Study Guide

The Death of Ivan Ilych Chapter 10

By Leo Tolstoy

Chapter 10

  • Two weeks pass. At this point Ivan no longer leaves the sofa. His physical pain hasn't let up, and he hasn't found any answer to those troubling questions. He no longer receives any consolation or hope – from thinking about his kidneys or appendix.
  • He knows he's dying, and there's nothing to be done about it.
  • In this awful, lonely state, Ivan has started to spend all his time thinking of the past, particularly of his childhood.
  • He can at least find some happiness in those memories of times lone gone. But they're so far removed from his present situation that it makes things worse.
  • Ivan's also been unable to shake the idea that his life steadily got more terrible the further he moved from his childhood.
  • It got really bad at the end.
  • Again Ivan wonders why his life has turned out this way, and again it occurs to him that perhaps he hasn't lived as he should have. That would at least provide some explanation.
  • But once more he dismisses that possibility.