Friday, August 26, 2016

History's influence on Kundera

Kundera frequently references the 1968 Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," but history has a definite impact on the entire scope of the novel. Even though Kundera specifically denounces the claim that history has influenced his work, there is an evident correlation between his life and the events of the novel. For instance, he was driven from his own country and forced to live in France. His works were even banned in Czechoslovakia for a time. This parallels to how Tomas had to flee from Czechoslovakia, and how he was not allowed to continue his profession of being a doctor. In this way, Tomas and Kundera are very similar. The freedom of expression in the novel, such as Tereza's job photographing protests, relates to the time in 1968 where Czechoslovakia had more freedom of press and self-expression such as art and film. These freedoms were restricted with the 1968 Russian invasion and the establishment of Communism. Therefore, I believe that history not only influences the characters, but also Kundera's perspective. This is good because it helps Kundera blend reality and fiction.

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