The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 2, Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Anyone who aspires to “something higher,” like Tereza does with her obsession with books, will suffer vertigo. Vertigo, the narrator says, is more than just the fear of falling. Vertigo is “the voice of the emptiness below” that entices one to fall. The naked women marching around the pool rejoicing in their soullessness are what lures Tereza, and she is ready to dismiss her soul and sing with them.
Here, Tereza considers surrendering her soul and willingly becoming just a body. The contrast between “something higher” and the fear of falling is another dichotomy. By falling—in this case, in love with Tomas—Tereza closes the distance between high and low, again obliterating it and making the difference between seeming opposites meaningless. 
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