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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

by Milan Kundera

Identity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

But then it occurred to her that she was actually being sent to him by Tomas. Hadn't he told her time and again that love and sexuality had nothing in common? Well, she was merely testing his words, confirming them. She could almost hear him say, "I understand you. I know what you want. I've taken care of everything. You'll see when you get up there." (4.15.4)

It's interesting that Tereza equates being sent to the engineer with being sent to her death in her dream. Tereza's commitment to weight and rejection of lightness is so much a part of her identity that to break with her lifestyle choice would be tantamount to death.

Quote #8

What is unique about the "I" hides itself exactly in what is unimaginable about a person. All we are able to imagine is what makes everyone like everyone else, what people have in common. The individual "I" is what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed at or calculated, what must be unveiled, uncovered, conquered. (5.9.5)

It's interesting that Tomas seeks to find an individual's "I" through sex. Tereza, on the other hand, believes her "I" to be her soul, buried inside her body. But remember that Tereza, too, discovers her "I" while making love to the engineer.

Quote #9

"Tomorrow?" And suddenly Tomas recalled the portly policeman handing him the denunciation of none other than this tall editor with the big chin. Everyone was trying to make him sign statements he had not written himself. (5.13.54)

In a way, Tereza is asking Tomas to sign something he did not write, by asking that she be the only woman in his life. She's pushing him to sign up for a lifestyle that he would never choose on his own.

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