The Unbearable Lightness of Being - what is your idea about Tereza? Showing of 48
Tomas has a friend and lover Sabina. Sabina gets Tereza a job working in a darkroom at a magazine in Prague. Soon Tereza becomes a staff. Tomas meets Tereza, a waitress from a small Czech town whose Tomas broods throughout the book on the nature of his relationship with. The plot revolves around the various relationships of the four main characters, Tomas, Tereza, Sabina and Franz. The chief main character is Tomas, a Czech.
The ancient philosopher, Parmenides, "saw the world divided into pairs of opposites: The other half he called negative. But is weight positive or negative, and what about lightness? Parmenides assigned lightness as positive and weight as negative. Kundera opens the novel with his reflections on Nietzsche's idea of eternal return, which leads to the discussion of Parmenides' dichotomization of the world.
He concludes this section by asking whether Parmenides was correct or not in his assigning lightness as positive, and weight as negative. That is the question. The only certainty is: It is attractive, but also "unbearable," largely because lightness is so fragile, and so threatened by the weight of existence.
Weight is associated with the idea of eternal return, and the weight of unbearable responsibility. Tomas does not seem to show any familiarity with Nietzsche's concept of eternal return.
He believes that, because life only occurs once, that "[h]istory is as light as individual human life, unbearably light, light as a feather, as dust swirling into the air, as whatever will no longer exist tomorrow. Tomas' reflections on the insubstantiality and meaninglessness of life leads him to conclude that "[t]here is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison.
We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? Freedom is certainly light, and burdens are heavy, but Kundera reminds us that so is the weight of a man's body on a woman's in the act of love. Thus, "[t]he heaviest of burdens is simultaneously an image of life's most intense fulfillment.
Kundera says that "the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. Kundera says that "[s]he knew that she had become a burden to him: Kundera, Early in the novel, Tomas is trying to decide if his compassion for Tereza is necessary, which would imply responsibility, or whether it is mere fortuity, which would mean freedom from the weight of such responsibility.
Tomas makes a spontaneous, not rational, decision for necessity, and now experiences the "weight" of Tereza and her "large and enormously heavy" suitcase.
Kundera, 10 The relationship between Tomas and Sabina is lightness, but Sabina lives more consistently within the code of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being. She wanted to die under the sign of lightness. She would be lighter than air. As Parmenides would put it, the negative would change to positive. Tereza's problem or motif is a dualistic split between body and soul.
Sabina’s Relationships | davidfournier2
Kundera talks about characters being "born of a stimulating phrase or two or from a basic situation. Tomas was born of the saying "Einmal ist keinmal.
Kundera muses that the body, once unfamiliar and alien, has been made familiar by modern medicine, and that "[t]he old duality of body and soul has become shrouded in scientific terminology, and we can laugh at it as merely an obsolete prejudice. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle had much to say about it at length.
Others must have considered it even before it was written down, at least written on the documents that we do have. She looked in the mirror to see "her own "I. When she did, she would stare harder and wish them away. Kundera even links the two to the same motif, such that "her entire life was merely a continuation of her mother's, much as the course of a ball on the billiard table is merely the continuation of the player's arm movement.
Her behavior was very odd, especially for the time period. She would blow her nose noisily in public, talk to people in public about her sex life, and demonstrate her false teeth in public. Her mother had no shame, and would march around the house in her bra, or even naked, with the window open. This behavior, and others, of Tereza's mother, Kundera says, can help us understand Tereza's secret vice of looking in the mirror. It was a longing to be a body unlike other bodies, to find that the surface of her face reflected the crew of her soul charging up from below.
It was not an easy task: Kundera says that it is not the scream of sensuality, which is "the total mobilization of the senses. She supplied drunks with their beer, and ensured that her siblings had clean clothes. Kundera says that one whose aim is "something higher" must expect to experience vertigo someday. Is vertigo the fear of falling? It is the voice of emptiness below us, which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.
Hours later, she fell in the street and injured herself. She began to bump into things, fell almost daily, and at the very least, dropped things. She lived in a constant state of vertigo. This possible, and even necessary, connection of the body and soul is one reason Tereza was unable to fully divorce her soul from her body.
Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Looking in the mirror one day, Tereza thought, "there was nothing monstrous about her body. She began to wonder about her features growing and changing in small ways each day. If she no longer looked like herself, would she still be Tereza? Even if Tereza were completely unlike Tereza, her soul inside her would be the same and look on in amazement at what was happening to her body. Could her body honestly call itself Tereza?
These questions with no answers are serious ones, and Tereza had been asking them since she was a child. Tereza ends up having a liaison with an "engineer" to try and get back at Tomas by becoming like him. In this experience Tereza learns quite a bit about the relationship of her body to her soul.
The touch of his hand on her breast "erased what remained of her anxiety. For the engineer's hand referred to her body, and she realized that she her soul was not at all involved, only her body, her body alone. Her soul has decided to remain neutral, although it did not condone what was happening. Tereza then begins to feel excited by this encounter, as her body responds against her will.
Her soul must remain mute if she is to stay excited. For what made the soul so excited was that the body was acting against its will; the body was betraying it, and the soul was looking on. Her soul retreated to the very depths of her body. Tereza's screaming during Tomas' and her lovemaking subsided with time. Making love with the engineer in the absence of love was what finally restored her soul's sight.
The two are inextricably linked and she can do nothing about it.
The Grand March "The fantasy of the Grand March that Franz was so intoxicated by is the political kitsch joining leftists of all times and tendencies. The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness; it goes on and on, obstacles notwithstanding, for obstacles there must be if the march is to be the Grand March. Kitsch is an aesthetic ideal. Sabina, who best understands Tomas, tells him, "The reason I like you,"…"is you're the complete opposite of kitsch.
In the kingdom of kitsch you would be a monster. It is demonstration protesting that international medical personnel be allowed to enter Cambodia, which is racked by famine, occupation, and war.
The demonstration is a fiasco and Franz is mugged in the streets of Bangkok. He wakes up in a hospital in Geneva with his wife leaning over his bed. He does not survive, and his death is meaningless.
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
- The Unbearable Lightness Of Being – Reading Journal
And so on and so forth. Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion. The characters' lives are shaped by political events, but are not determined by them. For instance, Tomas' and Tereza's return to Czechoslovakia is for emotional, not ideological reasons.
Their deaths, meaningless as they are, like Franz's, are not the fault of the regime, but of Tomas. Tomas won't retract his article not as a courageous act of political defiance, but more from stubbornness and complicated feelings for his dissident son. He allows himself to sink to window-washer partly because he secretly longs to be free from responsibility, "to make heavy go light.
The ethical approach involves a struggle with the self to achieve a consistent, coherent, unified self. According to Kierkegaard the ethical sphere is a higher existence sphere, which involves more freedom.
In the novel, Kundera gives us many examples of the aesthetic. What seems to be lacking is the ethical sphere. Tomas, rationalist that he is, might be said to live in the ethical sphere. He seems to be trying to achieve a consistent, unified self.
Some of the examples of the aesthetic that Kundera gives us follow. Questioning, as well as an activity, is a form of existential being. In fact, that was exactly how Sabina had explained the meaning of her paintings to Tereza: Sabina's inner revolt against Communism is aesthetical, not ethical.
She was repelled by the "mask of beauty it tried to wear — in other words, Communist kitsch. Tomas lived under the hypnotic spell cast by the excruciating beauty of Tereza's dreams.
Having borrowed this book from the library I cannot currently verify the citation. Kundera, The contrast of the aesthetic and the ethical is possibly the one I least understood in this novel. It is a story about survival in the face of a power so overwhelming there is nothing one can do to stop it.❥ Thomas and Teresa - Say something (TDC spoilers)
Tomas survives the loss of his position as a doctor and, along with it, his sense of purpose, in the face of Soviet repression and Czech indifference. The two of them die, together. The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a love story.
It is a story about two people surviving together in the face of a power so overwhelming there is nothing they can do to stop it. It is a story of two people who die together, needlessly and hopelessly in love. The Unbearable Lightness of Being is full of coincidences.
In fact, the novel can easily be read as a treatise on the nature of coincidence. Tomas broods throughout the book on the nature of his relationship with Tereza: The town had several hotels, but Tomas happened to be given a room in the one where Tereza was employed. He happened to have had enough free time before his train left to stop at the hotel restaurant. It had taken six chance happenings to push Tomas towards Tereza. That afternoon a few weeks ago, I too suffered six chance happenings.
I happened to be in Den Bosch. I happened to wander down a small side street and notice a tiny bookshop. I happened to go in and notice a worn copy of a book I had wanted to read for a number of years. I happened to purchase it, planning to put it aside and read it some time in the future. As I read the article, I happened to have the book by my side, so I could begin to read it immediately, before life got in the way. Six coincidences that are not really coincidences.
I choose to walk down street A over street B. I meet a woman on street A I would have missed had I walked down street B.
On Coincidence, Love, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being
We fall in love. We spend our life together. Is my walking down street A and not street B a coincidence? Had I walked down street B and met a different woman and spent a similar life with her, would that have been a coincidence as well? Life, all life, can be read as coincidence, as a series of happenings that could just as easily not have happened. But where does that leave us? Looking back, like Tomas, wondering how different things would have been had he chosen street C or street Z. By the end of the novel not the middle of the novel, where Tomas and Teresa are killed, but the end of the novel, where they are hopelessly aliveTomas has stopped his endless questioning.
There is no more what happened to be. There is only what is. In this manner, the experience of reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being is reflected in the text itself.