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WLA Analysis of a Key Passage from Milan Kundera(TM)s The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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World Literature Assignment Assignment 2c: Detailed Study Analysis of a Key Passage from Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being Key Passage: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera Part Seven: Karenin's Smile Chapter 7, p. 306 - 307 "She had stepped behind a tree trunk so that none of the men by the pick-up could see her. Standing there observing him, she suffered a bout of self-recrimination: It was her fault that he had come back to Prague from Zurich, her fault that he had left Prague, and even here she could not leave him in peace, torturing him with her secret suspicions while Karenin lay dying. She had always secretly reproached him for not loving her enough. Her own love she considered above reproach, while his seemed mere condescension. Now she saw that she had been unfair: If she had really loved Tomas with a great love, she would have stuck it out with him abroad! Tomas had been happy there; a new life was opening for him! And she had left him! True, at the time she had convinced herself she was being magnanimous, giving him his freedom. But hadn't her magnanimity been merely an excuse? She knew all along that he would come home to her! ...read more.


What follows this quote is an outburst of guilt, condemnation and self-destructiveness from Tereza, which is not utterly surprising, because we have come to know Tereza's character and seen that she is a very "heavy" person, a person who takes every detail and ponders whether it has some implications on just about anything concerned with her, but yet it still stands out. Tereza is a "heavy" character, yes, but during the course of the novel she comes to a place where she is yearning for "lightness", she wishes she could be more carefree, not worry herself sick about all those little details, which wear her down. She cannot bear what the "heaviness" is doing to her, or more specifically, what the "heaviness" in her is making her do to herself. It was quite clear from the beginning that Tereza was dependant on Tomas - her life was spinning around him. However, even though she was undeniably sure of her love for him, she still had her doubts. His infidelity drove her mad with jealousy. She saw the flaws in him - she was not blinded by her love for him completely and she did not let herself become a fool by pretending to be oblivious to his affairs. ...read more.


The significance of this passage lies with two features of it: a certain consistency in the novel due to the fact that her character traits confirm her identity as what Kundera calls a "heavy" person - the weight is slowly pressing her down; but on the other hand a particular inconsistency in Tereza's character comes to the surface. Under all those vices and character faults that she talks about those that she brings up to make her feel fragile, those also lead her to see that in fact she learned how to use her weaknesses as strengths to get what she wanted. She still is this pathetic character, but she finds power in it. "We all have a tendency to consider strength a culprit and weakness the innocent victim. But now Tereza realize that in her case the opposite was true! Even her dreams, as if aware of the single weakness in a man otherwise strong, made a display of her suffering to him, thereby forcing him to retreat." At the brink of her life Tereza sees that she indeed accomplished something, even though it was not her intention deliberately. Word Count: 1 009 1 Kundera, M. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1984, ISBN 0-571-20083-4 ?? ?? ?? ?? 000771 - 047 - 1 - ...read more.

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