Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 5, Chapter 18

By Milan Kundera

Part 5, Chapter 18

  • This holiday from medicine was also a holiday from Tereza. They really only see each other on Sundays. Tomas worries about her, since he hasn't been around to take care of her.
  • One Sunday, they go for a drive to the country and find an old town re-labeled with Russian names.
  • There, he meets with a former patient of his. Tomas feels his old life coming back to him.
  • Driving home, Tomas considers what a mistake he made coming back to Prague from Zurich.
  • He's furious with Tereza for being responsible for it, and angry at the fortuities that led to their being together.
  • A terrible silence grows between them. They don't talk all the way home or during dinner or before they go to bed.
  • Tereza wakes up crying in the middle of the night.
  • She tells Tomas she had a dream that she was buried, and that she only came out of the grave each week when Tomas came to see her.
  • Then he was away for a month to be with another women, and when he came back she was so tired and weary that he didn't like the way she looked.
  • He told her she needed a holiday, and she knew he meant that he wanted to be with another woman.
  • Tomas tries to comfort her. "He thought he could not endure his love" (5.18.14).\
  • The weight of her grief makes him feel as though he is about to have a heart attack.
  • She goes back to sleep, but he cannot. He can only imagine that Tereza is dead, and that he is unable to wake her.