The Death of Ivan Ilych


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“It’s not a question of appendix or kidney, but of life and…death. Yes, life was there and now it is going, going and I cannot stop it. Yes. Why deceive myself? Isn’t it obvious to everyone but me that I’m dying, and that it’s only a question of weeks, days…it may happen this moment. There was light and now there is darkness. I was here and now I’m going there! Where?”

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A chill came over him, his breathing ceased, and he felt only the throbbing of his heart. “When I am not, what will there be? There will be nothing. Then where shall I be when I am no more? Can this be dying? No, I don’t want to!” He jumped up and tried to light the candle, felt for

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“But if that is so,” he said to himself, “and I am leaving this life with the consciousness that I have lost all that was given me and it is impossible to rectify it—what then?”

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At the moment he answered his wife he realized that he was lost, that there was no return, that the end had come, the very end, and his doubts were still unsolved and remained doubts.

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“The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens … Henceforth, I shall never serve any government anywhere.”

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direct forerunner to A. S. Neill’s Summerhill School, the school at Yasnaya Polyana can justifiably be claimed to be the first example of a coherent theory of democratic education.

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the consequences of being a pacifist, and the apparently inevitable waging of war by government, are the reason why he is considered a philosophical anarchist.

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“The Anarchists are right in everything; in the negation of the existing order, and in the assertion that, without Authority, there could not be worse violence than that of Authority under existing conditions. They are mistaken only in thinking that Anarchy can be instituted by a revolution. But it will be instituted only by there being more and more people who do not require the protection of governmental power … There can be only one permanent revolution—a moral one: the regeneration of the inner man.”