The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Unbearable Lightness of Being can help.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Living in Geneva, Sabina wonders why she should continue her friendships with other Czech emigres. She has nothing in common with them, other than where they come from, and she is excited by the idea of “betraying” their relationship, just as she had “betrayed” her father. Sabina meets Franz on a train to Amsterdam, and when she first sees him, she is overjoyed. She wants to throw herself at him and be his “slave,” but she doesn’t tell him this. Instead, Sabina smiles and tells Franz she is happy to see him.  
Sabina does not view “betrayal” as a negative thing, and when she “betrays” her relationships with others, even her parents, it is to strike out on her own and form new relationships and connections. Sabina views betrayal as a type of adventure, and it is closely tied to who she is. Sabina wants to be Franz’s “slave,” meaning she wants him to exert power and control over her. But Sabina views Franz as weak and incapable of such control, so she doesn’t tell him. 
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon