in what way do most of the characters ignore or deny death?
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Ivan Illich'wife and daughter, whose weak bond with the main character, are more interested in their social life and the daughter's fiancée. The doctors seeking a cure, do not deal with life and death issues. His friends think more on their promotion.
Only his nurse, and son care really about him. The only one who truly faces and accepts death is his nurse/servant.
Ivan Ilyich's daughter and wife most noticabally ignore death. Other characters are the doctor, and Ivan's "friends." All of these characters are more interested in thier social life: thier jobs, there looks, and thier promotions. All of these characters visibally try to deny the fact that Ivan is dying. By ignoring this fact, Ivan begins to feel like a burdan to those he loves, causing him even more pain.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy