Books and Movies Reviews

Ivan Illych

In the Bible the Pharisees were the Jewish upper class. They socialized with the Roman governors and Israel's finest citizens. The Pharisees were the richest and most educated men in the area; they were also the leaders in the Hebrew society. They appeared to be the most successful men of their day, but in reality it was all a smoke screen they used to look successful. The Bible shows that they were hypocrites who only cared for themselves. The Pharisees did not care about their families or their religion. In one instance Jesus was preaching to a crowd of people and said, " Everything they do is done for men to see" (Matthew 23:5). The Pharisees only about how people saw them. Leo Tolstoy's novella The Death of Ivan Ilych focuses on a modern "Pharisee". In the story Ivan Ilych's self-centered formula for success was really a failure. Ivan failed in his family and official life. He also placed too much emphasis on material possessions, and he ruined his social life.
Part of Ivan Ilych's formula for success was to make others think he had the perfect family, but his family was only for show. Ivan married Praskovya Fedornva for social acceptance and not love. When Ivan decides to get married Tolstoy tells us, "To say that Ilych married because he fell in love with Praskovya Fedornva and found that she sympathized with his views of life would be as incorrect as to say that he married because his social circle approved" (525). A lot of "successful" people marry women they don't love because it makes them look good. In the story the only reason Ivan married Praskovya was to improve his social standing in his community.Ivan did not care Praskovya; he only cared about making himself look successful in society's eyes.
Another problem with his family life was that Ivan substituted his work for his family. As his family life started to become difficult Ivan "trans…


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