The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

by

Milan Kundera

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Tomas’s son. Tomas abandons Simon when he is just an infant and leaves him with his mother, a staunch Communist. Once Simon is old enough, he moves out of his mother’s house, leaving both her and the regime. Rebelling against his mother and against Communism, Simon becomes a devout Christian, which is exceedingly rare in the state atheism of the Communist regime. Simon spends most of his adult life trying to reconnect with his father, and after Tomas writes an article, disavowing Czech Communists, Simon and the editor try to get Tomas to sign a petition seeking to grant amnesty to political prisoners. Tomas refuses to sign, and he doesn’t hear from Simon for a long time, until Simon begins sending him letters. Simon longs for the “imaginary eyes” of his father to look at him, and after Tomas’s death, Simon sends letters to Sabina instead so there is still a set of imaginary eyes looking at him. After Tomas’s death, Simon rushes to make his funeral arrangements and has Tomas’s tombstone engraved with the following words: “HE WANTED THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH.” Simon knows that his father would have never said such a thing, but Simon doesn’t care and does what he wants. In this way, Simon is kitsch, as he willfully ignores that which is not acceptable to his world.

Simon Quotes in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The The Unbearable Lightness of Being quotes below are all either spoken by Simon or refer to Simon. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of The Unbearable Lightness of Being published in 2009.
Part 6, Chapter 29 Quotes

What remains of the dying population of Cambodia?

One large photograph of an American actress holding an Asian child in her arms.

What remains of Tomas?

An inscription reading HE WANTED THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH

What remains of Beethoven?

A frown, an improbably man, and a somber voice intoning “Es muss sein!

What remains of Franz?

An inscription reading A RETURN AFTER LONG WANDERINGS.

And so on and so forth. Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion.

Page Number: 277-8
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Unbearable Lightness of Being PDF

Simon Character Timeline in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The timeline below shows where the character Simon appears in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 4
Lightness, Weight, and Dichotomies  Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
...way of living. Tomas, who has long since divorced his wife and abandoned his son, Simon, is a bachelor, and he is unable to sleep next to a woman. He has... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Lightness, Weight, and Dichotomies  Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
...he divorced his wife, and while he initially fought for custody of his infant son, Simon, he quickly decided not to see him anymore either. Tomas’s parents were furious with his... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 10
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon
Lightness, Weight, and Dichotomies  Theme Icon
...Sabina lives in Paris for nearly three years, and then she receives a letter from Simon, Tomas’s son, which informs her of Tomas and Tereza’s deaths. (full context)
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
According to Simon’s letter, Tomas and Tereza had lived the last few years in a small town in... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 13
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
...had mentioned. A second man is present, and Tomas immediately recognizes him as his son, Simon(full context)
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
The editor and Simon do not want Tomas to wash the windows; they want him to sign a petition.... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 14
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
The editor tells Tomas that he really enjoyed the Oedipus article, and Simon comments that some ideas are very powerful. Tomas says that because of the Oedipus article,... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 23
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
...Franz fits, require imaginary eyes. These people are the dreamers, the narrator says. Tomas’s son, Simon, belongs in the fourth group as well, and he is only interested in being seen... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 24
Lightness, Weight, and Dichotomies  Theme Icon
Simon lives in the country like Tomas, and a few years back, he began to send... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 25
Lightness, Weight, and Dichotomies  Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
Sabina receives many letters from Simon, but she doesn’t read them, as she ignores most things from Czechoslovakia. The elderly man... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 28
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
As soon as Simon hears about Tomas’s death, he runs to handle the funeral arrangements. On Tomas’s gravestone, Simon... (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 7
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
...again sitting at his desk with a letter, but this letter is from his son, Simon. Simon has sent many letters over the years, but he gives no return address, and... (full context)
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
Tereza convinces Tomas to invite Simon to visit. They can tell by the postmark which collective farm he lives on, so... (full context)