The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 2, Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

In an attempt to differentiate herself from the drunk patrons she was forced to serve in the restaurant, Tereza read as many books as she could, even more than most university students. Living in Prague, Tereza found a job in a darkroom, and before long, she was promoted to photographer. Tomas took her out to celebrate, and he became jealous when she danced with another man. Tereza saw Tomas’s jealousy as proof of his love and came to view it as a sort of prize. Tereza was jealous, too, of Tomas’s mistresses, but he didn’t see her jealousy as a prize. To Tomas, Tereza’s jealousy was a heavy “burden.” 
Tomas’s reference to Tereza’s jealousy as a heavy “burden” again brings up eternal return and the idea of lightness and weight. According to Nietzsche, as outlined in the book’s opening, that which returns is the “heaviest of burdens.” Tereza’s jealousy is repetitive, and it weighs heavy on Tomas and their relationship (even this section of the book is repetitive—the reader has already heard this part of the story in previous chapters). Tomas’s jealousy completely invalidates his argument about the separation of sex and love. While dancing is certainly not sex, it still implies a meeting of bodies, and Tomas is clearly threatened by Tereza dancing with another man. This again underscores the ambiguity of language, as Tereza and Tomas’s definitions of jealousy are different.   
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon
Lightness, Weight, and Dichotomies  Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon