The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 5, Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

The next day, a private customer requests Tomas specifically to wash the windows, but Tomas is not looking forward to whoever it is. He doesn’t want to be with other women today, as his thoughts are completely focused on Tereza. Arriving at the address, Tomas is relieved when a man answers the door. He is tall and dark, and he looks familiar. It is the editor from the paper that the dignitary had mentioned. A second man is present, and Tomas immediately recognizes him as his son, Simon
The fact that Tomas doesn’t want to have sex with any other women because his thoughts are too occupied with Tereza suggests that Tomas really can’t separate love from sex all the time. If Tomas’s theory about love and sex were true, then he would be able to go and have sex at any time, regardless of how he was feeling about his love life with Tereza.
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The editor and Simon do not want Tomas to wash the windows; they want him to sign a petition. They are asking all the important Czech intellectuals to sign the petition, which condemns the rough treatment political prisoners have apparently been subjected to and seeks amnesty for them. Tomas doubts that his signature is important enough to carry any weight, but he promises to think about it. There is no time to wait, the editor says; the petition is to be sent to the president the next day. “Aren’t you on the side of the persecuted?” Simon asks. Tomas nods and takes the petition. 
Like the chief of the hospital and the dignitary who both wanted Tomas to sign the retraction letter, Simon and the editor want Tomas to sign the petition right away, without even thinking about it. Obviously, the editor and Simon are arguing for a better cause, but their cause makes little difference to Kundera’s point. Kundera argues through their behavior that any political ideology can be oppressive. Simon and the editor represent liberalism and democracy, yet they still don’t give Tomas much choice.
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