Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 7, Chapter 1

By Milan Kundera

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Part 7, Chapter 1

  • We backtrack to a time when Tereza and Tomas were still living.
  • They purchased a tiny cottage and are now living in the country. They are safe there, because no one is interested in the political lives of people living in the middle of nowhere.
  • Tereza is happy to be away from the other women and her fears about the secret police.
  • She and Tomas are finally alone, together.
  • Tereza imagined that the country would embody the image she had of it in her mind from books she used to read as a child. But under Communism, she finds that it breaks from this ideal.
  • It's not as communal and kindhearted as she imagined, and certain things (like celebrating Church holidays) are forbidden.
  • Instead of reveling in their lifestyle, the people who live in the country long to live in the city.
  • This, explains the narrator, is why the secret police have no power over the people who live there – the people in the country have nothing to lose, and so they have no fear.
  • For this reason, they live in freedom.
  • Tereza and Tomas are the only ones who came to the country voluntarily.
  • They become good friends with the collective farm chairman, the man who was Tomas's former patient. He owns a pig named Mefisto that he treats like a pet dog.
  • Karenin quickly makes friends with Mefisto.
  • Tomas gets a job driving a pickup truck that brings the farm workers and their equipment out to the fields every day.
  • Tereza takes cows out to pasture every day, and reads while they graze.
  • Karenin is the happiest of the three of them because he likes the regularity of their new schedule.
  • One day Tereza notices that Karenin is limping. It turns out that he has a lump from cancer.
  • Karenin has an operation to remove the cancer.
  • When he recovers from his operation, Karenin wakes in the middle of the night and jumps up on Tomas and Tereza's bed, wanting to cuddle.

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