The present research has identified that symbolism is a common stylistic device used by Leo Tolstoy in his book The Death of Ivan Ilych. The first major symbolism used in this book is the space and time running amok. Leo begins his story with the funeral of Ivan. The story begins after the death of a major character and then the next two chapters focus on his 44 years of life while the last nine chapters are dominated by the events in his last months. The narrator in some occasions focuses on a specific day. sometimes he describes, the way Ivan was for a period or during his illness for instance months, weeks or days. A close look at the text reveals the space and the way time elapses. The time spent in the book shrinks continuously. For instance, chapter 2 of the book covers over 40 years, the next chapter details events in just three and half years and the following chapter deals with months while the very last chapters address the events of the weeks. Near the end of the final chapter, the narrator asserts that Ivan had his experiences of the revelation in just a single instant and the meaning of that instant did not change. The space in this book shrinks as well. In chapter 2, much time is covered and the physical setting in the chapter is colossal. In the course of it, Ivan moves through to various provinces. In chapter 3, the setting is St. Petersburg where Ivan finds his home. In the subsequent few chapters, the actions unravel inside the house although Ivan still moves around the city for instance to work and to see a doctor among others.
Another symbolism that is reflected in this book is the black sack. There are two appearances of the mysterious narrow, deep and long black sack in this book. It appeared for the first time in chapter 9 after Ivan was given opium. Ivan felt as if he was moving via a narrow, deep and long black sack while he was in the haze of the opium. Although Ivan was afraid of what is there, he wanted to reach down and was falling slowly and painfully. He all over sudden goes to the bottom and wakes up eventually to return to his senses. The first thing he does is to give a listening ear to his soul and make considerations of having led his life wrongly. The black sack shows up at the end of the book for the second time during the three days of Ivan’s screaming. Specifically from the book: He struggled as a man condemned to death struggles in the hands of the executioner, knowing that he cannot save himself. (12.3) He gets a similar experience as the first time.
The other aspect of symbolism in this book is the ladder. Ivan rises through to the social class from the beginning of the book. The truth and reality downs on him towards the end of the last chapters and he finally ends up dead. Ivan was knocked down to reality. As the narrator details the narrative, Ivan climbs the social ladder but he slowly faces the reality as the chapters elapse towards the end. Ivan felt the anguish at the end of the book when he finally dies. For instance, He felt that his agony was due to his being thrust into that black hole and still more to his not being able to get right into it. That very justification of his life held him fast and prevented his moving forward, and it caused him most torment of all. (12.3)
This symbolism, the black sack, is connected to the theme of inevitability of death. Even though Ivan never wanted to reach the bottom, he finally