The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Part 7, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Tomas sits at his desk holding a letter. He hands the letter, which requests his presence at the airfield in the next town, to Tereza. Tereza insists on going with him, and they immediately leave for the airport. When they arrive, they board a small plane, and, noticing it is completely empty, take their seats. When Tereza had read the letter, she didn’t feel any love for Tomas, just an intense fear knowing that she was unable to leave him. Sitting next to Tomas on the plane, however, her fear subsides, and she is aware of a deep, limitless love.
This passage is another dream sequence. Both Tereza and Tomas know that he has been summoned to the airfield by the regime to be executed. Tereza feels immense fear because she knows that death is imminent, and her deep, limitless love for Tomas makes her incredibly sad, but she is still not able to leave him. This implies that Tomas is her fate, despite his opinion that their love is mere chance. 
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When the plane lands, Tereza and Tomas see three men outside wearing hooded masks and holding rifles. They step off the plane, holding each other around the waist, and one of the men raises his rifle. Tereza does not hear a shot, but she feels Tomas buckle and fall at her side. As he falls, he begins to shrink, until he becomes a small object that quickly runs off. The man who raised his rifle takes his mask off and chases after the object, which he catches and places in Tereza’s hand. It is a rabbit.
Tomas’s transformation into a rabbit represents his complete loss of power. Tereza has always looked at Tomas as a powerful man, but she later claims that his advancing age is making him appear weak, as is his inability to resist her. Tereza now has the power, and she is literally holding a completely helpless and vulnerable Tomas in her hands.
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Tereza walks the streets of Prague holding the rabbit until she comes to her childhood home. She goes inside and goes up to her room. There is a bed, a table, and a lamp, and a butterfly flying around the lit lightbulb. Tereza sits on the bed with a strange sense of comfort and holds the rabbit to her face.
The return to Tereza’s childhood home again points to cyclical existence and the desire for repetition. The room that Tomas and Tereza rent the night before they die resembles Tereza’s childhood bedroom, including the butterfly. 
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