The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
Guest Dr. Tim Revell
Here are some questions for the next book if you want to add something or if i missed something please feel free to add to.
Death and Dying
How does tolstoy invite the reader to enter into the death and dying of a not so likable character? Why does Ivan avoid looking at his own illness that is encountered much earlier in the book specifically after the fall from hanging the curtains? Often the death and dying process is presented in a much calmer way, here the dying process is full of suffering so much so that Ivan's wife doesn't visit him. Why? and What can we learn from this as Christians? What is the role of the doctors in the story? Do they make this process easier or more difficult?
Through out the book Ivan is referred to as living up to other peoples expectations from his days of sowing wild oats, to his time as a lawyer and working as a judge, What kind of man does this make you think he is and why? Does Ivan have hopes dreams and aspirations, or only others expectations? The only overtly religious act in the story, occurs because his wife begs him to go to communion, after the encounter with the priest he begins his length of screaming and wailing why?
In many ways Gerasim is the only person who shows kindness and he doesn't have to as a paid servant. Discuss. Which scene of Kindness/gentleness resonates most deeply and why? How can this be an impetus to show kindness to those in our lives who are sick or dying? Are the other characters so afraid of death that they are prevented from showing kindness?
Spirituality of Illness
Is there a Christian spirituality in being chronically ill or caring for someone chronically ill? if so what is it? How is it displayed or not displayed in the book? In the story where is Christ at work? How does the religious scenes work for advancing a spirituality of illness or do they?