The Death of Ivan Ilych

Mourn Me Not: An Exegesis College

Ivan Ilych's funeral, like all funerals, is not his own. While it is held in his honor, and he provides the token corpse for the occasion, each person experiences his funeral in the same self-centered way that they experience his death. Pyotr Ivanovich, one of Ivan Ilyich’s colleagues and closest friends, is no exception. Ivan Ilyich’s funeral is an undesirable trip across the river, and everything about the occasion makes him uncomfortable. When Pyotr arrives at the apartments, he is in no rush to get inside and see the neither the corpse nor Ilyich’s grieving family. Feigning chivalry but truly just dreading making an entrance, he “let the ladies go ahead of him and slowly followed them up the stairs” (41). When Pyotr sees Schwartz, another colleague of Ilyich’s, he assumes without speaking that Schwartz is hanging around in order to arrange a game of vint for the evening. This supposition is referred to as “obvious” (14). Though Death of Ivan Ilyich features a third person omniscient narrator, the narration often zooms in to give a more detailed and personal point of view of one of the characters. The narrator is also untrustworthy in the sense that what he states is not fact; it is fact as one character, Pyotr in this case,...

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