The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

by

Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 4, Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Tereza comes home from work, it is already late, and by the time she climbs into bed with Tomas, it’s nearly the middle of the night. She leans over to kiss him and smells the unmistakable aroma of another woman’s genitals in his hair.
Kundera is obviously going back in time to before Tereza and Tomas’s accident, again reflecting the theory of eternal return within the novel’s narrative structure. Tomas’s affairs also reflect eternal return, as they seem to be on a continuous loop. 
Themes
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
At six o’clock, the alarm goes off, and Karenin jumps onto the bed, licking Tereza and Tomas. Karenin has been up waiting for hours (as he always is) but waited for the sound of the alarm. Tereza loves starting her day with Karenin, and she grabs his leash for his daily walk. Each morning, Tereza walks Karenin and picks up bread and milk, as well as a roll for Karenin. Back at home, Karenin always eats his roll and plays with Tomas, but this particular morning, Tomas is busy listening to the radio.
Karenin’s predictable life of doing the same exact thing every day of his life again reflects eternal return. Karenin is the only character in the book who is truly happy, and Kundera attributes this to the cyclical nature of a dog’s life. Karenin brings this repetition and happiness to Tereza and Tomas’s lives, and he is the only true source of happiness for them.
Themes
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon