Day 1

The Death of Ivan Ilych Lesson Plan

Discussion of Thought Questions

  1. 1

    What does the immediate reaction of Ilyich's colleagues to his death tell you about the society in which he lived? How does this moment set up the rest of the chapter?

    This moment is key in establishing the setting of the novella. It establishes the ambition and emotional vacuity of Ilyich's colleagues, qualities that will later be seen in Ilyich himself. The moment also frames Ivanovich's experience at the funeral, setting a baseline of non-engagement.

    In setting up the emotional world of the story so early, Tolstoy creates space to investigate nuances and particulars later on, within an overarching structure. He sets expectations early, allowing the rest of the story to...

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