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 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Tereza always gets up to have breakfast with Tomas, even though she works until midnight. If she didn’t get up for breakfast, she wouldn’t see Tomas until Sunday, so she gets up early each day and goes back to bed after he leaves for work. One particular day, the narrator says, Tereza doesn’t go back to bed because she has an appointment at the sauna at 10:00 o’clock.  
By this time, both Tereza and Tomas have lost their professional jobs. They are both considered part of Czechoslovakia’s intelligentsia, who were heavily persecuted during the Cold War. By suppressing ideas and those who have them, the regime can better control the masses.
Themes
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
Tereza walks to her appointment because she hates the crowded trains. On her way to the sauna, it begins to rain and umbrellas fill the streets. The men are polite and move aside to let Tereza pass with her umbrella, but the other women are rude and yell things like “Fat cow!” and “Fuck you!” Tereza thinks back to the women she had photographed in the first days of the occupation. They had paraded around in front of the Russian soldiers (who were forced to be celibate) wearing short skirts and revealing shirts. Tereza had respected those women, but now they seem different. 
Likely, Tereza hates crowded trains because she doesn’t want to be in close proximity to so many bodies, which is also why her trip to the sauna is somewhat perplexing. With her aversion to bodies, Tereza does not seem the type who would be comfortable in a public bathing scenario. The people of Prague are beginning to change with the Russian occupation. Constant oppression and fear has turned them bitter. The women parading around in front of the celibate Russian soldiers illustrates another power struggle. In other words, the Russians may have most of the power, but they don’t have all of it. 
Themes
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon