The Death of Ivan Ilych and The Sun Also Rises Analysis

“Lie”

The short story “The Death of Ivan Ilych” and the novel The Sun Also Rises have different from each other structure, scenery, and protagonists. “The Death of Ivan Ilych” is told by the author, “omniscient”. Per Kelly “If there is no limit to what the narrator knows, if he can eavesdrop on the minds of characters and reveal their unspoken thoughts, we call him omniscient” (xiv). In difference The Sun Also Rises is told by the protagonist. The narrator, limited omniscient, is the character of the novel and everything was shown based on his thoughts and views. The underline of each story is the “lie” and how it leads characters’ lives.

In the story “The Death of Ivan Ilych” many lies have been accepted by characters as a truth. The lie starts from the begging of the story when Ivan Ilych’s coworkers learned about his death. Their thoughts and actually pronounced words were complete opposites. Tolstoy states, “receiving the news of Ivan Ilych’s death the first thought of each of the gentlemen in the privet room was of changes and promotions” (15). Tolstoy also exposes that the coworkers were “acquaintances” and “so-called friends”, but not true friends. Even the persons, who Ivan Ilych considered “friends”, had one thing in their mind how to benefit from his death. “[T]he more intimate Ivan Ilych’s acquaintances could not help thinking that they have to fulfill the very tiresome demands of propriety by attending the funeral service” (Tolstoy 16). They were so fake friends that, the attending to the funeral had only far-sighted reasons.

Ivan Ilych’s life was full of lies and dishonesty. Everything started from his work and society that he was in. Throughout the story, Tolstoy shows how power and good connection help to get things that people are not qualified. “[Ivan Ilych] set off for one of the provinces where, through his father’s influence, he had been attached to the Governor as an official for special services” (Tolstoy 23). He started to act and do things that bring him good reputation and respect. Tolstoy affirms that “[he] picked out the best circle of legal gentlemen and wealthy gentry living in the town” (25). His life started to be just show off and every action was done for societies’ reaction, even getting married and having a family. “To say that Ivan Ilych married because his social he fell in love with Praskovya Fedorovna would be as incorrect as to say that he married because his social circle approved of the match” (Tolstoy 26). These all made the “accepted lies” bigger and bigger.

The realization about lies came to Ivan Ilych when he got sick. The fist realization accrued to him in a visit to a doctor. He was accepting that doctor was avoiding his questions and overlook something like he used to do on the court. “The doctor put on just the same air towards him as himself put on towards an accused person” (Tolstoy 35). When Ilych’s condition became worst many more thoughts came to his mind. He had additional time to think and realize that his life was filled with many lies. Every small thing was irritating and inflaming to him. He could find any relief in his relatives. The only pleasant person for him was his “butler’s young assistant, Gerasim”. In the story, Tolstoy represented Gerasim as a person who lived good and clean life. Grasim was in Ilych’s side most of the times and Gerasims’ “sleepy, good-natured face” made him think that he lived his whole life wrong. He realized that everything in his life was false and there was nothing real to him. “It occurred to him that . his professional duties and the whole arrangement of his life and of his family, and all his social and official interests, might all have been false” (Tolstoy 60). At the end of his life, Ivan Ilych understood that his life was not what he would want it to be. He was feeling sorry for his wife and kids, especially for his son.

The novel The Sun Also Rises is told by the main character, Jake. In this novel, all the characters are living in the lies. Even though the whole time in the story Jake talks about other people, he describes him and his fillings. “Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. He cared nothing for boxing, in fact, he disliked it, but he learned it painfully and thoroughly to counteract the feeling of inferiority and shyness” (Hemingway 11). Jake hade some insecurities which he was showing by describing Cohn. Jake is slightly concerned about the violence and fighting happened with Cohn, and it feels that Jake have feelings of inferiority too. Later in the novel, we find that Jake was in a war. “‘You’re not a bad type,’ she said. ‘It’s a shame you’re sick. We get on well. What’s the matter with you, anyway?’ ‘I got hurt in the war,’ I said.” (Hemingway 23). A conversation between Jake and Georgette brings in Jake’s injury and how the war has influenced his life but keeps some things uncovered and shaded.

The barrier between Jake and Brett gets quite clear at the end of the novel. “‘Oh, Jake,’ Brett said, ‘we could have had such a damned good time together.’ Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Isn’t it pretty to think so?’” (Hemingway 250). The policeman, cars being slow downed and stopped symbolically represent that their relationship is not going anywhere and they are not going to be together. Furthermore, Jake’s somewhat skeptical and unpleasant response demonstrates that he has no impressions about their relationship. It looks as if he respected the circumstance that a relationship between himself and Brett would have been improbable to end otherwise than any of her other unsuccessful relationships.

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