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The Death of Ivan Ilych
by Leo Tolstoy
Praskovya Fedorovna Golovina Timeline and Summary
We meet Praskovya Fedorovna at Ivan's funeral, where she asks Peter Ivanovich to have a chat with her. Her main interest appears to be learning how to get more money from her widowhood. We learn of Praskovya Fedorovna's marriage to Ivan in one of the provinces during their younger years. She falls in love with him because of his dancing. Their marriage is initially easy and pleasant. When Praskovya Fedorovna becomes pregnant with her first child, her mood changes for the worst. Changes in Praskovya Fedorovna's behavior and attitude drive a wedge between her and Ivan. Ivan spends less time at home as a result. After Praskovya Fedorovna's child is born, Ivan continues to retreat and Praskovya Fedorovna grows to dislike him still more. Praskovya Fedorovna bears Ivan several more children, and loses all but one of them. The couple is able to have a "truce" once Ivan finds a job and a house in St. Petersburg. When she arrives in Petersburg Praskovya Fedorovna is totally enchanted by the new house. Praskvovya Fedorovna and Ivan continue to get along as they both try their hand at home decorating and make new friends in St. Petersburg. Things sour between Praskovya Fedorovna and Ivan Ilych when he falls ill. Praskovya Fedorovna decides she hates him and doesn't mind if he dies (except that she doesn't want to lose his salary). She also forces him to see a doctor. When Ivan returns from his first doctor's visit, Praskovya Fedorovna is unworried and goes out shopping with Lisa. As Ivan grows increasingly ill, Praskovya Fedorovna decides his illness must be his own fault for not taking adequate care of himself and not following the doctors' orders. Praskovya Fedorovna is told by her brother one day that Ivan looks like a dead man; Praskovya refuses to believe it. When she next sees her husband, she is extra careful to give him an exceptionally kind look. Later that night she comes upon Ivan banging at his night table. One morning, Praskovya Fedorovna calls in a specialist to have a consultation with Ivan's regular doctor, Michael Danilovich. That night, Praskovya Fedorovna and the rest of the family go out to the theater. Returning from the theater, Praskovya Fedorovna gives Ivan some opium to help with his pain. Four days before Ivan's death, Praskovya Fedorovna comes to tell Ivan that Lisa's suitor Fedor Petrovich has proposed. Later in the day, she brings in a priest for Ivan to take communion. When she asks if it helped, Ivan screams at her, and keeps screaming for three days. Praskovya Fedorovna is present with Ivan on his last day as he dies. He apologizes to her, and has her take away Vasya.