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The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Learning Target:
Analyze passages for tone in order to
evaluate the theme of the story.
When it comes to The Death of Ivan Ilyich it might be
best to take one step back at this point and reflect
upon the author’s purpose.
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What is Tolstoy’s purpose?
In what ways does he convey this message?
What seems to be his emotional state?
How is Tolstoy trying to spark a reaction in the
audience?
• How is this document supposed to make you feel?
What words or phrases show Tolstoy’s tone?
Activity
• Look at three quotes analyzed for tone and
theme. This will help show you what I expect.
• You will analyze the last quote in the same
way the examples are analyzed.
Tone is defined as the writer’s or speaker’s
attitude toward the subject and the audience.
Understanding tone in prose and poetry can be
challenging because the reader does not have
voice inflection to carry meaning.
An appreciation of word choice, details, imagery,
and language all contribute to the
understanding of tone.
To misinterpret tone is to
misinterpret meaning.
Identification of tone leads
to identification of theme.
Words that convey tone
Angry
Sharp
Upset
Silly
Boring
Apologetic
Joyful
Mocking
Nostalgic
Tired
Audacious
Seductive
Proud
Provocative
Sad
Cold
Urgent
Joking
Poignant
Hollow
Peaceful
Sarcastic
Vexed
Frivolous
Benevolent
Restrained
Giddy
Didactic
Sentimental
Fanciful
Complimentary
Condescending
Sympathetic
Childish
Horrific
Sweet
Vibrant
Irrelevant
Dreamy
Somber
Pitiful
Lugubrious
Afraid
Detached
Contemptuous
Happy
Confused
Humorous
Allusive
Objective
Zealous
Bitter
Shocking
Candid
Dramatic
Sentimental
Choose one word that best describes the author’s
TONE in the following quote (look up words you don’t
know):
“…but from early youth [Ivan Ilyich] was by nature attracted to
people of high station as a fly is drawn to the light,
assimilating their ways and views of life and establishing
friendly relations with them. All the enthusiasms of childhood
and youth passed without leaving much trace on him; he
succumbed to sensuality , to vanity, and latterly among the
highest classes to liberalism, but always within limits which his
instinct unfailingly indicated to him as correct.” Page (pg. 12)
 Nostalgic
 Satirical
 Benevolent
 Hollow
“…but from early youth [Ivan Ilyich] was by nature
attracted to people of high station as a fly is drawn to the
light, assimilating their ways and views of life and
establishing friendly relations with them. All the
enthusiasms of childhood and youth passed without
leaving much trace on him; he succumbed to sensuality ,
to vanity, and latterly among the highest classes to
liberalism, but always within limits which his instinct
unfailingly indicated to him as correct.” Page (pg. 12)
 Nostalgic
 Satirical
 Benevolent
 Hollow
THEME
“…but from early youth [Ivan Ilyich] was by nature attracted to
people of high station as a fly is drawn to the light, ...” Page (pg.
12)
 Hollow
If we identify the tone as HOLLOW, the theme
that this quote fits best is…
o Death is inevitable
o Live for what truly makes you happy
o Live a meaningful life, not a superficial one
Theme
• Live a meaningful life and not a superficial
one.
Tone
“With the birth of their child, the attempts to feed
it and the various failures in doing so, and with the
real and imaginary illnesses of mother and child, in
which Ivan Ilyich’s sympathy was demanded but
about which he understood nothing, the need of
securing for himself an existence outside his family
life became still more imperative.” Page (pg. 17)
 Sympathetic
 Happy
 Cold
 Ironic
“With the birth of their child, the attempts to feed
it and the various failures in doing so, and with the
real and imaginary illnesses of mother and child, in
which Ivan Ilyich’s sympathy was demanded but
about which he understood nothing, the need of
securing for himself an existence outside his family
life became still more imperative.” Page (pg. 17)
 Sympathetic
 Happy
 Cold
Ironic
THEME
“With the birth of their child, the attempts to
feed it...” Page (pg. 17)
Cold
If we identify the tone as COLD, the theme that
this quote fits best is…
o Self-interest is not fulfilling
o Death is inevitable
o Live for what truly makes you happy.
Theme
• Self-interest is not self-fulfilling
Tone
“Praskovya Fedorovna listened to all this and appeared to
believe it. She did not contradict anything, but only made
plans for their life in the town to which they were going. Ivan
Ilyich saw with delight that these plans were his plans, that he
and his wife agreed, and that, after a stumble, his life was
regaining its due and natural character of pleasant
lightheartedness and decorum.” Page (pg. 20)
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


Vexed
Somber
Happy
Ironic
“Praskovya Fedorovna listened to all this and appeared to
believe it. She did not contradict anything, but only made
plans for their life in the town to which they were going.
Ivan Ilyich saw with delight that these plans were his
plans, that he and his wife agreed, and that, after a
stumble, his life was regaining its due and natural
character of pleasant lightheartedness and decorum.”
Page (pg. 20)




Vexed
Somber
Happy
Ironic
THEME
“…his life was regaining its due and natural
character of pleasant lightheartedness and
decorum.” Page (pg. 20)
 Ironic
If we identify the tone as IRONIC, the theme that
this quote fits best is…
o Death is inevitable
o Self-interest is not self-fulfilling
o Live for what can truly make one happy
Theme
• Live for what truly makes you happy.
TONE
“In reality it was just what is usually seen in the
houses of people of moderate means who want to
appear rich, and therefore succeed only in
resembling others like themselves..” Page (pg. 22)
 Hollow
 Contemptuous
 Complimentary
 Dispassionate
THEME
“In reality it was just what is usually seen in the
houses of people of moderate means who want
to appear rich, and therefore succeed only in
resembling others like themselves..” Page (pg.
22)
o Choose a theme and write a paragraph
defending your answer.
With a partner
• Share your paragraph
• What tone did your partner choose?
• What theme?
• Were they the same as you? What were their
reasons?
• Were they different? Why?

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