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The Unbearable Lightness of Being
by Milan Kundera
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 3, Chapter 6 Summary
Franz's wife, Marie-Claude, is throwing a party at their home. She owns a private gallery and has invited all the artists who display work in it. We get a good sense of Marie-Claude's character when she tells a group of captive guests that, after she was in an accident, she enjoyed her time in the hospital because she got to read day and night. Franz knows that she fell into a deep depression in the hospital and complained incessantly. Franz is nervous waiting for Sabina to show up. Marie-Claude has met her before, but in general Sabina avoids the woman, who doesn't know about the affair. Franz's eighteen-year-old daughter, Marie-Anne, is also at the party, acting rather rudely toward an artist with whom she is conversing (she's whistling while he talks to her). Franz resents that his daughter is so much like his wife and wishes that she could be more like him instead. Sabina shows up. Marie-Claude greets her and then declares that the pendant Sabina is wearing is terribly ugly. Everyone laughs, and it's clear Marie-Claude didn't mean to be combative. Franz wonders why his wife said this, and realizes that she did it because she is socially above Sabina. Sabina depended on Marie-Claude to show her work in the gallery, but Marie-Claude did not depend on Sabina. Her comment served the purpose of reinforcing the balance of power between them.
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