The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

by

Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Tereza takes after her mother, physically and in other ways. At times, the narrator thinks of Tereza’s life as “a continuation of her mother’s.” Tereza’s mother often looked in the mirror, too, and that is what she was doing the day she decided to leave Tereza and her father. Tereza’s father, however, was soon arrested by the Communist police for “harsh statements,” and Tereza was sent back to her mother, who had remarried and had three more children. From then on, whenever Tereza’s mother looked in the mirror, she thought she looked “old and ugly.” 
Tereza’s life as “a continuation of her mother’s” is another example of eternal return in the novel. As Tereza is so much like her mother, the two women are something like different repetitions of the same basic pattern. Tereza’s mother believes that Tereza and her father have stolen her youth, and she abandons them because of it. Tereza’s father’s arrest for “harsh statements” suggests that he did not support the regime, and his anti-Communist sentiments led to his unfair imprisonment.
Themes
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon