The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 1, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Despite Tomas’s attempts to convince Tereza that the other women in his life mean nothing, Tereza can think of little else. In her sleep, she cycles between three nightmares. In one nightmare, cats claw at Tereza’s face and body (the narrator points out that “cat” in Czech slang means “pretty woman”), and in another, Tereza is marched naked around a pool with other naked women as Tomas gives them orders and shoots them one by one. In Tereza’s third dream, she is dead.
The naked pool dream reoccurs throughout the book, another example of eternal return in the novel. Tereza is obviously feeling threatened by Tomas’s mistresses, thus she is dreaming about “cats,” or “pretty women,” attacking her. Her dreams illustrate Tomas’s power over her—he has the ability to make her completely miserable and wish she were dead.
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon