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 5, Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Within a few days, Tomas is again sent to the tall woman’s house to clean windows. When she answers the door, she already has a bottle of wine and two glasses sitting out. Tomas commands her to “Strip!” and she replies “No, you first!” Tomas isn’t exactly sure how to respond to such a woman, but he takes his clothes off anyway. He has never been with a woman who is taller than him, and when he leaves her apartment, he is pleased that he has added another curiosity to his collection.
Tomas isn’t sure how to respond to the tall woman’s command to strip because he is not used to a woman exerting power over him. She tells him what to do, and Tomas obeys, which is a complete power reversal when compared to his relationships with Tereza and Sabina. Still, he leaves feeling like he has nonetheless conquered the woman, which hints at how important it is for Tomas to maintain a sense of power—even when he’s technically the one being ordered around. 
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon