a1 Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB# 3210, Hamilton Hall, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599–3210, U.S.A.
Leo Tolstoy's short story, The Death of Ivan Ilyitch, is considered as a case history of a seriously flawed life and a consequently inept coping with death. Never having truly lived fully, never having been committed to passionate love or work, Ilyitch in his dying review finds his experience absurdly empty. His death comes to be seen as superficial and meaningless, like his life. It is suggested that people need to be educated for life's failures and death's inevitability.