The Death of Ivan Ilyich: Novel Summary: Chapter 12

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In this section, Ilyich begins his 3-day long screaming spell.  He continues his "struggle" with the black sack, as he sees himself being pushed further and further downward.  Just two hours before he dies, he finally comes to grips with the fact that he has indeed failed to live his life as he should.  Tolstoy narrates, expanding his metaphor: "It was at that very moment Ivan Ilyich fell through and caught sight of the light.."
Though he comes to this realization almost too late, he still believes that he can find meaning in his life, and find atonement.  He finally resolves himself to the fact that he must die, finding solace, not in his own actions, but in God.  He no longer fears his fate but willingly accepts it as God's will.  Truly, he suffers his way into truth.

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