Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I enjoy reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I like how we see multiple characters' perspectives and how the timeline isn't straightforward. But, even though the timeline isn't straightforward, it's still easy to find your place in the novel. The characters are interesting as well; I especially like how Teresa analyzes her own situations like we would analyze them as readers. For example, when she analyzes her dream about Tomas and the naked, dancing women. Usually, we as the audience would read about Teresa's dream then analyze what it means. Instead, Teresa does the work for us. She comes to the conclusion that her and Tomas' relationship brings back the same mindset that she attempted to escape from by running away from her mother and getting into a relationship with Tomas, the mindset that bodies are not unique and a person should not cherish his/her body.

7 comments:

Brooke M. Hathaway said...

I completely agree. I LOVE this novel so far. Right now, it is definitely my favorite we've read all year. I think Kundera does an amazing job of presenting the story in a straightforward way, while also mixing up perspectives and including flashbacks. I think it's a great mix of a straightforward story and a "Notes from the Underground" type novel (aka not a straightforward story). I really love having both Tomas and Tereza's points of view. And like you said, I also love how they are so self-aware. They interpret things as they see them for us, which is certainly a nice change. While doing that, they also leave room for us to interpret things for ourselves, which again I think is a great balance done by Kundera. I might even go as far as to say this is shaping up to be one of my favorite novels of all time, not just a favorite out of the novels we've read in class.

Brooke M. Hathaway said...

Also, I have a hard time not highlighting EVERY line. I swear, every sentence is so quotable.

Miranda Martinez said...

I agree as well! I'm really enjoying this novel. Normally I dislike novels that go back and forth between the characters' perspectives, but the content is so interesting that it doesn't bother me. The characters' self-awareness keeps me from having to criticize them, since they basically do it for us. I completely agree with Brooke though, I'm finding it hard to reframe from highlighting every line. The majority of the quotes are either ridiculously relatable, or incredibly quotable. I'm so happy that this year I've been able to find novels that I can connect with and enjoy reading.

Megan Hoolahan said...

I also really enjoy this novel. I especially enjoy reading the contrasting views of Tomas and Tereza. For example, I find it interesting how the reasons why Tereza loves Tomas are the reasons why Tomas is apprehensive about the relationship. Tomas sees coincidence as a negative thing, meaning that anyone else could be standing in his place. Tereza sees coincidence as more like fate. All the signs that make Tomas think that their relationship is merely coincidence makes Tereza think that it is fate.

Kincy GIbson said...

The male/ female dynamics in this book really remind me of some of the topics in The Handmaid's Tale. In my independent study novel, women's bodies are what define them. Tereza creates her self worth by trying to separate her body from other people's. She thinks of her body as something sacred, unlike in The Handmaid's Tale where women's bodies are used as vessels for child birth. The power struggle that Tomas always places on Tereza is also evident in every female/ male relationship in The Handmaid's Tale.

Joseph D'Amico said...

I see what you mean and totally agree. I like Tereza's perspective more than Tomas's for the reasons you discussed. It is just really interesting to me that a character analyzes her own situation. I also like the way Kundera switches between perspectives; it's not just random jumping around, but a very smooth and orderly transition. I really like what we've read so far, and I can't wait to see how it ends.

Amy Clement said...

I agree! I thought Beloved was going to be my favorite book of this year, but The Unbearable Lightness of Being is definitely giving it a run for it's money. Oddly enough, Tomas is definitely my favorite character. I love that he isn't portrayed as a bad guy like most novels tend to do with males who have a fear of commitment.