The Death of Ivan Ilyich: Novel Summary: Chapter 3
It seems the main goal of Ilyich's life is to increase his social standing via career promotions. The prospects of such promotions consumes both his and his wife's lives. After several years of waiting and hoping, he does finally receive the government position he wants. The family moves, buys more material goods, and he and Praskovya Federovna even stop fighting for a time. Tolstoy explains, "But on the whole his life ran its course as he believed life should do: easily, pleasantly, and decorously."
Taking a fluke fall in his house, however, Ivan Ilyich bruises himself, thinking that it's nothing. Unfortunately, this freak accident will hurt him more than he will ever believe.