— Sumi Paul
Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”, is about a man who spends his whole life trying to get higher and higher in his career path. However, it is only when he is in his deathbed that he realizes the mistake he made throughout his life. Instead of focusing on the things that matter, such as building a connection with family, he spent his whole life trying to make money and showing everyone around him that he has a wealthy status. He works on decorating his house to send a message to his neighbors and colleagues that he has a high status. To him his status was the most important thing. However, the more closer he comes to death, he comes to realize how he lived his life all wrong. He realizes how alone he felt. His loneliness becomes more severe because his family neglects the fact that he is dying. They thought everything was fine with him and that he would eventually get better. Throughout the story, Ivan continuously believed that he lived a good life, which is what prevented him from getting into that black sack. Finally at the end, he reaches an epiphany, and realizes that he lived his life all wrong. He realizes that he gave importance to the wrong things and he should have focused more time on building a relationship with his family. At the end of the story, he realizes that his wife and children will live the same life like he did and he feels sorry for them. He comes to the realization that all the things he put his focus on throughout his life were just artificial things and they do not come with him while he is dying.
This text can connect to how people are feeling being quarantined during the Covid-19 pandemic. People are given a second chance to reevaluate the things that are important to them and take a step back from those artificial pleasures in life. People, like me, are realizing that we took advantage of what we had at the moment. We took advantage of enjoying being out with family and friends. We did not cherish those moments like we should have, and now that it is gone, we can only look back at what we had. We focused so much of our time trying to build a career, that we lost sense of what is really important. We forgot to enjoy the moments while we were there. Like Ivan, we came to this realization when life and death was on the line. Due to this pandemic and the fear that death can come knocking any day, we reflect on our lives and realize how we should have enjoyed the time we had when we were able to be outside. This quarantine, however, does allow us to have a second chance to do things right. It allows us to build a relationship with family and allows us to have time to reflect on what we should give more importance to. It allows us to have a chance to fix our mistakes. It gives us a realization to enjoy the moments while they are still there because at any moment it could all be gone. This story brings to light that money and wealth means nothing when you are dying. It is the memories that you make throughout your life that you can take with you.