Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 5, Chapter 5

By Milan Kundera

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Part 5, Chapter 5

  • One day, after work, a man who introduces himself as representing "the Ministry of the Interior" comes to see him.
  • He gets Tomas to have a drink with him, and explains that the Ministry is distressed to see so fine a surgeon dispensing Aspirin at a clinic.
  • Tomas is defenseless in the face of all this flattery.
  • The man asks if Tomas really thinks the Communists should blind themselves like Oedipus.
  • Of course not, says Tomas; his original article didn't put it that way.
  • The man starts asking more questions about the people who published the article; he wants to know the name of the editor at the paper.
  • That's when Tomas realizes he is under interrogation.
  • He knows every word he says can put other men in danger. He claims to not remember the man's name. So he starts listing adjectives that in no way fit with the actual editor: tall, black hair.
  • Unfortunately, this describes another man the Ministry is looking for. Tomas has incriminated someone else.
  • The man from the Ministry says he will try and do something for Tomas's current position.

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