Use Psychoanalytic Criticism to Analyze “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” – PLEASE READ IN

Use the theory of Psychoanalytic Criticism to analyze Leo Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”. Find two scholarly essays using the MLA Bibliography to provide a context for your analysis. Give a rationale for your approach, which might be one you are interested in or your sense that the critical approach will help you to understand the story more fully. Be sure to include a working thesis.


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First, mention that the story appears to have grown out of Tolstoy’s own awareness of his mortality and his struggles to understand how to live a meaningful life. Then, let go of all references to Tolstoy’s life and intentions. The rocking back and forth between the story and Tolstoy distracts attention from the real work of this project, which is to analyze the story.


Second and similarly, drop all the general references to “medical practitioners” and “medicine.” The story is not finally an advice column to help doctors deal with dying patients. It is more a meditation on the spiritual dilemma that death presents to life. One thing that might help you to clarify your thinking would be to add a clear thesis to the introduction.


The thesis would also give you the point that you will want to refer back to as you discuss various sections of the story. In other words, all your points should work to support, demonstrate, or prove your thesis. You may be feeling some frustration, wondering how to formulate a thesis. I would recommend looking back over your notes about and underlinings from “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”; then spend some time reflecting on what this story has to say about life and death.



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