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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


by Milan Kundera

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Love Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Michael Henry Heim's translation.

Quote #7

Before long, the crow stopped flapping its wings, and gave no more than the twitch of a broken, mangled leg. Tereza refused to be separated from it. She could have been keeping vigil over a dying sister. In the end, however, she did step into the kitchen for a bite to eat.

When she returned, the crow was dead. (5.21.8-9)

This scene illustrates the dependence brought on by loving someone else. Tereza is similarly dependent on Tomas.

Quote #8

They started back to the car in silence. She was thinking about how all things and people seemed to go about in disguise. An old Czech town was covered with Russian names. Czechs taking pictures of the invasion had unconsciously worked for the secret police. The man who sent her to die had worn a mask of Tomas's face over his own. The spy played the part of an engineer, and the engineer tried to play the part of the man from Petrin. The emblem of the book in his flat proved a sham designed to lead her astray.

Recalling the book she had held in her hand there, she had a sudden flash of insight that made her cheeks burn red. What had been the sequence of events? The engineer announced he would bring in some coffee. She walked over to the bookshelves and took down Sophocles' Oedipus. Then the engineer came back. But without the coffee! (4.26.1)

This passage emphasizes the parallels between the political/military/historical content of the novel and its love stories. We start to see love and sex as a war with its own enemies, allies, spies, secret police, tactics, victories, losses, surveillance, infiltration, advances, retreats, and secret codes.

Quote #9

But in Tomas's country, doctors are state employees, and the state may or may not release them from its service. The official with whom Tomas negotiated his resignation knew him by name and reputation and tried to talk him into staying on. Tomas suddenly realized that he was not at all sure he had made the proper choice, but he felt bound to it by then by an unspoken vow of fidelity, so he stood fast. And that is how he became a window washer. (5.6.17)

"Fidelity" is an important word in this passage. Tomas, who has never even considered being faithful sexually to his wife, feels bound to an idea by a sense of fidelity.

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