Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 5, Chapter 23

By Milan Kundera

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Part 5, Chapter 23

  • Tomas dreams that several naked women are winding themselves around him. He extricates himself and goes into the next room, where a half-naked woman on a couch is waiting for him.
  • He's blissful that he found her. She radiates calm and femininity. He's been looking for her all his life.
  • He wakes up, desperate to know who the woman was in his dream. Has he met her before? He can't remember. He decides he has never met her, that she is the es muss sein of his love.
  • He remembers the myth from Plato that says that man used to be a hermaphrodite until God split him into man and woman. This woman must be his other half.
  • Suppose this is true, the narrator says, and Tomas does later meet his other half. Should he really choose her over Tereza?
  • Tomas knows that he would not be able to stand Tereza's grief if he chose the other woman.
  • Choosing this woman over Tereza would mean betraying his own es muss sein for Tereza.
  • He looks at her beside him in bed and is overwhelmed by his love for her. When she starts to wake, he lulls her back to sleep.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 5, Chapter 23 Study Group

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