The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 5, Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Several half-naked women were pulling at Tomas when he saw the woman on the couch. She was half-naked, too, wearing only underwear, and Tomas knew that she was his ideal woman. He began to feel himself waking, and he tried to hold onto the dream but wasn’t able to. He sits straight up in bed. According to the myth from Plato’s Symposium, people were hermaphrodites until God separated them, and now everyone wanders around looking for their other half. In other words, love is the desire for the other half of ourselves. Tomas didn’t find his other half; Tereza was sent to him in a basket and borne of six ridiculous coincidences.
Here, Tomas again implies that his relationship with Tereza is based on chance, and he further implies that Tereza is not his ideal woman, or, in other words, not his true love. This isn’t to say that Tomas doesn’t love Tereza, because he certainly does, but he doesn’t appear to think that she is the other half that can make him whole. Kundera’s reference to hermaphrodites again blurs the line between binary opposites and implies that it is impossible to be entirely one thing or the other.
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