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Between Good and Right Life

In Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Illyich, it conveyed to us that human nature completeness is felt in the heart as emotions of love and care fill our empty being. As Illyich nears death, he experienced anguished emotions where he realized that his human associations were merely formal social interactions rather than genuine human interactions. The missing sentiment within cannot be denied and he felt that the reality of living in the human world does not meet the eye. He always lived a right life of what pleases others but never what is a good life.

Ivan Illyich realized that his whole quest in life was nothing and not meaningful. All his hardships and efforts were toward material things that will die with him if he dies. He then understood that immaterial things are better because they could stay forever even if he dies. He realized that glare of publicity goes with our grave and dies along. Illyich contemplated that he has lived faultily. He cannot accept the truth that he has errors in life that need to be corrected soon. He knew that some are to be left as they are because he cannot do anything on them anymore.

Though he is aware of the reality that to make things easier in his last moments, he has to accept that in actual fact he committed errors but he denied it to himself. The reality truly bites but it must be reflected that it would soon heal though the scars will remind us always to avoid repeating the same mistake again. Illyich death occurred when he climbed the ladder and hanging decorations. This symbolizes that when we reached the peak of our lives surrounded by the fine-looking and elegant fancies, it is when we meet our greatest downfall.

From that fall, we recognized the path we took and what when wrong. We must not wait for our downfall to occur to recognize what has gone astray. From this great novel, it taught us that we must let go all rationalizations of the events in our lives. From the beginning, we already knew the life we should take. But we are usually blinded and became numb of the truth that is already before us when we are under earthly obsessions. Our happiness therefore lies on the road we decide to journey.

Reference Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Illyich. New York: Bantam Classics, 1987.

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