How does Tolstoy end the novel with a feeling of hope?
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Iván Ilych's final moments are not depressing or painful, but full of hope. As full as the novel's world is of hypocrisy, as devoid as it is of real love, Tolstoy offers an alternative. Compassion and living fully can both be done even when there is no time left, and the protagonist's acceptance of both compassion and mortality means that his death can be a happy one. Sincerity, pity, and compassion are all marks of a good life, and breaking through to them is possible even on one's deathbed.