His sterile life is all form and no substance. He takes pride in “excluding his personal opinion and observing every prescribed formality” (Chapter 2, para 10) in his work. The power and trappings of his office, stripped of any human dealings, is what matters most to him in life. The same attitude is seen in his personal life. He marries Praskovya Fedorovna, not for love, but because it seemed the “correct” thing to do. He has absolutely no empathy towards her needs during her pregnancy or for the role of fatherhood later. All he requires from their marriage is the domestic comfort and “the propriety of external forms required by public opinion” (C 2, p 23). He selfishly confines himself within his “separate, fenced-off world of official duties” (C 2, p 23). He strives to achieve an aloofness from his wife, which permits him to go his own selfish way. The meanness of his life is revealed by his pleasures: ambition, vanity, and bridge! Ivan Illych’s attitude towards life is reflected in the attitude of others towards his approaching death. His colleagues are only concerned about the consequences of his death on their careers and promotion. Peter Ivanovich, like Ivan Illych himself, is governed by propriety and pays his condolence call only to satisfy social decorum. . The Death of Ivan Illych by Leo Tolstoy.
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