National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read
The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

by Leo Tolstoy

The goal of the artist is not to solve a question irrefutably, but to force people to love life in all its innumerable, inexhaustible manifestations.

Schedule/Lesson Plans

This is a suggested teaching schedule for a 10 class study of Leo Tolsoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Lesson plans and handouts can be downloaded individually by clicking on the name of the file in the schedule below. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these files.

Audio Guide CDs are available only for the communities participating in The Big Read. If your community is participating, contact the lead community organization to receive a free Audio Guide CD. Non-participating communities can listen to the full audio online.

Day One
Focus: Biography
Day One Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Two
Focus: Culture and History
Day Two Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Three
Focus: Narrative and Point of View
Day Three Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Four
Focus: Characters
Day Four Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Five
Focus: Style and Genre
Day Five Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Six
Focus: Symbolism and Figurative Language
Day Six Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Seven
Focus: Character Development
Day Seven Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Eight
Focus: The Plot Unfolds
Day Eight Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Nine
Focus: Themes of the Novella
Day Nine Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Ten
Focus: What Makes a Great Book?
Day Ten Lesson Plan [PDF]


Handout 1: Russian Names [PDF]
Handout 2: The Code of 1864 [PDF]
Handout 3: The Rebirth of Ivan Ilyich [PDF]

Download all ten lesson plans and handouts [.zip]

Page numbers refer to the Bantam Classics 1981 edition of The Death of Ivan Ilyich, in the Lynn Solotaroff translation.

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