The Death of Ivan Ilyich Essay Prompts

I compiled a list of essay prompts for my 9th grader to work on. As you may know if you are a reader of this blog, this year our family studies focus on Russian and Ukraine. You can read more, and find out what books she has been reading here.

I compiled these from various websites, and decided to share this list for others either using The CMEC, or otherwise studying The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

The Death of Ivan Ilyich Essay Prompt Options:

Compare Tolstoy’s novel, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and the Russian State based on your reading about the Romanovs and the Russian Empire. 

Discuss a prominent  theme or themes from The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Discuss how in The Death of Ivan Ilych, Tolstoy mounts an attack on the Russian middle class. Give specific examples of characters and which traits Tolstoy seeks to criticize.

What markers does Tolstoy give to show that Ivan and his family are part of the middle class? Be specific.

What are the characteristics of the Russian middle class as Tolstoy portrays it in The Death of Ivan Ilych?

What is this propriety that seems to be so central to Ivan’s social set? What kinds of things are proper to them? Why does Tolstoy seem to think there’s something false about this?

Is Tolstoy’s depiction of the middle class believable, or too exaggeratedly negative and satirical?

Human experiences can be both unique and universal. How does studying your prescribed text deepen your understanding of this notion? 

Discuss the relation between a meaningful life and mortality in the Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Discuss Gerasim and the Romanticization of Poverty In The Death of Ivan Ilych.

Leave a Reply