This story begins by describing Ivan Akimovich as a good, successful and helping man. He is loved and respected by everyone. Ivan is a merchant by profession and also the foreman of a jury in the city court.
As the story is flowing smoothly, Tolstoy introduces suspense. One day, during a jury trial, Ivan refuses to be a member of the query and starts crying. Intrigued, the judge lets Ivan leave.
Later on, Ivan tells the judge about his own childhood. Parts of his childhood was troubled. However, this particular story story is filled with the innocence of young Ivan. Tolstoy beautifully describes the situation of young Ivan trapped in a situation because of another person. This is the turning point in Ivan's life. One person's decision will decided what will become of Ivan. The act of forgiveness and acceptance by a stranger leads to what Ivan is today.
The story is about forgiveness and love. Tolstoy asks rehtorically: is it possible to judge anyone?