The Year of Magical Thinking

The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Plot Overview

The Unbearable Lightness of Being opens with a philosophical discussion of lightness versus heaviness. Kundera contrasts Nietzsches philosophy of eternal return, or of heaviness, with Parmenidess understanding of life as light. Kundera wonders if any meaning or weight can be attributed to life, since there is no eternal return: if man only has the opportunity …

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Part 1: Lightness and Weight

Summary Kundera immediately poses the key paradox of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the paradox of lightness versus weight. He asks what follows from the assumption that man may try only one path. If man cannot try different paths, and weigh them again st one another, does that mean that human life is characterized by …

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Part 2: Soul and Body

Summary Part two of The Unbearable Lightness of Being examines the story of Tomas and Tereza—precisely the story we read in Part I—from Terezas perspective. Arriving at Tomass flat for the first time, Tereza feels humiliated by her rumbling stomach. She feels that the soul and body are entirely separate entities; she has always hated …

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Part 3: Words Misunderstood

Summary We meet Tomass lover Sabina again, this time just as she is joined by another of her lovers, Franz, a good-looking and guilt-ridden married professor. He suggests a trip to Palermo, but Sabina refuses. She pours them wine, and removes her clothing; she leads Franz to the mirror, and places the bowler hat on …

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Part 4: Soul and body

Summary In this section, we rejoin Tereza and Tomas after their move back to Prague. Their life together continues with its familiar mix of personal and political turmoil. Tomas listens to a radio program sponsored by the police, who play tapes from dissidents bugged apartments. Tereza rises every morning to have breakfast with Tomas, despite …

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Part 5: Lightness and Weight

Summary In Part 5, we return to Tomas after his departure from Zurich and arrival in Prague. His boss, the chief surgeon, asks him to sign a paper retracting an article he wrote in 1968. In the politically dangerous article, Tomas used the tale of Oedipus to write an article criticizing the Czech communists. (Note: …

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Character List

id=”Tomas”> Tomas –  The chief protagonist of the novel, a brilliant Prague surgeon and intellectual. Having divorced early and lost contact with his ex-wife and son, Tomas is a light-hearted womanizer who lives for his work as a ctor. After falling in love with and marrying the emotionally needy Tereza, Tomas finds himself trapped between the …

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