Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," how does the theme of politics function in the novel?

Milan Kundera
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Student’s Name Instructor’s Name Course 9 May 2011 The Theme of Politics in Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera is a philosophical novel that explores the life of Czechoslovak society in the course of the Prague Spring of 1968.


The direct mentioning of politics is first found in the beginning of the novel, when Tomas and Tereza discuss the possibility of immigrating to Switzerland after the entry of Soviet army to Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Tomas is seen to have received an offer for a job from the Swiss hospital, and Tereza urges him to leave Czechoslovakia, despite his initial misgivings about the feasibility of such a step (Kundera 26-28). The novel’s depiction of the character’s reaction to Soviet occupation is telling; Tereza spends a lot of time in the street, filming possible abuses of Soviet troops on camera, and even getting arrested by the Soviet officer, while Tomas contemplates the emigration to Switzerland. It is inferred that Czechs received the news of Soviet troops’ entry to their country with both fear and ridicule: while the citizens of Prague clearly felt indignation over the effective arrest of Dubcek and other reformist leaders of Czechoslovak CP, they are at the same time fearful of the possible consequences of rebellious attitude. Even while the streets are decorated with “thousands of hand-painted bearing ironic texts” sharply critical of Brezhnev and Soviet army (Kundera 28), and Kundera remarks that the atmosphere in the city was that of “a drunken carnival of hate” (28). ...
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