The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

As a girl, Tereza would stand in front of the mirror and stare at her body. Afraid of being caught by her mother, Tereza only looked at her body in secret. Tereza, however, didn’t at first realize that she was only looking at the vessel of her body, not her soul. She would stare at her features that matched her mother’s and wish them away. Occasionally, Tereza was successful in banishing her mother’s traits from her body, and when she was, Tereza’s soul would rise out of her body along with intense feelings of elation.
Tereza’s mother is at the root of Tereza’s dislike of her body. Her mother sees all bodies as carbon copies of one another, and she thinks of bodies like machines that all function in the same way and excrete the same waste. Tereza, however, is repulsed by the body, which is why she stands in front of the mirror trying to banish the ways her body is like her mother’s. Tereza wants to be a unique individual, and then, Tereza believes, she alone will be enough for Tomas.
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