The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 5, Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Tomas hardly sees Tereza anymore. They are only off from work on Sundays, but they sleep next to each other each night, Tereza tightly holding Tomas’s hand. One Sunday, they drive to a country spa, and all the street signs have been changed to Russian names. On the way home, Tomas thinks about the monumental mistake he made in leaving Zurich. He is so angry at Tereza that he can’t look at her. Why was she sent to him in a basket, Tomas wonders, and why hadn’t it been some other woman?
Here, Tomas looks at Tereza as a burden. He blames her for his decision to come back to Prague and for losing his job as a surgeon. Interestingly, while Tomas’s reference to Tereza as a baby in a basket puts him in a position of power over her, he actually had relatively little power in resisting her, as he realizes here. He didn’t have the power to put her back in the basket, so to speak, and float her downstream to someone else. Instead, he was compelled to assume the responsibility, which he now resents.
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