Saturday, April 6, 2013


In The Unbearable Lightness of Being (TULB) the narrator explains the beauty of coincidence in novels and in real life.  Personally I ALWAYS get really excited when I have a deja vu moment (which is like a coincidence, right?) and when a coincidence happens to me. He describes the coincidental death in Anna Karenina as having a novelistic beauty.  He distinguishes between novelistic and  fantastical, fake, or totally fabricated.  He makes the reader think that coincidence adds an element of beauty and composition to life like it does a in a novel or a piece of music.  He disapproves of people who fail to recognize coincidences and the real-life magic of them, because they are missing out on a significant aspect of life…and therefore do not fully appreciate life. To me, coincidences make me question whether life is run by chance (because really- what are the odds that you’d run into your long-lost friend on hike in California?) or if that encounter was meant to be. Whether or not coincidences are evidence of fate or of random chance, they are special and beautiful.


Cassidy George said...

I agree that the novel emphasizes the beauty of coincidence. But I wonder if Kundera would consider coincidence light or heavy. If coincidences occur solely as a matter of chance, then they would be light. But if they are destined by fate, wouldn't that make them heavy? Perhaps for Tomas, coincidences are light and therefore are beautiful because they enhance his light lifestyle. On the other hand, I would expect Teresa considers coincidences serious matters of fate-things that are meant to be, and therefore heavy.

Madeline Davis said...

On the matter of whether coincidences are a result of fate or happenstance, I think the novel indicates that coincidences carry a bit of both. Tomas constantly refers to his meeting with Teresa as being caused by six completely random and happenstance occurrences of fortune, yet he says that their relationship "must be." Although he generally contributes their relationship to lightness and chance, he adds weight to his life with Tereza by saying "It must be," signifying that meeting and being with her was fatalistic, the only way their lives could have been.