The Death of Ivan Ilych is Ivan Ilych's life story, and it's all about his personal transformation through the experience of death. Though for most of the story Ivan is a pretty unlikable character, it's hard not to relate to the guy. How can we not see some of ourselves in his desires to enjoy a pleasant, ordinary enough life for himself and to impress his friends? And he's fighting against something we'll all come up against eventually: suffering and death. Without help from his family or friends either. Nonetheless, it all appears to be worth something. By the end of the story, Ivan Ilych has become a genuinely good, compassionate human being who's no longer afraid of death and seems to know the answer, even if only for a few moments.