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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


by Milan Kundera

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 6, Chapter 23 Summary

  • Everyone needs to be looked at, explains the narrator. We can divide people into four classes based on who they want to look at them.
  • The first group longs to be looked at by the public, by thousands of anonymous eyes. This is the case with the American actress, or the editor with the big chin.
  • The second category wants to be looked at by many known eyes. These are the people, like Marie-Claude, who cultivate large circles of personal friends.
  • The third category is made of people who need to be constantly looked at by the person they love. To this category belong both Tereza and Tomas.
  • The fourth category is the most rare. It comprises those who live "in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present" (6.23.5). This is the case with Franz, who lives for Sabina though she is no longer in his life.
  • We can also put Tomas's son in this category. The narrator decides to call him Simon, since he would appreciate the Biblical name.
  • The imaginary eyes he wanted on himself were the eyes of Tomas. When he found out that his father was, like he himself, living in the country, he wrote him a letter.

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