Refer to by Tolstoy. Write a 750-1,000 word paper that an…

Refer to by Tolstoy.  Write a 750-1,000 word paper that analyzes the story of Ivan Illych in terms of concepts of the “healing environment”  Be sure to address the phenomenology of illness and disease (i.e. the personal “what it is like” of illness and disease) in the paper. In conclusion, provide a personal analysis of your own experience with illness and disease and how several factors colored that experience.


In Leo Tolstoy’s novella “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” the story revolves around the protagonist’s journey through illness, the healthcare system, and ultimately, his own impending death. This paper aims to analyze this narrative in terms of the concept of the “healing environment.” It will also explore the phenomenology of illness and disease, delving into the personal experience of suffering. Finally, it will conclude with a personal analysis of my own encounter with illness and disease, reflecting on various factors that influenced that experience.

Analysis of the Healing Environment in “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”

The healing environment refers to the physical, social, and psychological aspects of healthcare that promote well-being and recovery. In “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” Tolstoy provides a critical examination of the healing environment, highlighting its deficiencies and shortcomings. Ivan’s illness is not only a physical ailment but also a reflection of the social and psychological structures that shape his experience.

From the onset, Ivan’s illness is shrouded in secrecy and denial. The characters around him, including his wife and colleagues, avoid discussing his deteriorating health openly. This lack of transparency creates an environment where Ivan feels isolated and detached from his loved ones. The healthcare system perpetuates this secrecy, with doctors keeping their patients in the dark about their condition. This lack of information denies Ivan the opportunity to understand his illness and actively participate in his healing process.

Furthermore, the physical environment in which Ivan receives medical care exacerbates his suffering. The stark, sterile hospital rooms devoid of warmth and personal touch reflect the dehumanizing nature of healthcare. The nurses and doctors attending to Ivan are detached, often treating him as a mere case rather than a human being. The impersonal interactions and clinical atmosphere contribute to Ivan’s feelings of fear, loneliness, and despair. This sterile environment fails to provide the emotional support and comfort crucial to the healing process.

The phenomenology of Illness and Disease in “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”

The phenomenology of illness and disease refers to the subjective experience of the individual living with a health condition. In “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” Tolstoy explores the anguish and existential crisis that Ivan faces as he confronts his mortality. Through Ivan’s perspective, the reader gains insight into the physical pain, emotional turmoil, and existential dread that accompany a terminal illness.

Initially, Ivan’s illness is perceived as an inconvenience, something to be overcome and pushed aside. However, as his condition worsens, he becomes acutely aware of his mortality. The pain Ivan experiences intensifies, both physically and emotionally. He wrestles with the realization of his impending death and grapples with the meaninglessness of his existence. This existential crisis is a fundamental aspect of the phenomenology of illness, as it illustrates the profound impact that a health condition can have on an individual’s perception of self and the world.

Personal Analysis of Illness and Disease

On a personal level, my experience with illness and disease was marked by various factors that colored that experience. Like Ivan, I faced the secrecy and lack of transparency within the healthcare system. The absence of information about my condition left me feeling powerless and disconnected from my healing journey. Additionally, the physical environment in hospitals was sterile and impersonal, which intensified my feelings of vulnerability and fear.

The phenomenology of illness was also evident in my experience. Initially, I felt an overwhelming sense of shock and disbelief, followed by physical pain and emotional turmoil. As the reality of my diagnosis sank in, questions about the meaning of life and the purpose of my existence consumed me. This existential crisis forced me to confront my mortality and reevaluate my priorities and values.


In Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” the narrative serves as a critique of the healing environment and provides insight into the phenomenology of illness and disease. Ivan’s journey through illness illustrates the deficiencies of the healthcare system, the impact of the physical environment on well-being, and the existential crisis that accompanies a terminal illness. Drawing from my own experience, I recognize the importance of transparency, emotional support, and addressing the existential dimension of illness in creating a healing environment. Through a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on the individual’s physical, social, and psychological well-being, we can strive to provide a more compassionate and effective healing environment.