The Death of Ivan Ilyich: Novel Summary: Chapter 7

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In the third month of his sickness, Tolstoy explains, everyone in the household realizes that Ilyich is embarrassed by the trouble he is causing them, and he only seeks to know how long it will be until he frees them of the "discomfort caused by his presence.."
His only comfort, Tolstoy continues, is his servant, Gerasim.  This, "clean, fresh peasant lad" is cheerful around his dying master and truly seems to sympathize with him.  Most importantly, Gerasim accepts the fact that Ilyich is going to die, while everyone else in the house (besides his son, Vasya, who also understands him) accepts the lie that he will eventually get better if they pretend his illness will someday go away.

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