Books and Movies Reviews

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Ideas of Lightness and Weight in The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The title The Unbearable Lightness of Being represents a major theme that reoccurs throughout the book.Milan Kundera centers this theme on the relationship between Tomas and Tereza, the main characters.His writing centers on with whom and what his characters identify themselves with(Day).They are a married couple live in Prague during the Russian occupation.They have a bizarre relationship; Tomas cheats on Tereza incessantly, believing that “…the only relationship that can make both partners happy is one in which sentimentality has no place and neither partner makes any claim on the life and freedom of the other”(Kundera 12).This is the type of “lightness” of attitude Tomas exhibits throughout the novel.Conversely, Tereza is prone to “heaviness,” meaning she carries weight wherever she goes and in everything she does.These two ideas shape the relationship between the two.The ideas are often at odds and cause problems for Tereza and Tomas.However, the ideas also explain why they are together and what makes them stay together.
It is impossible to explain the ideas of lightness and heaviness in this novel without discussing existentialism.Existentialism is “a term that designates a concern in philosophy, literature, and art with the irreducibly personal and subjective aspect of human existence” (Existentialism).There is a definite emphasis on the individuals in this novel.The reader is concerned with how bearing all of this weight will wear Tereza down.At the same time, the reader has compassion for Tomas not being able to live a life of lightness because of Tereza.He is undeserving of this compassion for two reasons: he is a habitual adulterer, and he asked Tereza to marry him.The emphasis on Tomas and Tereza’s ability to make their own choices is evident when Tomas decides to return to Prague after Tereza leaves him in Zur…


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