Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 5, Chapter 14

By Milan Kundera

Part 5, Chapter 14

  • The editor then congratulates Tomas for his article on Oedipus.
  • Tomas laments that he can't operate anymore, but the editor tells him to think about how many people his article helped.
  • Tomas argues that no, he helped people when he was a surgeon.
  • Now Tomas's son jumps in and says that ideas can save lives too.
  • But Tomas doesn't want to be famous for his idea. His whole was taken the wrong way, after all.
  • He remembers why he wrote it in the first place. It was his image of Tereza as a baby in a basket sent downstream that sent him to the myths of Romulus, Moses, and Oedipus.
  • Tomas's son tells him that it is his [Tomas's] duty to sign the petition.
  • Again Tomas thinks about Tereza – she is the only thing that matters to him now. If he signs the petition, she will continue to be bothered by undercover spies at the bar.
  • Finally, he tells the two men that it is more important to dig a crow out of the ground than send petitions about political prisoners.
  • He knows they don't understand, but he's happy anyway. He's doing what he wants.