise his rich counterparts. He is absorbed and obsessed with this that he was less interested with his new duties though he liked his work.

Sometimes, moments of absent mindedness filled up his mind during the court session and, would find himself considering if he should get straight or curved cornices for his curtains. He so much interested in all this that he rearranged the furniture and re-hanged the curtains all by himself. One time when he was mounting the ladder to show an upholsterer, who did not well understand how he wanted the curtains to be draped, he made a bad step and fell. Because Ivan was a strong and powerful person, he clang on and, had his side knocked against the knob of the window frame. The place he was hit was painful but, the pain passed soon and he felt bright and fifteen years younger than he was.

Ladder is a key figure in the death of Ivan. It is a metaphoric imagery that personifies the basic reason of the eventual death of Ivan and the fall which bring him from his successful life to an eventual tragic death. Literal sense of the ladder is a powerful factors that Plunge Ivan toward his death. Without the ladder, there is no possibility of falling and injuring himself, and without the injury his death would have been less swift or soon as noted by (Tolstoy, 79). The ladder can be visualized as a weapon that attacked and mortally wounded Ivan Ilvich. It is a sole place in the story where Ivan cannot only be portrayed as having a drive to perfect the many outward appearance that are present in his existence, but also to show metaphoric insight that led to start of his inner crisis.

The ladder carries many metaphoric images and further adds a sense of meaning and permanency to The Death of Ivan Ilyich story. The literal fall, is the injury he encounters but the metaphorical fall is the fall he encounters when we went out of his normal routine, and the realization that his life was shallow, meaningless and unrewarding. The rise can be represented by the slow and steady progress up through the ladder from the date of birth to an eventual swift fall out of this life. This was seen to come crushing around Ivan’s life. At the end of the story, the idea of the ladder comes about where Ivan realize that there was a possibility that his fall from the ladder was the cause of his illness and would eventually lead to his ultimate death.

Looking at his rise in the social ladder, his fall in the step ladder is therefore, symbolic. When it is considered that his fall is the apparent cause of his injury and illness that cause his death, Tolstoy seems to be giving a hint that Ivan conformity to the views of the members of the society will have eventual dire consequences. The fact that his falling come about when he was hanging drapes adds significance to the whole event. Taking into consideration that drapes are to enclose and shut out, his fall in hanging them point toward the effects of self isolation from the world.

Ivan had an official business life as he admits his official relation with people, only on official grounds. He is portrayed as having the capability of separating his official life and his real life and work not to mix the two. He and Praskovya are seen to take pleasure in holding occasional dinners for and from men and women who come from good social position, but Ivan find great pleasure in playing bridge (Tolstoy, 133). Whatever displeasing event that happens in his life he can sit down and bridge to the pleasure that beams like a ray of light.

Gerasim alone understood the facts of the Ivan’s case and, thus did not consider it essential to disguise them, but merely felt sorry for his emaciated and dying master. Tolstoy makes it clear that the fault in Ivan Ilych’s life is present in nearly in everyone’s life, the only exception being in the character of the servant Gerasim. Gerasim is seen as a healthy peasant whose background of simplicity has helped him to understand the true nature that lies in life and death. Ivan life has been described as most ordinary and most simple and hence most terrible. The theme of loneliness emphasized in confronting death comes after falling from the ladder. Ivan realizes that he is going to die and that he had nothing to fall back to but his own untapped spiritual resources.

The Theme of Loneliness and Confronting Death in Novella

Near the end of his life, Ivan feeling is that of a person who is struggling to get out of a black sack. He begin to get revelation of the big mistake that he had made, he feel as if he is falling through a hole into a brighter light. The ladder in this instance signify the struggle he maintains to justify his life, whereas the sensation of falling signify Ivan illumination or rebirth as he stop justifying his life and start feeling pity for others.

His rise in the ladder can be signified by his happiness when he met members of his family at the station. When he brought them to his newly furnished house where it was all lit at the footman opened the door for them where there was many decoration of plants he was happy at they had exclamation of delight.

Ivan rise in the ladder of success encountered a lot of difficulties. When he was proposed for a promotion and found that the complaints from the official worsened the matter, he chose to leave his official post and to seek another. Great sense of injustice that he feels reveals that in his rise he expects that life, or official life should at least follow a simple, clear, and proper convention. Incursion of unpleasantness in his official refuge signal to him that reality, or real life, was different from predictability, propriety, and decorum that he had created for himself. When he overlooked his incongruity and his worldview he was able to get a new job, with a higher salary.

He disregards the fact that the pleasant course that exists in his life is only by chance, and he carries the illusion that he has predictable and solid life and that his own powers are capable of shaping his life the way he wants. It is clear that Ivan’s desire is to bring home, a true status of symbol, in line with many expectation and the standards of the society and its members. He truly fights to become part of this society in reaching the highest rungs of the social ladder.

When Ivan’s different roles in the society are clearly looked, it is evident that, in each of his roles, he reduces existence as orderly and predictable, formal and impersonal simulation of reality. His rise to the ladder makes his life as a judge to be dismal as, he excludes everything fresh and vital. His life as a father and family is encountered with difficulties as the man maintains distance by means of formal contact with members of the best society.

Death of Ivan Ilych as a fall off the ladder is symbolic. The idea of fall relates well to the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden from the bible and therefore, a good symbol of the fall of Ivan from grace and riches and his realization that he had lived a life full of emptiness and without a meaning. He gets revelation of the mistakes that he made in his life. Ivan faces loneliness in his death.

The character of Ivan Ilych in this story does not come to an understanding of the fact there was a mistake in his life until it was too late to put it into application in his life. The intense loneliness suffered by Ivan llych was due to his attitude towards life. He made a mistake of placing work, career and material wealth first and more valuable while rejecting the need of his family and those who surrounded him.

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