• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The role of animals in The Unbearable lightness of being

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Medora Choi 28th July, 2009 What role do animals (Karenin, Mefisto, the crow, the cows, etc.) play in the philosophic structure of The Unbearable Lightness of Being? In Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the role of animals is always the opposite of the behavior of human being in the philosophic structure. For example, when a human character such as Tomas is experiencing heavy weight, the animals will always be the opposite --- lightness. In this novel, the relationship between of body and soul plays an important part in the role of animals. Tereza had always seen body and soul as one under the influence of her mother "where youth and beauty mean nothing, where the world is nothing but a vast concentration camp of bodies one like the next, with souls invisible" (47), until the day the engineer "lured her up to his flat" (152). Kundera contrasts the "excited" "soul" with the "betraying" "body" revealing the tension between the body and soul. (155) She also understood that "the soul for the first time saw the body as something other than banal" (155) that "this was not the most ordinary of bodies; this was the most extraordinary body" (155). ...read more.

Middle

The look that Karenin gave was not just a loyal and dutiful look, it was a stare. The most frightening thing was "he did not look that way at Tomas" (300), but only at her. "it was not a desperate look, or even sad" (300). "It was a look of awful, unbearable trust. The look was an eager question. All his life Karenin had waited for answers from Tereza, and he was letting her know that he was still ready to learn the truth from her" (300). This stare proved that Tereza taught Karenin how to love and learn, to have an inner soul inside the body that came out the dying body; hence, she had filled in his empty space. It happens again when Tereza named a heifer, and it is a human being's advantage to grant souls to animals, because "having a name is a sign of a soul" (290). Therefore, once Tereza named her Marketa, a soul comes along as a side order, building up their relationship to the next level. Throughout the novel "weight" exemplifies characteristics of humans; whereas "lightness" reflects qualities similar to those of animals. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Tereza see the crow buried alive, it represents weakness, reflecting Tereza's own fate, for she is always drawn to weakness. Tomas and Tereza have never believed in eternal return, so their lifetime goal is to march onward, and make progress. On the other hand, Karenin has always committed to a happy weightless routine. As the novel comes to the end, they each once again learn from each other, Tomas and Tereza move to the country where "it was a harmonious world; everyone came together in one big happy family with common interests and routines" (282). It proves that their contradictions connect to each other, which make them a happy family. Through this novel, animals demonstrate their status and present the role often as opposites of the human beings in order to fill in the missing gaps. Kundera first show how human beings have souls while animals have none; he then show how human beings define weight whilst animals are as light as a feather; following up by human beings as strength opposing to animals as weakness; lastly, he makes a point that human beings only march onward while animals go around the cycle, eternally returning to their routines. Hence, the role of the animals is the opposite of the behavior of the human beings. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

In sections of this essay some very good points are made; however in some paragraphs there are too many quotes that just follow one another without being explained. Using specific textual references is very important but they need to support points and then be explained rather than just listed.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 14/10/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. Brother Sebastian in the novel Lamb by Bernard Mac Laverty

    anything but nice feelings, it makes you feel the "Home" is more like a Prison and the boys were not there to be reformed but there for Punishment. At the beginning of this novel I admire Sebastian for being nice to the "inmates" and especially to Owen who is the

  2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    It is ironic that Haddon uses a character that cannot lie to mislead the reader. Furthermore, it is paradoxical that Haddon chose a protagonist to be a person that cannot lie in a book based on lies.

  1. An Analysis of Old Major's Speech: Animal Farm

    He emphasises the corruption of man with regards to these matters. This ultimately leads to the animals anger and outrage at the humans, further uniting them against man. He says, "You cows...how many thousands of gallon of milk have you given during the last year?

  2. how does one kate chopin introduce the themes of crossing boundaries in Beyond the ...

    As she crosses the bayou she is essentially crossing the boundary of isolation to social acknowledgement. As La Folle crosses the bayou, her state of mind is reflected in the language; Chopin employs various literary devices to convey La Folle's conflicting and contrasting emotions.

  1. Romeo & Juliet - How is tension created

    marriage, "Then hie you hence to Friar Lawrence' cell: There stays a husband to make you a wife." Juliet rushes to Friar Lawrence's cell. Romeo and Juliet get married. This marriage between Romeo and Juliet will lead to major conflict between the two households if they find out, especially if Tybalt finds out about it.

  2. How important are ideas of parentage and family in the play?

    to her daughter unless he manages to "produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over". To back up her decision she further clarifies that neither herself nor Lord Bracknell would ever allow their only daughter "to marry into a cloak-room, and form an

  1. Is The Nightingale and the Rose (Oscar Wilde) just a child's fairy tale or ...

    Does it have a deeper, more complex meaning than what first meets the eye? Is it merely a sophisticatedly written fairy tale or could it be a social criticism aimed at adults? Wilde himself, states it is meant for children, but then later contradicts himself.

  2. Explore the relationship between Mariam and Laila in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled ...

    Hosseini evokes a relationship between the two characters through the theme of love and sacrifice. The theme of love portrayed by Hosseini can be seen in almost every aspect of the story, one of which is acceptance. Laila accepts Mariam as a ?harami?(Pg4), and never thinks of her as ?a weed? (Pg8)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work