Monday, April 8, 2013

Those of you who have read The Death of Ivan Illych should click on the comments link below and post your book talk information.  EVERYONE else should choose one book talk to respond to. Your response should be reflective, and include feedback for the presenter. Your response needs to be a minimum of one paragraph. Post your response by midnight, April 15th (early Monday morning).


  1. Cheyenne Esser

    1. “Ivan Ilych could see he was dying, and was in unceasing despair.
    In his heart he knew he was dying, but he not only couldn’t get used to it, he simply couldn’t grasp it at all.”

    2. The book starts out with Pyotr Ivanovich, Ivan’s death is proclaimed in front of all of his colleagues. Pyotr goes to Ivan’s funeral and talks to his wife. Pyotr doesn’t feel sympathetic, even though he has known Ivan since they were children. He only thinks of who will take Ivan’s job. Ivan Ilych is a hard working politician. He is the middle child of 3 boys and is an average student throughout his school life. He gets promoted various times throughout the novel and ends up being a judge. He lives a happy life until he gets married and things seem to turn sour in his eyes. His wife has mood swings and he can’t relate at all with his children. To get away from his home life he works much more, and plays cards with friends. His at attitude to married life were that he got home-cooked meals, someone to manage the house, a bed, and most importantly his life looked perfect to the public. In the beginning Ivan does everything based on what should happen in the publics eyes. One day Ivan falls from a chair and hits his side. He thinks nothing of it and moves on. Later on Ivan gets sharp pains in his side and a bad taste in his mouth. He goes to the doctor and they can’t find out what is wrong with him. He tells his wife of his sickness, but she treats him with the same resentment that he did with her when she was pregnant. With his death seeming imminent Ivan found himself unable to enjoy anything that he used to. The last few chapters of the book Ivan is dying. The only people that can lend him any comfort is his young son Vasya and Gerasim, his nurse. One night before his death, Ivan wonders if he lived his life correctly. Ivan refuses to believe that his life was good which somehow causes him more pain. Something pushes Ivan and his perception changes. He looks at his wife and son and feels sorry for them. He realizes that his official, family, and social lives were artificial. Ivan Ilych experiences a strong sense of joy right before he dies.

    3. On September 9, 1828, Leo Tolstoy was born in Tula Province, Russia. In the 1860s he wrote his first great novel, War and Peace. In 1873, Tolstoy set out to work on his second best novel, Anna Karenina. He continued to write fiction throughout the 1880s and 1890s. One of his most successful later works was, The Death of Ivan Ilych. Tolstoy died on November 20, 1910 in Astapovo Russia.

    4. -The Reader Response Perspective-
    The Death of Ivan Ilych brings many conflicts that i’m sure some people encounter. The main one being death. The thought of death doesn’t enter Ivan’s mind at all. He’s living a somewhat happy life and is content with it. Until he gets sick and finds out he has a possibility of dying. With the thought of dying, he can’t enjoy the simple things in life, or anything at all. He begins to feel a strong rage for everything and doesn’t cope with his death very well at all. Tolstoy also brings out the fact that there are two types of lives. The artificial one, which is wrapped in lies and creates a false security for the person. The authentic life lets people encounter the truths of life. They are unafraid of death and confident that they chose the right way to live. Ivan lived the artificial life and finds that out in the end, so he is able to die with a great joy.

    5. -The reading did make me want to choose the right way to live. His life seems shallow and unfulfilled.
    - Don’t do things based on what the society thinks you should do.
    - Be sympathetic and don’t ignore people that you need.

    6. I guess people who are choosing the wrong way to live would benefit from reading this. It does make you think a little about life and how you live it.

    1. I really liked how you explained the plot in detail and talked about how it has affected your view on life. I think that a common problem people have is not appreciating the little joys of life. Also, enjoying the other people in your life because you are not promised that anyone will be here tomorrow. Life is a lot more interesting and fulfilling when you live it to the fullest and appreciate the people, places, and things around you. Great job Cheyenne!

    2. I really like how you described him going from thinking everything was good in his life to hating it. I think this happens a lot to people having one thing bad happen and automatically think there life is terrible from then on. It takes a person a long time to realize that one thing was bad not the rest of your life has to be bad too. Life is all about realizations and not pushing the people away who are trying to make a difference and help you not down grade you.

    3. I like how well you describe the sequences of the story without using extremely little details that sometimes aren't even necessary. Instead, you stuck to the main point like how you describe his life story and how he hated it as much as he did. Only to find out at the end Ivan finds a sense of joy. It makes me think about my life a little and all the little things in it that make it better. More people should realize this because life can sometimes go faster than you think.

    4. I really liked reading your applications to life paragragh. You almost said it in a matter-of-fact tone which makes it seem so simple to understand. Honestly, those 3 things you said are very relatable to anyone. However, I really wish people would follow the "Don’t do things based on what the society thinks you should do," because thats all people worry of! Everyone is so concerned if they'll be accepted but in reality you have people that care about you and that's what truly matters.

    5. When considering life, it is too true the people live their lives by the standards of society. I thought this was a wonderful thing to point out from the reading. Today people marry because of circumstances such as pregnancies or just the expectations of being married. Some people, such as Ivan, don't realize that life will fly by. Before he knew it his life was at an end and he lived a life that was focused on conformity. I think it is a great thing to take away from this novel: Live life while you can and focus on what makes you happy- worry less about fitting into society.
      The overview of the book was a wonderful explanation. I also completely agree with the two points under number five. People really should keep those things in mind- they could end up living with regret knowing they could have done something to change the way an event turned out.

    6. I really liked your whole book report. You explained everything in an easy way to understand, and wasn't boring. I agree with the three things you learned from the book, I think people should really stop thinking about what society wants and what the people that are important to you need.

    7. I like the detail and effort that you put into this. I agree with how the book tells of two types of people. I think that some people do live like fake life. I hope that when it comes close to my time that i don't learn that i'm a artificial person. I personally think that if i am the opposite of Ivan because i usually like to care for people and i would treat my wife like Ivan does. I would at least try to be there for her while she was pregnant and help around the house and no be a distant and hostile husband like Ivan

    8. I really like how in depth you went in a explaining the story. Also how well you related it to real life because the book is true about different types of people.

    9. You did a very good job thoroughly summarizing this story. Its unfortunate more people than we all realize go through life without it being meaningful. The story had a good ending where the character realized and started to feel sorry and appreciate his family in this story and be happy for just a little while before he died, not too many people even get to that point.

  2. Andrea Huston

    Independent Novel Presentation

    Summary: The novel explores the life of a Justice of the courts in Russia. His name is Ivan Ilych and he leads a pretty bland and ordinary lifestyle. He moves through many jobs and uses people he knows to climb the rankings in the judicial system. In the beginning of the book it starts with what should be the end, the funeral of Ivan Ilych. It goes through every step of his life and how he gets married to praskovya. They have the typical marriage, perfect in the beginning but then gets strained towards the middle. Ivan ilych also has a few children and a couple of them die. At the end he gets sick and is pondering what meaning his life had and what he meant to the people around him.

    Author Biography: Leo Tolstoy is a Russian author and essay writer. He was born in 1828 in Tula Province, Russia and has written many famous novels such as War and Peace and Anna Karenina. He also wrote many essays and short stories along with the novels.

    Critical Lens: Psychological lens. Ivan Ilych has many different feelings throughout the book. In the beginning of the book he is obviously dead and at peace with his family and himself. After the book ends the funeral it transitions into describing his life at home and also in his career. I feel as if he was a very accepted man who was very well-liked and this promoted a great sense of pride in himself. As he moves through his life I believe he was very determined to get where he wanted to be and also where he needed to be to support his family. When things got rough in his relationship with Praskovya, he was mentally stressed, and as it is portrayed in the novel that not only affected him psychologically at home, but in his judicial career as well, and one of the things that was most important to Ivan Ilych was separating his career and family lives.

    3 Life Applications: The reading has made an impact on me through being able to find peace throughout your life and not just trying to find it all in the end. I think Ivan Ilych died happy but kind of struggled with the fact that he could have been closer to his family and yet doesn’t fully make that connection. Secondly I believe that the book portrays a theme of making the most of what you have while you have it, it will not always be around and you should definitely not take things like that for granted. Lastly I believe this book bleeds a sense of determination. I am a pretty determined person but it just goes to show in the book that if you work hard, make connections, and are willing to put up a fight for your dreams, you will be able to reach your goals no matter how many obstacles you face.

    Reccomendations: I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a book to make them more determined in life or would like a quick but fairly good read.
    Creative Piece: I believe that Praskovya and Ivan Ilych could have had a very good relationship had they gone into the relationship expecting the same from each other. In the beginning I feel like this was successful but towards the middle of their lives and marriage, Praskovya begins to fall apart and depended on Ivan Ilych far more than she should have and that’s when the large strain fell upon their relationship.

    1. Your Life Applications were really good. I like how you related them to finding peace and determination! Great Job on the summary too, short but concise!

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  4. My biggest question is what is the significance of the fact that he is dying the entire book until he actually does? There has to be some type of reasoning, whether it's supposed to help you realize that yes, everyone is dying every day, but if you live your life thinking that you are dying instead of about living, then you are going to waste your life away until the day you do die. And that is the end. No do overs, no second chances.

  5. Summary:The death of Ivan IIych is about the death of a man well known. The people who cared for him were told that Ivan was dead by Ivan’s cousin in the middle of the Krasouski trial. Ivan died due to a “small thing” with his vermiform that turned into a big thing. He had to eat certain meals and get many injections. His servant Gerasim helps him out and is there to talk to him whenever he needs too. People come and visit Ivan but he still feels alone. He can’t accept that he is dying; he thinks he’s to strong. His wife Praskovya try’s to be there but he shuts her out and tells her to let him just die alone. One night he had a dream that he was stuck in a black sack and couldn’t get out. That was the last thing he thought about before he died, peacefully.
    Biography:Leo Tolstoy was a Russian novelist who lived during 1828-1910. Leo lived in the upper levels of Russia. He was a part of the Crimean war and wrote his first novel in the army. After the war Leo traveled to Europe. Where he then moved back to his home town and married and had 13 kids. Leo Tolstoy passed away in 1910 nearby a railroad station after having a fight with his wife.
    Critical Lens:The lens I chose was the reader response perspective. I thought this book was good about showing Ivan’s true feelings about death. I really went through a few emotions through this book. Some happy, some sad, and some just didn’t know what to do. But it made the book more interesting to read.
    Life Applications:The three things I got out of the reading was the showing of inner life vs. outer life. It taught how to have the right life for you. And the descriptive imagery it had was awesome. When the story was telling about the dream it did an awesome job describing what was happening which made you able to see it through your own head.
    Recommendation:The people that I think should read this book are the people terrified of death. Because it can show them that you can come to accept it.
    The creative piece I chose was to write to Ivan.
    Dear Ivan,
    Your story was inspiring. You stuck through as long as you could with your sickness. Knowing you’re going to die would be one of the hardest things to ever do. You had many people caring for you but were happier alone. Therefore, you let them all know. You were a strong man and finally put yourself out of misery. I believe your story could help some people get the understanding about death.

  6. I like the summary of the book. I bet it was hard for Ivan to understand that all life has a end. And that one must pass for new life to begin. Also not to take life fro granted. It must of been a horrible dream to have right before his passing. Its good that you let your emotions lead to through the book. its a better way to connect with the author and the characters surrounding the book. I also enjoyed the creative piece, the letter you wrote to Ivan.

  7. Summary of Novel: Its about a man who is very wealthy and has a good life going for him, but he suddenly finds out he has come down with a sickness. No one knows the exact sickness and his symptoms are very strange. Everyone is trying to help him when in reality they are only doing things for themselves and to make them happy. After all he is very wealthy and makes a lot of money. The story just goes on and on about how everyday he is dying, until the day he dies.

    Biography of Author: Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9th, 1828 in Russia. He primarily wrote novels and short stories, when he wasn't working as a junker for the army he worked on a autobiographical called Childhood, He also wrote War and Peace, Tolstoy died at the age of 82 in 1910. He died of pneumonia at a train station.

    Lens (The Reader Response Perspective): What I took from the reading is that you should never take your life for granted. Even though Ivan knew he was dying. It didn't stop him from continuing his day to day activities. He still went to work and supported his family. I thought the book was going to be a little different. More of like an action packed book on a murder or something of that nature. It really disappointed me and was quit boring.

    3 things I gleaned from the reading: I learned to never take life for granted. Enjoy your time with family and friend, and respect them at all times. Finally don't let something negative bring you down.

    Recommendation: I don't know if I would recommend this book to anyone. As I found it easy to read its just very dull and boring. Unless you like stories that are very predictable and dull, then this book is probably a good read for you.

    Creative piece:
    I- incredibly smart
    V- very wealthy
    A- angry when gotten sick
    N- never quits

    L- loves life
    L- lives life to the fullest
    Y- youthful
    C- court; works for
    H- hopeful

    1. I really liked your three things that you learned from the novel, those three things can relate to anyone. The creative piece that you wrote I also really liked because you described the main character's characteristics so, for someone like me who hasn't read the book, I can get a better understanding about him. I think you did a really good job Allison!!

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    3. The book itself doesn't seem too bad, It sounds kind of depressing though. It sounds like it does give you reason to enjoy life, and be grateful for all we have. I enjoyed reading your book talk, it wasn't boring and you were honest about how you felt about the book. I especially liked your creative piece at the end. It was a very well written and a great description of Ivan Llych. Well done Alison.

    4. Thank you for the summary Allison! I'm glad you let all of us know how boring it was so we don't have to read it! The 3 things you took from the story were very good and they are life lessons you can always carry with you. I also liked the lens you used because we could see your perspective of the book. Overall, good job!

    5. I think book sounds like it would be boring to read. I like that you were honest by saying it was boring and dull. I like how your creative writing piece describes the characters and what you learned from the book. Good job!

    6. Your summary was very to-the-point and there wasn't very much opinion evident from you, which is probably a good thing considering the summary is supposed to be solely regarding the book. It was also written in a fashion that delivered the point.

      The author biography was also quick and simple; the detail in both the author's side work and how he died was enlightening, which is something that I enjoyed.

      The description of what you gleaned from the reading and your reader response lens was insightful towards what you thought specifically about the novel and the actual gleaning was also there as well. Both bases were hit.

      For some reason the recommendation made me laugh a little bit, mostly because I didn't expect a recommendation like that. As implied, it was brutally honest.

      Your creative piece seemed to have described the different themes of the novel along the novel's title, which is a bit cliche but it's still fairly interesting to see different things you picked up on in the writing.

  8. Madison Astgen
    Part 1

    The story starts out with the death of Ivan Ilych. The judges in court announce the death and friends and family attend Ivan’s funeral. His friend Peter is taken back with everything at the funeral. He finds himself thinking about the meaning of life and why people are faced with suffering. The story then goes back about thirty years and describes Ivan’s life. Ivan was one of three sons. He valued his education and continued to work hard in his career and try to increase his position in his work place. He never thought that he would get married, but he actually did find his wife, named Praskovya. Ivan didn’t mind being married, but then Praskovya got pregnant with their first child. Since her pregnancy Ivan put a lot of his focus into his work and started to drift away from his wife and family. Ivans job positions had them moving around a lot, but they finally settled in a house they were satisfied with. Ivan soon started to experience discomfort in his side and a weird taste in his mouth. He would visit doctors, but they would all say something different. Praskovya just saw it as an illness, but Ivan knew that he was dying. Praskovya could never fully understand what Ivan was going through. The only people that understood him were his son and Gerasim. As time passed, Ivan found himself looking back at his life and realizing that he didn’t live it correctly. He felt that his childhood brought him more joy and as he grew older, his life became more painful and pointless. Through his suffering, his son sat by his bedside and Ivan stretched out and died.

    Author Biography:
    Leo Tolstoy was a Russian writer who mainly wrote novels and short stories. He is also known as a moral thinker and a social reformer. Tolstoy's parents died when he was young, so he and his siblings were brought up by relatives. He married a woman named Sophia Andreevna Behrs, who was 16 years old. Tolstoy died in 1910, at the age of 82. He died of pneumonia at a train station, after feeling ill when he left home in the middle of winter. There were a few films made about Tolstoy’s life after he had died.

    Lens #1- The Reader Response Perspective
    I think the meaning that the author is trying to get across is that you have to choose to live your life the correct way. You have to have your priorities straight and focus on what really matter in life. Ivan’s main focus was his work and his higher positions. As soon as he was dying and looked back at it all, he realized that he had chosen the wrong way to live his life and he thought that was the reason why he was suffering now; almost as a punishment. Ivan seemed to have no connection with his personal life, only with his official work life. He didn’t want to get married, but he figured “Why not?” He would purposely stay away from home and invite others over when he was home. Ivan didn’t life his life the right way and his focus was on all the wrong things and that’s what I think that author was trying to show.

  9. Madison Astgen
    Part 2

    3 Life Applications:

    1. I learned that if you don’t live your life the right way, you might have to suffer alone in the end. Ivan didn’t care much about his family or his wife in the beginning and then he was dying alone without many people caring about him.
    2. I learned that you shouldn’t be afraid of death. It is going to come eventually and everyone is going to experience it. Gerasim wasn’t afraid of death. He just said that you had to look at your life and make sure that you lived it the right way.
    3. I learned that you shouldn’t live your life only thinking about yourself and gaining power and pride for yourself. Ivan tried to gain positions at his work place and that only left him by himself with a family at home.

    I thought that this was a pretty good book. It moves sort of fast, but it is easy to read and it definitely makes you think about death and your life as a whole. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about morals and life lessons.

    Creative piece:

    Dear Ivan Ilych,
    I think that you deserve to suffer the way that you did. When your wife needed you when she had your child, you were more focused on work. I know you cared about her, but you were rarely there for her. You didn’t really have your priorities straight. You said that you wanted a nice job so that you could support your family, but all the moving and traveling could have torn your family apart. I’m sorry that you had to suffer and go through all of that pain, but now you looking back at your life and regretting it. You know that you lived it wrong, and I’m glad that you realized that. It’s sad that you can’t go back and change the things that you did. Now you just have to accept it all and hope that your family will be fine without you. I wish you could have lived a better life.


    1. I think you connected themes from the book to what we did in class, but didn't say it straight forward with references. It seems like it was close to "The Stranger" and just Unit 2 in general. I thought your creative piece was also well done and interesting.

  10. I think that Ivan's suffering was, in fact, his own doing. The things he chose to focus on, such as his work and the daily toil, caused him to lose all zeal and happiness. Near the end of the book, when he actually focuses on people besides himself, is when he is truly happy and then dies peacefully.

  11. I think you did a good job specifing the required bullet points of the report. I found it interesting reading your point of view on the book and glad you went into as much detail as you did instead of just being vague about the book. Over all I think you understood the concept of the book well and did a good job of getting your opinion acrost.


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