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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Life, Consciousness, Existence

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is both a work of philosophy and a work of fiction. Pages of philosophical exposition are intertwined with several intricate plotlines. The narrative supports and...

Sex

The Unbearable Lightness of Being presents a forceful and very particular view of sex. In this novel, sex is always about power and never about equality; one person always has control over the othe...

Love

In some sense, The Unbearable Lightness of Being is an epic love story. Love is certainly a battle in this novel, which becomes a particularly apt metaphor given the stormy backdrop of political an...

Identity

The characters in The Unbearable Lightness of Being are interesting because the narrator admits to having created them. They are fictional beings, he explains, born of a metaphor or an idea that en...

Power

The Unbearable Lightness of Being takes a look at power relationships in love, sex, and politics. The sexual and romantic battles of the novel's four main characters parallel the political and soci...

Language and Communication

The Unbearable Lightness of Being explores the miscommunication that passes between a man and a woman in a relationship together. Kundera uses the metaphor of musical compositions with repeated mot...

Time

Much of the philosophical content of The Unbearable Lightness of Being begins with the idea of eternal return, or the notion that our lives are repeated ad infinitum throughout a circular passing o...

Betrayal

In this novel, betrayal is not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, betrayal is defined as "going off into the unknown" and frequently equated with an individual's rebellion against totalitari...
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