Ivan Ilyich's Life And The Pursuit Of Happiness

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Thomas Jefferson wrote that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were unalienable rights when he drafted the Declaration of Independence in June 1776. Those famous words led the thirteen colonies into the American Revolution and influenced the French and Haitian Revolutions in the years that followed. But what does life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness really mean? Webster’s dictionary defines life as being a quality that distinguishes a living being from a dead body. It also states that liberty is a quality of being free. Although the pursuit of happiness is not specifically defined in a dictionary, it can be summed up as pursuing the things that are enjoyable to you and living a life that makes you happy. Regardless of those …show more content…

Nevertheless, right up to his death, he lived what he believed to be a happy life. After completing the School of Law favorably, Ivan attained a position with the special service to the governor's office. He enjoyed performing his duties with dignity and “amused himself pleasantly and decorously” (Tolstoy 747). While living life to its fullest, Ivan met, fell in love with, and married Praskovya Fëdorovna. He felt that his marriage to Praskovya was the “right thing [to do]” and provided him with “personal satisfaction” (747). Like all people who pursue happiness, Ivan fought through several unhappy periods during his life. After the birth of his first child, Praskovya became very jealous. Even so, Ivan was determined to pursue happiness and disregarded his wife’s unpleasantness. He “continued to live in his usual easy and pleasant way” (749). When people are unsuccessful in finding happiness in their lives, they adjust their plans to help attain happiness. Ivan forged ahead in his pursuit by placing more importance in his life on his work duties. This helped him “grow to like his work better and [he] became more ambitious than before”

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