Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 4, Chapter 6

By Milan Kundera

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Part 4, Chapter 6

  • Tereza leaves the sauna room to get dressed. She looks at herself in the mirror and decides that, unlike the woman with large breasts, there's nothing monstrous about her body. She's glad she has small breasts, but she dislikes her large nipples.
  • The narrator asks what would happen if Tereza's body changed – would she still be herself?
  • Yes, he answers. Her soul inside would still be the same. If this is true, he asks, then what is the relationship between Tereza and her body?
  • These are the questions that Tereza has been asking herself since she was a little girl.
  • They are questions with no answers, and they are serious.
  • Questions with no answers, says the narrator, are the questions that "set the limits of human possibilities" and "describe the boundaries of human existence" (4.6.7).
  • Tereza, still staring into the mirror, is disgusted by her body, because it "lacks the power to become the only body in Tomas's life" (4.6.8).
  • She believes that it is because of the inadequacy of her body that she has to smell another woman on Tomas all night long.
  • Tereza wants to dismiss her body so that she can stay on with Tomas only as a soul.

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