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February 02, 2012

Weighing-in on Milan Kundera's _The Unbearable Lightness of Being_


Image Source: http://abbyf.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/unbearablelightness.jpg

Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. 1984. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008. ISBN: 0061686697.

Class,

In the comment box below,

. . . the note-taker/scribe from each group should retype the question your group discussed today in class and provide an answer with quotations from the text to support your answers. You MUST put the page number (or, paragraph number if there are no page numbers) in parentheses after any quotation used.

Enter your work on this text as prescribed in class. For example:

Remember: I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

We are beginning to use some concepts in our discussions that you may or may have had practice using before. I want to be sure that you have a clear understanding of the words we use in class (no more blank stares!) so be sure you are looking up words you don't feel you yet "own" (means, making it a part of your personal vocabulary) by utilizing your dictionaries to the fullest.

Dr. Hobbs

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To see other English-Blog entries on the subject of Literature, please click HERE.

Posted by lhobbs at February 2, 2012 10:21 AM

Readers' Comments:

ENG 122 (CA16) Students:

Enter your work on this text as prescribed in class.

Find some study questions (as first seen on your reading-checks) below:

· Why did Tereza’s mother hate her?

· What lesson did Tereza’s mother try to teach her about their bodies?

· What might be the significance of Tereza’s dream? What might it mean?

· On page 66, Sabina’s painting(s) are described. Discuss Sabina’s paintings. How were they supposed to be done and how did she actually do them. What does this tell us about her (hint: truth versus lies)?

· Discuss the scene with Sabina, Tereza, the bowler hat, and the photo shoot. What double purpose did the camera serve?

· Kundera tells the peculiar story of Tereza’s mother and her nine suitors (44). a.) What is a “suitor” and b.) why did she marry the ninth one?

· Tereza’s mother and stepfather had very abnormal household habits when they were all home together (47). Explain what a.) her mother and b.) stepfather did that annoyed Tereza (Each one different).

· Tereza loved books and always carried one with her (50). a.) How did she think that this made her appear to others and b.) how does the narrator say this actually made her appear?

· In Part 2 of Kundera’s novel, the narrator discusses the difference between a university graduate and an “autodidact” (58). Part of your instructions for this class is to read with a dictionary. a.) what is an “autodidact” and b.) which character is one?

· In several places of BOTH parts 1 an 2, the narrator recounts the bizarre details of Tereza’s recurring dream (59). Describe what is happening in her dream. (Do not interpret, only describe).

· Quotation: “He often stopped in for a visit, but only as a friend, never as a lover” (85). Identify WHO is the “he” spoken of here and WHOM this person went to “visit.”

· Quotation: “Once upon a time, in the early part of the century, there lived a poet. He was so old he had to be taken on walks by his amanuensis” (86). Identify WHO is telling this story and what an “amanuensis” is.

· Quotation: “Because she was a painter, she had an eye for detail and a memory for the physical characteristics of the people in Prague who had a passion for assessing others” (105). a.) Identify WHAT particular “physical” characteristic the speaker of this quotation noticed in Prague citizens who assessed others and b.) WHO she used as her most famous example (person’s job description will be okay in lieu of their name).

· Quotation: “ ‘It was there that I began to divide books into day books and night books,’ she went on. ‘Really, there are books meant for daytime reading and books that can only be read at night’ ” (112). a.) Identify WHO is speaking in this passage and b.) WHEN or WHERE this person began this peculiar habit.

· Quotation: “Marie-Anne began whistling a tune. The painter was speaking slowly and with great concentration and did not hear the whistling.” (114) a.) Identify WHO Marie-Anne is and b.) WHY she was whistling.

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Alicia Roddenberg
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA16
03-25-09
Feeling of being trapped
From Milan Kundera’s “The unbearable lightness of being” one of the main characters is Tereza, who is very similar to the narrator in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Though Kundera’s work is a novel and allows for Tereza to be a full round character, Gilman uses the first person point of view to allow for a lot of information to be known about her character. In both stories the Theme helps to represent the characters, if the structure of the story was different the characters would be affected differently. Both of these women in Kundera and Gilman’s works are feeling entrapment in there lives, yet they are abiding by what is requested from their partner.
Kundera’s work “The unbearable lightness of being” is arranged with an omniscient narrator and told in a non sequential order. Though at times the reader many feel lost, at the end of the story it all becomes clear. Gilman presented her story “The Yellow Wallpaper” in a completely different format. The narrator is a major participant who is telling the reader her own story. As the narrator writes of her experiences you read what she writes. This allows for a close understanding oh how the character actually feels. Kundera develops his story in a different manner. He is reluctant to tell who is narrating the story, but give great detail in most of his characters. Tereza has a background story developed as well as her emotions and feelings are shown.
Both main characters in Kundera and Gilman’s stories are woman of mid-thirties, who at this time of their lives are married. The two women are relatable because of a specific feeling they have of being trapped within the life they are currently living. Though Kundera’s Tereza never admits she is trapped in her lifestyle, it is obvious when Tomas sends her up the hill to determine her already predetermined fate. “It would have been easy to say “No, No! It wasn’t my choice at all!” But she could not imagine disappoint Tomas” (Kundera 159). Tereza is always looking to please Tomas, and rarely herself. There is a point in the story where Tereza does as Tomas does by having an affair; she is extremely hesitant until she sees the book of Sophocles’ Oedipus. “It made her feel as though Tomas had purposely left a trace, a message that her presence here was his doing” (Kundera 164). If Tereza had not felt that push from Tomas, she would never have betrayed him.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Gilman, we do not know the name of the narrator, just that she is a woman married to a physician named John. “I sometimes fancy that in my condition, if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus- but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad” (Gilman 83). The woman is concealed in the top bedroom of a colonial mansion all summer because isolation was supposed to be a rest cure. The room in which she is supposed to rest in is covered by this horrid wallpaper “I never saw a worse paper in my life. One of those sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin” (Gilman 84). She is being kept in this room by her husband, which is similar to Teresa’s story in Kundera’s work. She is in fear of being a hassle to her husband so regardless of her happiness does as she is told.
Both Tereza and the narrator in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” are set to please their partners, even if what is pushed upon them isn’t in there best interest. Gilman’s narrator after being forced to stare at the wallpaper everyday begins to feel apart of it, that she came from it. The feeling of being trapped is literal and figurative in this story; she is trapped within the room as well as her own mind. Tereza from Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of being” though betrayed by the man she loves daily, knows what her life would be without him, and for that goes against her better judgment and stays with him believing that their love is strong enough. The endings to both of these stories are completely different. Gilman’s narrator locks herself in the room, where she proceeds to lose her mind alone as she waits for her husband to return, where as Kundera has Tereza and Tomas grow old together regardless of what he had done to her.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper”. A Prentice Hall pocket reader Literature.
edited by Mary McAleer Balkun. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2005. pages 82-96.
Kundera, Milan. “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2008.
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing about Literature. Brief 11th ed. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson,
2006. page 155-69.


Posted by: Alicia Roddenberg at March 30, 2009 10:04 AM

Allyn Tuff
Dr. Hobbs
English 122 CA 16
4-25-2009
Comparison of Franz from Unbearable Lightness of Being and Jackie from First Confession.
In First Confession, Frank O’ Conner writes about a boy named Jackie is faced with the stress of his first confession to the Catholic Church. In comparison, Franz from the novel Unbearable Lightness of Being is also faced with the stress of a confession, but this confession has to do with his wife. The comparison between these two is that they both have to make a life changing confession to someone of great importance to their lives, but what I want to focus on is the similar sequence of events that happens to both of them. They are terrified but determined to make this confession, and during the process they both are set back, but get back into it and complete the job.
“I was scared to death of confession” (O'Conner 235) said Jackie. Jackie has been convinced that he has to make a perfect confession or else he will go to hell. The problem is that he has sinned a lot in his seven years of life, and doesn’t know how it could ever be possible to confess the right way with all of those sins on his first time. Of course it doesn’t help when his sister says things like “Isn’t it a terrible pity you weren’t a good boy?” (O'Conner 235) Jackie is faced with an ordeal that he has to eventually overcome or else he is threatened with the eternal life of hell. When Jackie gets to the confessing booth, he is confused and didn’t know what to do. Because this happened, the Priest got upset and sent him to the end of the line to go last. This was a very big letdown for Jackie, but he sticks to the plan to confess instead of giving up. When he gets back to the booth, he found that the priest was very helpful, and he confessed very appropriately and ended up only getting three Hail Marys. Jackie completed what his goal was to do, and was happy with his outcome.
“From the time Franz met Sabina, however, Franz had been living lies” (Kundera 121) said the Milan Kundera, the author of the novel Franz is in. Franz is tired of the lie he has been telling his wife. He has been having a separate relationship with a mistress named Sabina for quite some time. Franz finds that he is not in love with his wife, but in love with Sabina. He knows he has to tell his wife about the second relationship, but he is scared that his wife will take it horribly bad and hurt herself like she threatened to do before. Franz finally comes to the conclusion that he is going to confess his secret to his wife, and stay with Sabina for the rest of his life. Once Franz finally confesses to his wife, Sabina left town never to be seen again, leaving Franz devastated. Sabina felt as though “Franz had pried open the door of their privacy.” (Kundera 124) Once this happened, Franz could have gone back to his wife and lived another lie while pretending he loved her, but he knew he wouldn’t be happy. He then made the best of the situation and found a house by himself, became a professor, and lived contently.
The comparison I would like to prove is the sequence in which both situations happened. First part of the sequence comes from Jackie and Franz both building up the courage to make the confessions. Jackie was extremely scared to make his confession because of the thought of going to hell. This took him a lot of courage to go and make that confession. This is similar to the courage it took for Franz to confess his second lover to his wife. He, like Jackie, was scared of a bad consequence, and this was his wife hurting herself. The second part of the sequence comes from the set down, or “the fall.” When Franz finally confessed to his wife, he found that Sabina had packed up and left town forever. This is similar to Jackie and when he went to the confession booth, messed up, and made the priest send him to the back of the line. Both situations were very big let downs for the two of them. The third similarity to their sequences is overcoming their let downs. When Jackie was sent to the back of the line he could have gave up, but her didn’t. He went back into the booth and ended up making his confession very good. This is similar to Franz because Franz could have easily gone back to his wife and lived the lie, but he decided to move out and start a new life as a professor and became content. Both of them ended up reaching their goals and living joyously.
Franz and Jackie are two very different characters. Some people probably would find no similarities between the two of them at all, but that is the beauty of literature. When you have stories to go along with characters, you can still find similarities between them. In this case it was by the sequence that they came about reaching their goals. They both faced a life changing confession, got set back while doing so, but overcame that setback and reached their goal happily.

Works Cited
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York City, New York: Harper & Row Publishers Inc., 1984.
O'Conner, Frank. "First Confession." Roberts, Eger V. Writing About Literature. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. 233-238.


Posted by: Allyn Tuff at March 30, 2009 05:15 PM

Sonia Perez
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Academic Writing 2 Eng122 CA16
31 March 2009

Unexpected Love

In The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and “The Bear” by Anton
Chekhov, the authors develop the theme,unexpected love, throughout the stories. Kundera writes about Tomas and Tereza and Chekhov writes about Mrs. Popov and Smirnov. The characters and the situations they go through show how love can occur unexpectedly. Tomas and Smirnov from each work has had some bad experiences with women, but they have different reactions.
Each author addresses the obstacles that the characters face because they have fallen in
love. One character that Kundera writes about is Tomas, who is a doctor and is divorced from
his first wife. Because of the divorce, Tomas is afraid of women but still desires them, and he
has many mistresses. On the other hand, in “The Bear”, Smirnov hates women, but he too had many women. In the beginning, he just uses the women, and when he starts to fall in love with them, the women cheat on him. So Smirnov hates them and wants nothing to do with women in the past. Both of these characters has faced rejection by women, but they have different reactions to them.

In both of these works, the characters fall in love unexpectantly. Tereza and Tomas meet at the restaurant where Tereza is a waitress. She leaves Prague and goes to Tomas’s flat. “They made love the day she arrived. That night she came down with a fever and stayed a whole week in his flat with the flu” (Kundera 6). Tomas is cautious of Tereza since no woman stays in his flat, and he takes care of her. During this time, Tomas had compassion for Tereza, which turn into love and he does not know if he wants her in his life. In contrast, Chekhov’s characters meet because Mrs. Popov’s deceased husband owes money to Smirnov. Smirnov is rude to Mrs. Popov since he does not want any woman into his life. They get into a heated discussion in which Mrs. Popov insults him. He challenges her to a duel, and she accepts and gets the pistols. “…she accepted my challenge! To tell the truth, it was the first time in my life I’ve seen a woman like that…” (Chekhov 267). Since Mrs. Popov shows that she is not like the other women it leads to Smirnov to fall in love with her. All of the characters fall in love because of a situation, yet their situations are different. Because of Tomas and Smirnov are
rejected by women, they had different situations of how they fall in love. The Unbearable Lightness of Being and “The Bear” are two works in which one of the themes is unexpected love. Tomas and Smirnov’s experiences, it is difficult for these two characters to fall in love. Chekhov and Kundera have some general ideas about unexpected love and many of their ideas are the same. Yet, both authors had different ideas about situations that bring love to people and people to love.
Works Citied
Chekhov, Anton. “The Bear”. Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts. Brief 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006. 261-69.

Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. 6-12.


Posted by: Sonia P. at March 30, 2009 10:10 PM

John Winans
Eng 122
Dr. Hobbs
26March2009
Born to be Lucky, or not
It was at banquet in London in honor of one of the two or three conspicuously illustrious English military names of this generation. (Twain, 242) It is in this starting line of the story Luck by Mark Twain that introduces the idea of naming some prestigious characters and their comparisons. A certain Lieutenant-General Lord Arthur Scoresby, a name that has been thrown around several thousand times in the life of the narrator to date is a major interest and honorary member of the banquet. Unlike Thomas in The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera who worked hard to earn a name for himself and having to protect his birth name was a complicated soul. One fell into situations governed by luck as an outcome and the other was just lucky to fall into certain situations. Both were human and had purpose.
In the military, on the field of battle, sons, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, linked by the maleness that they were born with yet affiliated by the uniforms they wore. In the wisdom of the reverend, in Luck, the hero is a fool, a secret revealed just in time for honorary mention. The narrator explains: “This verdict was a great surprise to me. If its subject had been Napoleon, or Socrates, or Solomon, my astonishment could not have been greater. (Twain, 243) To be mentioned with great names in history such as these would be more than the average man could endear. Even Caesar would be proud, but these names lived up to them with the acts of heroism committed on behalf of others, whereas the honored banquet guest was at the right place at the right time, chalk it up to luck.
Thomas on the other hand lives by the “Es muss sein” motif of Beethoven. To interpret this would mean “it must be”, a motif Thomas was destined to stick with. Then again, the metaphysical thesis of Parmenides’ philosophy would have it positive going to negative not light going to heavy. “It is my feeling that Thomas had long been secretly irritated by the stern, aggressive, solemn “Es muss sein!” and that he harbored a deep desire to follow the spirit of Parmenides and make heavy go to light.”(Kundera, 210). Thomas had something to prove, he had something to live for something that had to be said, he used his profession as his means to do this, his name to say what had to be said, he did what had to be done. He worked with the human body as a doctor and even studied the brain, this led him to the individualities between not only men and women but among humans and the decisions that affects life.
Scoresby could not tell the truth, Thomas could not lie. “The “tell the truth!” imperative drummed into us by our mamas and papas functions so automatically that we feel ashamed of lying even to a secret policeman during an interrogation.” (Kundera, 201). Ultimately, a lie will be confronted with the truth and others will know the true self. As for Thomas and Scoresby, they’re peers may be persuaded to believe what they hear and see but the inner self, the “I”, will be revealed within time, after all in the words of Beethoven, “Es muss sein”.

Works Cited
Twain, Mark. “Luck”. Edgar V. Roberts. Writing About Literature. Brief 11th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2005. 242-45.
Kundera, Milan. “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” First Olive Edition, 2008 New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd St., New York, N.Y. 10022. Olive Editions, 2008.

Posted by: John Winans at March 30, 2009 10:37 PM

Brittany Thunberg
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing II CA16
29 March 2009
“The story of an Hour” vs. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Short story “The Story of an Hour” written by Kate Chopin, and novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera are two works that differ greatly. Each work is written in its own unique way and holds its own special characters and plot line as well. However one aspect that seems to stand out as being similar between these two works is their protagonist. The main character in both of these stories is a woman who is in an unhappy marriage.
Mrs. Mallard is the protagonist in “The Story of an Hour.” One of the main conflicts within this short story is the fact that Mrs. Mallard finds out her husband has been killed in a tragic accident. “She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free!” (Chopin 205) The reader would assume that Mrs. Mallard would be distraught about her husband’s death but she is in fact overjoyed with the fact that her husband has passed. At this point in this short story the reader can assume that Mrs. Mallard is in an unhappy marriage. The fact that Mrs. Mallard is happy that her husband is dead, sends up a red flag to reader’s that her reaction is not normal and she must be suffering in an unhappy marriage.
In the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, one of the main characters named Tereza is in an unhappy marriage as well. Tereza is faced with the problem of infidelity throughout almost her entire marriage. “Each time he lay down next to his wife in that bed he thought of his mistress.” (Kundera 88) Although Tereza is aware of her husband’s infidelities committed against her, she stays in the marriage anyway. Tereza, although aware that her husband is cheating on her, stays within the marriage because she wants keep her husband close to her out of fear. The reader can sense Tereza’s love for her husband even through hard times.
Mrs. Mallard and Tereza have similarities; they also have differences as well. Although they are both clearly in unhappy marriages the way that they feel toward their husbands are different. Although Tereza is angered by her husband’s infidelities she never seems to readers that she hates her husband. Although readers can tell that Tereza is unhappy, she never wishes harm against her husband Tomas, and she always shows him respect. This is different from Mrs. Mallard because her hatred for her husband is apparent to readers when she is not fazed in the least by her husband’s death but instead strangely excited. “She was drinking in a very elixer of life through that open window.” (Chopin 206) The protagonist in each work is in an extremely similar situation, however their feelings toward their situations as well as their actions convey to reader’s their significant differences in personality.


Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.”Writing about Literature by Edgar V. Roberts. Brief 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson 2006. 205-06.)
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 2008.

Posted by: brittany Thunberg at March 30, 2009 11:16 PM

Chris Collier
Academic Writing II CA 16
Dr. Hobbs
March 25, 2009
The Similarities and differences of Eddie and Tomas; Two Primary Male Characters of Two Works of Literature
There are many differences between Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love”. “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” is a novel, and “Fool for Love” is a drama for example. Kundera’s novel is set in Eastern Europe, while Shepard’s play is set in the Western U.S. The cultural backgrounds of both works vastly differ accordingly due to their locations as well. Yet apart from these superficial differences, Shepard’s Eddie, and Kundera’s Tomas share one strong similarity: their twisted sense of romantic loyalty.
In Kundera’s novel, Tomas sleeps with over one-hundred women. In Sam Shepard’s play, Eddie sleeps with one or more women, however at their core they both love the women they are involved with romantically. To each man, being loyal is not a physical bond or obligation, but a deeper more mental and emotional connection and linkage. Eddie and Tomas both were separated from the woman they love at one point or other in the story, yet both of them either returned to or ventured to find the woman he loved. Both of these men’s definition of loyalty is quite different than the women they love. May and Tereza have more of the traditional sense, while Eddie and Tomas see loyalty as being there for a woman, not neccasarily being monogamous.
The differences only become apparent in either man’s thinking when it becomes apparent the actual necessity of the women in their lives. Eddie is always abandoning May, leaving her to fend for herself. He only seems to want May when he needs her, not when she needs him, but that is only an aspect of his twisted loyalty. Eddie’s loyalty is more that of a prisoner to his own lust than to love. Tomas on the other hand, needs Tereza because he is insecure. He needs Tereza to be around him, to make a certain part of his personality and mind be complete, he also feels sorry for Tereza at some point or other throughout the book. His loyalty though, could also be seen from a prisoner’s perspective, that he is chained to her weak emotions and personality.
While each of the men’s reasons for being loyal may be different, their definitions of loyalty are very much the same. Each man has a sense that he should be with the woman he loves. Although this sense of love does not include the same passion that they feel for other women, as said before, their definition of love depends on the feelings and emotions they have for the women. The bond and the link that they cannot escape, much like a prisoner, and finally the idea that they are allowed to have physical relations with other women so long that the one they love remains there for them.

Posted by: Chris Collier at March 30, 2009 11:55 PM

hello...loved your blog. I'm am English Lecturer and research scholar from India. Just added your blog rss to my blog. will visit often..thanks.

Posted by: tina at October 10, 2009 12:25 PM

@Alicia Roddenberg:
Quite a contemplated comparison. I enjoyed reading Kundera's The Unbearable lightness of being, but now i think i must read Gilman as well. Nietzsche's idea of eternal return where an individual is trapped in the cycle and Kundera's perspective to it ...is very well depicted in this review.

I'll get back to other entries and reviews of this work once i get time. Thanks.

Posted by: Tina at October 10, 2009 01:27 PM

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The LATE 20th Century and Milan Kundera's _The Unbearable Lightness of Being_

ENG 226 (Honors) Students ONLY:

This is the entry we'll be using for our Late 20th Century and Kundera discussions and homework assignments (do not post items due here elsewhere or you may not receive credit!). To complete course assignments, please follow the instructions you were given in class.

1. Your entry tickets should FIRST be submitted to turnitin.com and THEN here in the comment box below. Your entry tickets should have the question and the answer (I asked that you submit a version of the questions without answers as a hardcopy in class).

2. Your reading response--directed/based on a topic you selected from a list distributed in class--should also be submitted to turnitin.com and THEN here in the comment box below.

I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

Below, please enter your work on this text as prescribed in class.

Before we get into the history depicted in the novel, perhaps you would like to refresh your memory with some of the recurring concepts suggested by Kundera. One of these is Nietzsche' (1844-1900) idea of the "Eternal Return" (or) "Recurrence."


This is a 4.5 minute video about Nietzsche's "Eternal Return" concept: "All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again!" (from: Peter Pan)


Here is another artistic rendering/interpretation of the "Eternal Recurrence" notion.

Also important to the story is Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. If you haven't read this classic example of Russian Literature, here are trailers to a few of the many filmed adaptations that have been made of Anna Karenina over the years:


This verson is a Spanish made film from 1997


A very fast overview of the late 20th century (until the 1980s) as performed by Billy Joel in "We Didn't Start the Fire."


A five-minute summary of the 1968 Invasion of Prague with interviews of eyewitnesses.


A one and 1/2 minute slideshow of pictures and videos from the Battle of Prague (1968). As you look at these, think of the pictures that Tereza took in Kundera's novel.



"World remembers Prague Spring." A five-minute, reflective video reportage by RT News (Russia).
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To see other English-Blog entries on the subject of Literature, please click HERE.


Mary Strand
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 226
April 12, 2010

Entry Ticket

If Thomas was an existentialist, what would his philosophy of life be?

Thomas is a pleasure seeking man and with his hedonistic ways, the question of “why” he is living and what it means, would probably be easy for him to answer, in jest, but not in seriousness. I believe his hasty “why” would consist of success in business and in “erotic friendships”; which were the soul of his happiness. What life means, well I think he would say that life is short, so why not make it sweet.
The narrator makes known that Thomas could acquire any woman he wished, and he did so freely. This was the ultimate pleasure that Thomas could control, and go about it with no strings attached. Until he met Tereza… For some reason he grew attached to her, and had no immunity to the powerful force she had over him. After meeting her he was not sure what he wanted out of life, or his relationships. On page 8, Kundera writes that Thomas felt as though he was not a real man, because he felt he could not live without her, and did not know how to control or understand that feeling. A hedonistic man, like himself was not used to an uncontrollable desire that changed his reckless ways. The three three’s he lived by were totally disrupted when Tereza came into his life and his life and existence became controversial because of it.
Thomas’ philosophy of life does not ever seem to change throughout the story. He constantly struggles to figure out what it is that wants in and out of life… but who does not? I do not condemn him for his unsure attitude, but living a weightless life can leave a person lost and confused, as Thomas was.

Posted by: Mary Strand at April 13, 2010 07:43 AM

Katie Ganning
Dr. B. L. Hobbs
ENG226: Survey of World Literature II
13 April 2010
You Cannot Have One Without the Other
1. Why do you think Milan Kundera names certain chapters with the opposite meaning of one another? Ex. Soul and Body?

As much as people try and attempt to separate body and soul or weight and lightness, one needs both in order to makes certain events in life work. When he asks the question of weight and lightness and which one is better to live, one is able to realize that you cannot have one without the other.
When Tereza left Tomas, she felt as if she was “weighing” him down which caused him to act in the manner he did with other women. “She was weighing him down and would do so no longer.” (Kundera 28) At first Tomas felt as if he was light again, living the way he always wanted to, but as he tried to forget their relationship, the lightness he believed he attained still gave him the weight he longed to move away from.

2. How does Karenin’s relationship to Mefisto relate to Tomas and Tereza’s?

When Karenin first met Mefisto, he was questionable about the pig, “But he soon made friends with him, even to the point of preferring him to the village dogs.” (284) Similar to Karenin’s feelings for Mefisto, Tomas acted about Tereza. Although he could not leave Tereza because of their marriage and living arrangements, he used other tactics of meeting other women and eventually realized that he did truly love her and her to him. As much as Tomas tried to make himself believe he needed other women to be happy, the type that he felt he should be with, he eventually realized it may not always be the one you want to be with, but the one you are meant to be with. Love is not always created over night, but it can be learned and tested, the way he would always leave her made Tomas believe she would leave him, which she did eventually, but she knew they were meant to be together and it clearly was going to take him longer than it took her to realize.

Works Cited
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper Perennial, 1999.

Posted by: Katie Ganning at April 13, 2010 08:35 AM

Antonette Boynes
HON ENG 226
Dr. Hobbs
04-03-2010
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Entry Ticket #6

Q1) On page 8 of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the statement is made that “If we only have one life to live, we might as well not live at all.” At the ending of the previous paragraph, it is said that our life is an outline with no picture, implying that there is no significance. Is this true? What other point of view can be drawn these statements?
A1) No, this is not true. I have always heard the saying “Only one life to live, so live it up,” so reading that having one life means that it is not significant, seems very odd. When there is only one of something it shows uniqueness, exclusiveness, and distinctiveness, and rarity. Having more than one of something shows commonness and unimportance. I like to think of life as a limited edition because there is only one so make it as valuable as possible. If we were able to practice and have a sketch of our lives, in some instances it would be better because then we could make better decisions, but on the contrary, the fact that we only have one means that we should be more cautious and make wise decisions from the start and use every experience as a learning tool to build a better life.

Posted by: Antonette Boynes at April 13, 2010 09:40 AM

Patricia Pothier
Survey of World Lit
Dr. Hobbs
April 12, 2010


1. Does Milan Kundera provide a definitive answer to the philosophical lightness versus weight discussion?
a. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera examines the role in which lightness and weight as a dichotomy plays in the lives of his characters. Kundera paints a paradox that is suggested to be unanswerable. Kundera opens the novel with a brief description of the teachings of Nietzsche. Discussing the idea of eternal return ad infinitum, he calls it a heavy burden. He states “But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid?” (Kundera 5). It is my opinion that Kundera does not specify whether it is best to live in a world of lightness or weight not because he believes the question is unanswerable, but because it is a question that is subject to the separate needs of individuals. That is, that there is not a sufficient answer that applies to everyone. I do believe Kundera disagrees with Nietzsche. In his novel he uses his characters to allow readers to make their own decision on the issue. By showing the burdens, desires, and fears of four much different characters, Kundera makes it easier for the reader to decide whether lightness or weight is better.
2. Why is it that Tomas insists on living his light-hearted bachelor life?
a. After meeting Teresa in a café, Tomas imagines that he could possibly be in love with her when she falls ill. Unfortunately in the past Tomas was married before and it ended terribly. He had a son with his ex-wife but when they divorced he lost custody of his son. It can be suggested that this incident has scarred Tomas to the point where he refuses to allow love to enter his life again. It became a priority for Tomas to keep his women at a certain distance so when Teresa shows up with a suitcase, he begins to worry. Teresa does love Tomas and I believe that a small part of him cares for her but he could never reciprocate her feelings.

Posted by: Patricia Pothier at April 13, 2010 10:09 AM

Dana Jennings
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-226
13-4-10

Entry Ticket: Kundera

Tomas is clearly an anti-hero in true postmodernist fashion; do you believe there are any attributes of his that may redeem him?

A. No. Through the first half of the book, Tomas has done nothing that would warrant our sympathy. It is possible that he could have an epiphany and become a good man, but I do not foresee that.

Should we feel empathy for a character, i.e. Tereza or Sabina, that finds herself in a “relationship” with Tomas?

A. The women in this novel have shown little or no imagination on changing their circumstances. Tereza is nearly mute, even in marriage to Tomas, and Sabina rebels, but only in petty ways, such as stealing his sock and forcing him to walk home with a woman’s stocking on. Their lack of confrontation enables Tomas’ horrid behavior.

Posted by: Dana Jennings at April 13, 2010 10:55 AM

Muriel Clemens
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 Survey of English Literature II (Honors)
Reading Response 7

“A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words”
“The Old Church in Amsterdam”
The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Kundera uses “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words” to show the gulf between Franz and Sabina. Each one sees the world differently: one is light and one is dark. Example: in “The Old Church in Amsterdam,” Franz sees the old Gothic cathedral as “the Grand March of History” (117). The church was once a place of worship where large numbers of people would gather. But time has moved on and the grand church has been striped of everything that made it holy. Franz sees only beauty in what he deems as a cleansing and uses this as a metaphor for his life. The example Franz uses is “Hercules’ broom,” because everything has been swept away. (118). Franz saw Light.
Sabina, whose life had been more difficult than Franz’s, saw the empty church in a totally different light. She saw this empty church as ugly. She had once gone to a village church to escape the student brigade and what she found was a different kind of beauty. To her, this little church was beautiful because it was not the ugly construction site where she spent her days. “The mass was beautiful because it appeared to her in a sudden, mysterious revelation as a world betrayed” (119). This discovery had a profound affect on her. “From that time on she had known that beauty is a world betrayed. The only way we can encounter it is if its persecutors have overlooked it somewhere. Beauty hides behind the scenes of the May Day parade” (119). What Sabina finds is Darkness.
Kundera uses his list of “Misunderstood Words” as a way of showing how each character sees life and how they differ. You cannot find “Misunderstood Words” in the dictionary, and you certainly could not find “The Old Church in Amsterdam.” Kundera wants us to see the Light and the Dark and his dictionary is the most logical way to do this. Not that logic plays a part in this story.
Reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being was a learning experience. The book could have been written any number of ways, but Kundera was writing from a Postmodern perspective, which as it turns out, gave the reader a wonderful way to look at life. We saw how each person saw their lives and how that vision affected their lives. What a wonderful way to write.


Works Cited
Kundera, Milan, and Michael Henry Heim. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008. Print.

Posted by: M. Clemens at April 14, 2010 08:11 PM

Muriel Clemens
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 Survey of English Literature II (Honors)
April 13, 2010
Entry Ticket #6

Entry Ticket 6
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
By
Milan Kundera

Question:
Who was Karenin and what did he symbolize?


Answer:
Karenin was Tereza and Tomas’s dog. He is the basis for a philosophical question; what is “True human goodness?” “True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it” (313).


Works Cited
Kundera, Milan, and Michael Henry Heim. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008. Print

Posted by: M. Clemens at April 14, 2010 08:15 PM

Diana Parizon
English 226 - Honors
Dr. Hobbs
15 January 2010
Entry-Ticket # 6 Lightness of Being

Question: Thomas and Tereza are opposites. What experiences did they undergo before they met and how different are they after they depart?

Answer: Tomas lives a happy single life without any responsibilities. He developed his own philosophy about relationships, “Either you see a woman three times in quick succession and then never again, or you maintain relations over the years but make sure that the rendezvous are at least three weeks apart” (Kundera 12). The reason for this theory about the treatment of woman is because; even though, he desired them, he feared women. He learned to love freedom after his failed marriage lasted only two years; however, during this time their son was born, who after the divorce was kept by the mother while Tomas needed to pay support. He also was allowed to visit his son but every time he planned to go, his ex-wife found always an excuse to cancel the meeting. It went so far that Tomas could only see his son when he brought expensive gifts for his ex-wife. Of course, after time Tomas got tired of fulfilling her demands and quit visiting his son and paying child support. It is not mentioned what caused the marriage to fail; however, we can assume she was too ‘heavy’ for him to carry. When they married and got a child, the weight on Tomas’s shoulder was pushing him down until finally he was tired and wanted to be free. Since then, he feared to be drawn again in this “cage” and lives a life of lightness. He even found his likeness in Sabina who clearly does not like weight on her shoulder. Tereza, on the other hand, is more the opposite from Tomas. She grew up surrounded with people who valued lightness in life. She learned from childhood how without weight life has no meaning. Because of her experience at home, she wanted to live a life with values unlike her mother who was not ashamed to expose her body, or her stepfather who clearly had no shame of using the toilet while she bathed. Tereza’s mother put guilt in her mind for having her (almost like Tomas’s wife, who put weight on his shoulder).

Work Cited
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael H. Heim. New York:
Harperperennial Modern Classics, 1984.

Posted by: D.Parizon at April 15, 2010 07:56 AM

Diana Parizon
Dr. Hobbs
English 226 – Honors
15. April 2010
Fidelity and Betrayal

Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being not only differentiates lightness and weight but also the concept of fidelity and betrayal. Those terms are very important to explore for understanding the main characters. While Tereza and Franz value fidelity, Tomas and Sabina definitely feel more comfortable with betrayal to a certain degree. As I learned from the beginning of the story, Tomas lives a life of freedom, but he is not really betraying anyone because his lovers knew there were no strings attached to their relationship. However, when he meets Tereza (who values fidelity) Tomas gets a feeling of betrayal every time he meets up with Sabina. It got obvious for Sabina because he started checking the time during their intercourse.
On the other hand, Sabina has a different experience with betrayal. Her first betrayal was against her father. Her father did not allow her to love a boy that she fell in love with. He only loved art and influenced his daughter, but Sabina never felt freedom around her father. So, when she got the chance she betrayed him by going to Prague, as Kundera defines, “Betrayal means breaking ranks and going off into the unknown” (Kundera 91). Kundera defines the words by using the characters as an example of how the term dominates their lives. However, my understanding of betrayal is that one knows the consequences of it if one betrays someone. If someone betrays his partner, they know the relationship will never be the same. But Kundera is right that if changes happen a new chapter begins for the person and the person will undergo new experiences. Unfortunately, this betrayal did not appease her in any way because even in Prague she had no freedom because of Communism. Kundera even stated that Communism was simply a replacement of her father. Sabina first embraced betrayal as the key to freedom, but instead it drew her to more betrayal. Sabina got married to a second-rate actor, which was considered of breaking the ranks. But again, she later betrayed her husband by leaving him. She betrayed her betrayal over and over again, which takes her further away from her original betrayal. So what is the point of betrayal if there is no satisfaction to be gained? Only more deceit from the betrayal is being created. Fidelity carries weight for Sabina and Tomas. Fidelity actually reminded Sabina of her father who was loyal to his paintings. She never really liked fidelity for these reason but what she does not realize that betrayal is her fidelity – she shows loyalty to it since her first betrayal.


Work Cited
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael H. Heim. New York:
Harperperennial Modern Classics, 1984.

Posted by: D.Parizon at April 15, 2010 07:57 AM

Erin Van Eepoel Van Eepoel 1
Dr. Hobbs
April-13-2010

Q) Why would Tereza leave her entire life for a man she did not know?
A) Tereza came to Tomas on a whim. Not well thought through but she left her whole life just because of a chance series of events that she called fate. This shows that she is ruled heavily by her emotions and not her intelligence. Tereza’s choice made sense to her because she could rationalize it just enough to make it possible to leave her mother and stepfather with no warning. She was not an intelligent college graduate, Tereza was just a well read young woman guided by the fantasy of the very books that she adored. Instead of the rational calculated decisions of a college graduate she allowed her rationale to be based on what she chose to learn through her favorite books.

Q) Why did Sebina never want to settle down with one man?
A) Sebina spent her life trying to live outside the accepted boundaries for a woman. Ever since she was young she felt the need to rebel against her father who would not let her experience her first love at fourteen. This is just one example of how Sebina felt her father repressed her with his ideals that were so different from her own. For Sebina settling down with one man was just trapping herself even more. She felt so trapped by her father that she wanted to make sure she had nobody controlling her, which might have also played into her choice to be an artist, with no clear boss or guidelines.
Erin Van Eepoel Van Eepoel 2
Dr. Hobbs
April-13-2010


Q) Why would Tereza leave her entire life for a man she did not know?


Q) Why did Sebina never want to settle down with one man?

Posted by: Erin Van Eepoel at April 15, 2010 08:05 AM



Branka Trivanovic


ENG 226 [HONORS]


Due April 14, 2010


Entry Ticket #6


Q. 1) How did Tereza’s relationship with her mother influence her adult life?


A. 1) As evident by her disturbing, reoccurring dream, Tereza’s relationship with her mother shaped her to be a somewhat screwed up individual. She looks at herself in the mirror, not out of vanity but because she is almost desperately trying to figure out who she really is. She sees her mother’s features in the mirror and is distraught by it because she does not consider herself to be anything like her mother. In fact, as a younger woman she wanted nothing more than to run away from her mom. When she does finally escape from her mother’s “prison”, she finds herself in a prison yet again, but this time with Tomas. In her nightmare, she is walking naked around a pool, doing knee-bends for Tomas along with other women. They are all identical in a way and then reminds her of the times when he mother would walk around naked in their home, exposing herself to the neighbors by not covering the windows. Tereza fights in her dream to not be like all the other women—to not end up dead and in a hearse. The other dead women tell her that they are all the same and that they are all going to the same place. This is comparable to Tereza’s mother telling her that she need not be ashamed of a naked body. On page 45, Tereza is chastised by her mother because Tereza locked the door when she was in the bath. She did not want her stepfather going to the bathroom at the same time that she was in there. Her mother got angry at her asking her, “Who do you think you are, anyway? Do you think he’s going to bit off a piece of your beauty?” These events lead to her not having a healthy relationship with her body. When she takes naked pictures of Sabina, she finds herself hesitant of stripping off her clothes when Sabina tells her too.


Q. 2) Despite knowing about his infidelities, Tereza stuck by Tomas until the day that they died. How do you feel about this? Had you been in her position, what would you have done?


A. 2) I find that Tereza was both brave and foolish for choosing to stay with him. In Part Two of the book when she left Switzerland to go back to Prague, my initial thought was, ”Yes!” but realistically I figured that she would go back to him. Although it was Tomas who went back to Tereza, she nonetheless accepted him back into her life. I feel that it is a common mistake that women who are being cheated on make. The man shows a little remorse for their actions and the woman’s faith in them is renewed, only to be broken yet again. I’ve never been married or cheated on (that I know of), but if I was in a relationship with someone like Tomas, it would not last long. I think there is a fine line between love and a sense of duty I guess you could say. She was walking more along the line of the duty. She was so focused on “fortuity” that she was blinded to what was really happening. Maybe one day I will eat my words and I will marry a womanizer but until then I really can’t relate to Tereza. I don’t feel sorry for her because she made a choice to stay with him. She could have easily just left him behind but I think that the ideas that she carried in her mind, such as the vertigo, were the forces that drove her to stick it out with him.

Posted by: Branka T at April 15, 2010 05:58 PM

Antonette Boynes
HON ENG 226
Dr. Hobbs
04-03-2010
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Entry Ticket #6

Q1) On page 8 of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the statement is made that “If we only have one life to live, we might as well not live at all.” At the ending of the previous paragraph, it is said that our life is an outline with no picture, implying that there is no significance. Is this true? What other point of view can be drawn these statements?
A1) No, this is not true. I have always heard the saying “Only one life to live, so live it up,” so reading that having one life means that it is not significant, seems very odd. When there is only one of something it shows uniqueness, exclusiveness, and distinctiveness, and rarity. Having more than one of something shows commonness and unimportance. I like to think of life as a limited edition because there is only one so make it as valuable as possible. If we were able to practice and have a sketch of our lives, in some instances it would be better because then we could make better decisions, but on the contrary, the fact that we only have one means that we should be more cautious and make wise decisions from the start and use every experience as a learning tool to build a better life.

Posted by: Antonette Boynes at April 15, 2010 08:27 PM

Mary Strand
ENG226
Dr. Hobbs
April 19, 2010

“Sabina’s Country”

Kundera considers Sabina’s Country “misunderstood” words in his text. The country that Sabina is from is not just background information that may or may not help the reader picture her character, but it is information about her that will shape her into a mysterious and intriguing figure. Kundera wants the reader to respect and admire Sabina for the weight she carries from her time spent in her homeland. But he also wants the reader to realize why it is that Sabina longs for the lightness of life that she sees in Franz’s life.

Sabina envied Franz for the life he had, where he could dedicate himself to his writing and not worry about things interrupting his creative process. In the beginning of her artistic journey, she was interrupted by the jurisdiction of her superiors in her country, and she could not express the themes in her paintings, that she desired. The weight she carries because of the persecution and imprisonment, and other “ugly” words, is not something that Sabina values. She tells Franz, “Conflict, drama, and tragedy don’t mean a thing; there was nothing inherently valuable in them, nothing deserving respect or admiration” (102-103). Franz sees these “ugly” words as events that should evoke emotions and revelations, as Sabina had done for him.

Sabina’s country is a place that she longed to be freed from, and place that Franz longed to experience. Franz says to Sabina, “That’s why one banned book in your former country means infinitely more than the billions of words spewed out by our universities” (103). The terrible things that Sabina experienced in her country are things that Franz cannot fathom. He has been fortunate to not have regulations put on his work and he had the “peace and quiet to devote himself to it” (103). This is why Sabina was so beautiful to him; she was unique and very different from him.

In this section of Kundera’s novel, I believe a very clear picture of both Sabina and Franz is created for the reader. The way in which he went about describing Sabina and Franz’s feelings towards “Sabina’s Country”, and the conflicts she experienced there, shows Sabina as being somewhat apathetic towards her past. But, her apathy could give the reader the impression that it honestly does not matter to her, when in fact at some point her past had to have made a significant impact on her. This supports the way in which she currently lives out her artistic and weightless lifestyle. Franz needs more to his life; he wants a more daring and risk filled life. This he finds in Sabina, and looks to her former life and country to find the weight that he wishes he knew.


Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row 1984.

Posted by: Mary Strand at April 19, 2010 02:01 PM

Tommy Tagliavia 1
Dr. Hobbs
English Honors Eng 226
20 April 2010
Recurrence in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera
In Kunderas novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera uses Nietzsche’s concept of eternal return and recurrence as a concept of motif. Kundera uses the concept as the whole point of the novel, he has it to where the ladies keep going back to Tomas when he cheats on Tereza and yet she still stays with him. Nietzsche’s concept is that everything that we have done recurs itself infinite times.
One way Kundera shows how this concept is used is by the way Tereza is with Tomas. Tereza knows about the affairs Tomas has, especially with Sabina, yet she still stays with him. The recurrence in this, besides all the affairs, is that Tomas and Tereza move to Switzerland to start over on their relationship. However, shortly after the move Sabina moves there as well and the affairs between her and Tomas recur. Once Tereza found out about this she moved back to Prague which of course Tomas followed. To me it seems like wherever they move and whatever Tomas does, she will always take him back. Throughout the relationship difficulties they have, it just seems like whatever happens will continue to happen over and over. Nietzsche says that whatever happens in life recurs to the infinitum and that is what seems to be happening with Tomas and Tereza. Even at the end of the novel when Tereza brings that rabbit that is Tomas back home to Prague as if he was still with her, it is like a recurrence of them being together.


2
Recurrence also occurs in this novel throughout couples. The way it brought out is that cheating on your spouse then feeling terrible for it and trying to change your ways, happens frequently. Franz had sexual affairs with a lady called Sabina for nine months, then the whole Tomas and Tereza situation it is just a repeating occurrence throughout the book. Sexual affairs throughout the book show recurrence in many ways. The first way of recurrence is how the ladies are always getting the affair to begin with. Tereza did however cheat on Tomas with an engineer but she did that to get back and over Tomas. After the recurrence the man would always fess up and tell the woman about it. Throughout all of these situations the man always was the one leading the affair and then going back to the ladies to be forgiven.

Work Cited
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1984.

Posted by: tommy at April 19, 2010 10:32 PM

Living in Truth
Living in truth means different things to different people. For most people it simply means being honest with yourself and other people, but sometimes it goes deeper.
To Sabina it meant keeping her life private. For Sabina she could only be truly honest when nobody was watching and judging her life. She felt as though when people know they are being watched they fake how they truly act and live in a lie. This is why she never kept a normal relationship. All her lovers were affairs and she hid them well. People tend to worry about what others think more than they should and that’s causes them to put on a front and lie to themselves and others.
Franz on the other hand believed that dividing yourself into public and private lives was the source of all lies. Franz believed to live in truth meant being the same in public and private “living in a glass house” so everyone could see in. This is why he eventually broke down and told his wife about his affair with Sabina. When Franz told her he got an unusual response, she simply said “Yes, I think it’s time I knew about it.” As he flew off to Rome with his mistress Franz felt as though he was finally living in truth.
These two opposite views kept Sabina and Franz at odds, especially after she found out his wife knew. Sabina felt like he had let his wife inside Sabina’s private life where she did not belong. Sabina was frustrated with the fact that she had now become a rival for a woman who she did not even see as a threat. Eventually Franz’s admittance leads to the separation of Franz and his wife Marie-Claude. Sabina quickly takes her place in Franz’s life. Sebina has never been

the type of woman to settle down with one man permanently. After just a short while she realizes she is not happy being settled in with Franz. The longer she stayed with him the more she wanted to destroy him. He was too good of a man for her to just keep hurting him. One day Sabina decided that it was not fair to him at all. She needed to leave and let him go back with his wife.
Living in truth meant something different to each person but in the end the differences in opinion destroyed the relationship. The view of truth is very important in any relationship and must match up in order for the relationship to be a success.


Posted by: Erin at April 19, 2010 10:45 PM



Branka Trivanovic


ENG 226 [HONORS]


Dr. B. Lee Hobbs


Due April 20, 2010




Reading Response




In Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being, he defines some common place words in a way that differ from the “normal” definition. Franz’s opinion of the “misunderstood” words are more like the dictionary definitions while Sabina has a more interesting take on them.

When talking about Bohemian cemeteries, Sabina’s character compares them to gardens. To her a cemetery is not a “dump of stones and bones” like it is to Franz. She sees it as a children’s ball because, “the dead are as innocent as children” in her opinion. Whenever she feels down she gets in her car and drives to a cemetery. There she feels like no matter what is happening in the world, “peace always reigns in the cemetery” (104) which I find to be an ironic statement. Peace in a cemetery comes from the silence… the silence is initiated by the fact that the people who reside there are dead. They have no way of speaking, thus, there can be nothing other than peace.

Although he could have chosen any words to “clarify” this part of his novel, I think that Kundera chose the words such as “cemetery” to show just how different two people can be. The only thing that Sabina and Franz shared was a bed. They carried separate ideologies about most of life. They couldn’t even agree on something as universal as a cemetery. Sabina indulged in visiting while Franz saw nothing special in them. He did not seem like the type to visit just for the fun of it. I think that the only time he planned on spending time in one is when he is dead and gone like all of the other occupants there.

Overall I enjoyed the book. I think that it drew a lot of important life questions to light—no pun intended. I was both annoyed and fond of Tereza’s willingness to stick by Tomas all the while he was being promiscuous and sleeping around with other women behind her back. I figured that other than her fear of not having anyone if Tomas left her, I think that maybe deep down Tereza knew that eventually he’d come back to her and be only hers. They lived up to the traditional marriage vows of “till death do you part”…



Works Cited


Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: HarperPerennial, 1991.

Posted by: Branka T at April 20, 2010 12:23 AM

Patricia Pothier
ENG 226
Survey of World Lit.
Dr. Hobbs

The Sun Also Rises
---------
Light and Darkness appears on page 94 of the book and is referenced to the lives of Sabina and Franz. Their lives intertwine yet the two characters define these terms very differently. Throughout the novel Kundera discusses his own interpretation of the terms light and dark. It is in this section that he lays out a clearer definition based in his own interpretation. He does this by using two of the books main characters.
Kundera opens the section with, “Living for Sabina meant seeing. Seeing is limited by two borders: strong light, which blinds, and total darkness.” Sabina’s life symbolizes lightness of being. She uses these terms, light and dark, figuratively. The two words become like borders to her which present limitations. Deciding to rebel against the limitations these terms represent she develops a distaste for “extremism”. An extremist is understood to be one who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norm. It is a term used frequently in regards to politics. Kundera writes, “A passion for extremism, in art and in politics, is a veiled longing for death.” This provides the reader with a better idea of Sabina’s lightness of being. At the end of the section he defines Sabina’s interpretation of darkness. He writes, “But for her, darkness did not mean infinity; for her, it meant a disagreement with what she saw, the negation of what was seen, the refusal to see.” Since Sabina dislikes extremes she chooses to shy away from blinding light and total darkness.
Franz however, applies the two terms literally. Light to him is not a representation as it is to Sabina. Kundera writes, “[light] evoked the source of light itself: the sun, a light bulb, a spotlight.” Franz is a weighty character. In the novel he is bothered by lightness which creates a need for importance in practically every event he comes across. In terms of darkness, Kundera depicts a strong desire that attracts Franz; even though he knows it to be laughable to make love in the dark, he still closes his eyes when he has sex with Sabina. Kundera writes, “The darkness was pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless.” It eliminates borders and allows him to capture a sense of infinity. To Sabina, the closing of his eyes makes him lifeless almost dead to her. Since seeing is living she in turn closes her eyes as well.
Kundera used these terms to provide a better window into the lives of Sabina and Franz. By doing so he contrasts their characters and shows the complexities that come with the intimacy of their relationship.

Posted by: patricia pothier at April 20, 2010 01:01 AM

Katie Ganning
Dr. B. L. Hobbs
ENG 226: Survey of World Literature II
20 April 2010
Beauty Is In the Eye of the Beholder
In every country, there is the pride and culture of the people that create diversity from other countries. As much as some may look down upon other cultures, they must also remember that possibly their lifestyle is not of a liking to others too. In Kundera’s The Lightness of Being, Sabina’s lovers Franz looks down upon New York’s beauty because of the structure on which it was built, unintentional.
As Franz and Sabina walk through New York, he draws the conclusion that each building is created out of human design and not well thought out. Similar to the way he felt of New York, it is possible that he meant the mannerism of the political stand-point. “Beauty in the European sense has always had a premeditated quality to it. We’ve always had an aesthetic intention and a long-range plan.” (Kundera 101) Since America was originally govern by the monarchy of England, the rebels of the country decided on gaining independence and overtime created a government solely on freedom of the people. As he sees the beauty of New York unpleasant, Sabina sees it as, “Beauty by mistake.” (101)
Similar to his metaphor about mountains, that every step you take is different than the last, he defines New York as similar. As a whole, Franz saw New York as unplanned with everything thrown together without putting much thought into it at all, but Sabina saw New York as one of her paintings. Sabina’s style of art was what one would call abstract, like New York; as a whole you see everything together and it may look a bit confusing, but if you see the details, like the way she saw the people passing by, it begins to create a form of appreciation to the art and the person who created the work.

Works Cited
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper Perennial, 1999.

Posted by: Katie Ganning at April 20, 2010 09:55 AM

Dana Jennings
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-226
20-4-10

The Bearable Heaviness of Woman

Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a pessimistic and tragic story of a love triangle, or rather, love polygon. Therefore it follows that Kundera’s definition of the word “woman” is drastically different than the Oxford English Dictionary or mine. We have a few examples of women, namely Tereza, Sabina and Marie-Claude. The most sympathetic, in my opinion, is Sabina, even despite her being complicit in the infidelity of at least two men. This is because she is the lightest in the novel, the one that recognizes her indiscretions and is able to find her balancing place in her life.

The other two women are heavy, not physically, but metaphysically. They represent marriage and fidelity, and a chain to keep the men grounded. The men, Tomas and Franz are constantly chafing against their chains and in the end Marie-Claude is forced to metaphorically strangle Franz with his chains. I do not respect Tereza, which I cannot figure out if Kundera wants us to respect her or not. She is a rube, which is forgivable, but she is a willing participant and enabler of Tomas and his indiscretions.

Kundera uses a method of definition that is conversational and informal, discussing particular women rather than a broad statement of gender or the sex. He ends the definition of women with “It was then he had his first inkling of what it means to suffer” (91). This is a terrible view of women to be left with, and it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

He chose certain words as his “misunderstood” words because they best represented to him the lightness and heaviness of the world around him. He sees women as heavy objects, and therefore places value to them, but he changes the norm by placing questionable values to them. His most sympathetic female character is an accomplice to adultery many times over. This is his method of questioning our values and forcing us to rethink how we view the world and the object in it. I state it that way because I feel that Kundera does see women as objects, either to be conquered like a mountain or evaded like an invading horde.

Work Cited
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael Henry. Heim. New York: HarperCollins, 2004. Print.

Posted by: Dana Jennings at April 20, 2010 10:45 AM

Antonette Boynes
HON ENG 226: Survey of World Literature II
Dr. Lee Hobbs
04-18-2010

Eternal…………..?

The concept of Eternal Return is basically a notion that history occurs again and again. Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, commences with a discussion on this topic. He denies any possibility of the return being valid because of the fate of humans, humans fall into total rejection of established laws and institutions, unless he/she believes in eternal return of their actions, consequently, giving their actions weight.
Tomas is a very worthless man, whose sexual encounters are nothing more than the very adjective that describes him. They are all meaningless to him, until fate throws him Tereza. Tomas’s continuous unfaithfulness causes her much pain, nevertheless she endures all his betrayals and is more attracted to him, and vice versa. On page 33, he uses the expression Es Muss Sein, to express their relationship; it must be!
Kundera uses the theme of eternal return as a writing motif . When Tomas uses the Es Muss Sein expression to describe his relationship with Tereza, he finds meaning, something associated with weight. Although it may seem as thought it was his choice, clearly in the book, Tomas acquired feelings for Tereza which he could not control making it destiny, not his choice of destiny. Many times situations happen that have to be put up with and cannot be escaped.
At the ending of the novel, Kundera says, "And therein lies the whole of man's plight. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition." At this point Kundera acknowledges Nietzsche's point of view on the eternal recurrence permitting meaningless survival, however he is teasing Nietzsche, knowing the survival is impossible because the eternal return does not and cannot happen! It is all a wish.

Posted by: Antonette Boynes at April 20, 2010 10:46 AM



Branka Trivanovic


Dr. B. Lee Hobbs ENG 226 Survey of World Literature
II [HONORS]


22 April 2010




The Faustian Pact: Not Just for Goethe




If one was to number the amount of books available around the world the count
could surely go on for weeks, if not months. There are a variety of
books available covering a range of topics, and it is not strange to
find two books that contain similar ideas. One key aspect of any work
is the symbolism that it carries within it. It may not be evident at
first, but many books carry the same symbolism, just written
differently. Looking at Moliere’s Tartuffe and Goethe’s Faust, Part I,
the similarity may not be initially apparent. Although the idea of the
“Faustian Pact” was not a literary notion at the time of Tartuffe or
Faust for that matter, it is undeniable that both carry a certain air
about it. In other words, both Moliere and Goethe touched on the
subject before it was conceptualized many years later.


In Moliere’s Tartuffe, Orgon’s Devil comes in the form of a selfish, deceitful man
named Tartuffe. The Faustian Pact that exists between Orgon and
Tartuffe is that of a strongbox. The strongbox contains documents that
were given to Orgon by Argas, a friend that was fleeing the area and
needed someone to take care of the documents, “on which his property
and life depend” (313). Orgon foolishly gave the strongbox to Tartuffe
for safekeeping, but it came back to haunt him later when Tartuffe uses
the strongbox to try to frame Orgon. It contained documents “of an
enemy of the crown” (323) and his failure to report his friend Argas,
leaves him vulnerable to arrest. On page 319, Line 1729 there is a
mention of a “pact.” Orgon receives a visit from Monsieur Loyal who
states that he has been sent by Tartuffe to deliver news. Orgon gets
his hopes up that the visit will bring some “accommodation”, only to
find out that he and his family have a day to move out of their home
because Tartuffe is taking possession of it. In Scene 7, the Gentleman
of the King’s Guard along with Tartuffe come to Orgon and Tartuffe
proclaims, “we arrest you now in the King’s name” (324). One piece of
paper, one signature was all it took for Orgon’s life as we know it to
end. In the end, however, it is revealed that the King did not fall for
Tartuffe’s ploy and that the man that would go to jail would be
Tartuffe himself. Orgon was free to stay in his home and was even
praised for keeping his friend Argas out of harm’s way.


Unlike
Moliere’s Tartuffe, Goethe’s Faust did not have a particularly happy
ending. Faust is a man who, despite all of his knowledge is not
satisfied with his life. He feels that even though he has book smarts,
he has he has not experienced life to its fullest. He feels that joy
has left his life and he is looking to bring it back. He seems to be
going through what might these days be viewed as an existential crisis.
In the section entitled Night, Faust is reading from a book when a
Spirit appears to him. The Spirit tells Faust that his breaths had
plead it into view but in the end says to him, “You are like the spirit
you can comprehend, not me” (21). Faust is distraught by the thought
that not even someone close to God could help him out. The scene
somewhat foreshadows what is about to happen next. The next day is
Easter, and Wagner convinces Faust to go into town with him to
celebrate the occasion. While walking around the countryside, Faust
notices a black poodle following him. The poodle “tows a wake of fire”
(40) which Wagner does not see with his eyes and Faust becomes
increasingly uncomfortable as the pooch comes closer to the two men. In
Faust, the dog is a representation of Satan. Faust sees it because of
his contact with the Spirit. Later on when Faust is in the study with
the poodle, Faust is annoyed with the dog because it keeps howling and
barking from behind the stove. To Faust’s horror, the poodle transforms
from an animal to a man and Mephistopheles appears dressed like a
travelling scholar. It is clear to Faust that this is not an entity to
be taken lightly, but none-the-less enters a pact with Mephisto who
promises to give him all of the worldly pleasures. Faust asks what the
quid pro quo is, to which Mephisto replies, “before that’s wanted much
time will have passed” (56), but Faust persists and essentially ends up
writing up his own death certificate. He is convinced that Mephisto
will not be able to make him “settle on a bed of ease” (57) and says
that if that day comes then he will become Mephisto’s servant that very
day. Mephisto gladly accepts the challenge and when Faust offers his
hand as a way to close the deal, Mephisto instead requests “a line or
two” (58), signed in blood. As the story progresses and the two travel
the world, Faust, disguised as a young man meets a young girl named
Gretchen. Mephisto tries to warn him that she will be no good for him,
but Faust does not listen. Through the course of the play, Faust
manages to send Gretchen’s life on a downward spiral. First, he gives
Gretchen a “sleeping potion” to slip to her mom so that he can visit
her at night. The potion turns out to be a poison and Gretchen’s mother
meets an untimely death. Her brother, Valentine, suffers the same fate
when he challenges Faust to a duel. With Mephisto’s guidance, Faust
wins and Gretchen is left with no family to speak of. Next, Gretchen
hints that she is pregnant with Faust’s child, meanwhile Faust and
Mephisto disappear. She is left to be an unmarried pregnant woman. In
all her shame she drowns the newborn child and is condemned to death.
Faust realizes that he is partly responsible for her plight and asks
Mephisto to help him break Gretchen out of her prison cell. Mephisto
reminds him that it is Faust who called for him and not the other way
around, but eventually agrees to help Faust free Gretchen. Despite his
magic tricks on the guards and the key to the lock, Gretchen refuses to
go with Faust. She sees him for what he really is—an old man and seeing
Mephisto with him she cries to the Court of God to save her. Mephisto
tells Faust to leave her or that he will leave him there with her. It
ends with a voice stating that Gretchen “is saved” and Mephisto say’s
“Come here to me” (168) to Faust. As they disappear, Gretchen is heard
calling Faust’s name from within but he is long gone with the Lord of
the Flies.


Although Tartuffe and Faust were written in different
centuries, they carry a similar message and that is, to never put one’s
life in someone else’s hands. Orgon gave the strongbox to Tartuffe
which almost left him homeless and even in prison as traitor to the
Crown. The obvious contrast between the two is that Faust literally
signed his life over to the Devil by making a deal with Mephisto. He
wanted to experience joy but in the end ended up even more
disappointed. He also ended up being responsible for the downfall of an
innocent soul that he found in Gretchen. Unlike Orgon who was able to
get rid of Tartuffe and continue a life of normalcy, Faust remained
forever bound to his hellish companion.




Works Cited Goethe, Johann




Wolfgang Von. Faust, Part I. New York: Penguin Classics, 2005. Moliere.


Tartuffe and Other Plays. New York: Signet Classics, 2007. �


Posted by: Branka T. at April 22, 2010 12:01 AM

Muriel Clemens
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 Survey of English Literature II (Honors)
April 22, 2010
To Have Faith or Not Have Faith
That is the Question:
Faust and The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The story of Faust is an old one and Goethe is not the first one to tell it. But in Goethe’s telling, “It is a man thinking and making images in extraordinary language” (ix). Faust is a man who is miserable because feels he has learned all he can as a human being and it is not enough. Because of this he is contemplating suicide. Similarly, in the Unbearable Lightness of Being Tereza is a woman who is uncomfortable with who she is. Her mother was an exhibitionist and her stepfather was a pervert so there was little stability or comfort in her youth. In reading Faust one quickly learns that the only thing that Faust has faith in is his misery; however, in reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being we see that Tereza has no faith in her relationship with Tomas.
Faust is a very unhappy man, “My title is Master, Doctor even and up the hill and down again nearly ten years wherever I please I’ve led my pupils by the nose- and see what we can know is naught. When I knew this it seared my heart” (Goethe 360-365). His misery is so deep that he decides to take his life, “This drink, this last, my making, my own choosing, with all my soul I do present it now in high salute and ceremony to the morning” (Goethe 734-736). This event is taking place the night before Easter and it is the sound of the Choir of Angles that stops Faust from drinking the liquid, “The deep hum, the bright notes, why do they force down from my lips the lifted crystal?’ (Goethe 742-743) It is not long after this scene that Mephistopheles, the devil, appears and offers Faust a way out of his wretchedly unhappy life, “I bind myself to serve you here and non-stop do your bidding, tirelessly” (Goethe1656-1657). Of course the devil wants Faust’s soul and Faust is not stupid enough to simply say yes. He chooses his words wisely, “If ever I shall tell the moment: Bide here, you are so beautiful! Then you can fetter me and I’ll go gladly to perdition that instant” (Goethe 1699-1702). If Mephistopheles can make Faust happy then Faust will go willingly to Hell.
It is Faust’s faith in his misery that gives him the resourcefulness to make this bargain with Mephistopheles. Faust has nothing to lose by making this wager because he does not really believe in Hell, “Over there is small concern of mine. Once you have smashed this world to smithereens the other may rise then if it will. My joys well from this earth alone and on my sufferings only this sun shines” (Goethe 1660-1664). He is a man who believes only in his misery, the only thing he has faith in.
In Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being we find Tereza. In this story Tereza meets Tomas, a womanizing physician. Tereza has a strange affect on Tomas, “He had come to feel an inexplicable love for this all but complete stranger; she seemed a child to him, a child someone had put in a bulrush basket daubed with pitch and sent downstream for Tomas to fetch at the riverbank of his bed” (Kundera 6). Because Tomas felt this way about Tereza, he kept coming back to her.
Kundera wrote of Tereza, “She took after her mother, and not only physically” (Kundera 43). He also said “If a mother was Sacrifice personified, then a daughter was Guilt, with no possibility of redress” (Kundera 46). This is how Tereza grew up. In many ways Tereza was an innocent. This naiveté was the reason “she loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm. It had the same significance for her as an elegant cane for the dandy a century ago. It differentiated her from others” (Kundera 50). This was what Tomas loved, this innocence. But he was incapable of staying out of other women’s beds. Tomas’s infidelity caused Tereza so much pain that it gave her nightmares:
While she marched around the pool naked with a large group
of other women, Thomas stood over them in a basket hanging
from the pool’s arched roof, shouting at them, making them
sing and do kneebends. The moment one of them did a faulty
kneebend, he would shoot her. (Kundera 59).
It was Tereza’s total lack of faith in Tomas that gave her these nightmares. In an odd way it was also this lack of faith that kept her with him. This lack of faith is what would lead Tereza to her own act of infidelity.
Tereza has another dream. In this one she tells Tomas that she can’t take his adultery anymore. He tells her that he has taken care of everything and all she has to do is climb Petrin Hill. What she finds there is an assassin who says she has to be a willing participant in her death. He cannot kill her if her decision to die is not her own but she knows this is what Tomas wants so she says yes. In the end she can’t do it. This dream is why she is unfaithful to Tomas. This was Tereza’s reasoning for her actions:
But then it occurred to her that she was actually being sent to him
by Tomas. Hadn’t he told her time and again that love and sexuality
had nothing in common? Well, she was merely testing his words,
confirming them. She could almost hear him say “I understand you.
I know what you want. I’ve taken care of everything. You’ll
see when you get up there. (Kundera 163)
Her justification for her disloyalty is another sign of her lack of faith in Tomas and he never learns of it.
Reading these two books gives us a glimpse of the human condition from two different perspectives. In Goethe’s Foust we see the depth of Faust’s misery and how he has enough faith in that misery that he makes a deal with the devil and in some ways it is a more powerful faith than want we see in Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. While Kundera’s story may be less powerful it is never the less a poignant lack of faith. Tereza stays with Tomas until the end.

Works Cited
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von, and David Constantine. Faust the First Part of the Tragedy. London: Penguin, 2005. Print.
Kundera, Milan, and Michael Henry Heim. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New
York: Harper Perennial, 2008. Print.






Posted by: M. Clemens at April 22, 2010 01:36 AM

Dawn Serzanin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 226 Survey of World Lit. II
22 April 2010

Sound or Silence

Music is the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary. Milan Kundera discusses the meaning of music in his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Words can be defined in dictionaries to have a single meaning, but in many cases individual people interpret words much differently.
Kundera lists music as a misunderstood word. Unlike the dictionary definition, to Kundera the meaning of music was much more. It was not about the sounds that were put together or the continuity of sounds. Sabina understood music as if it were a book definition she did not take the time to think more of the sounds she was hearing. Franz on the other hand truly appreciated every genre of music. It was not only the art of music he enjoyed and got lost in but the distraction it created. His job was to teach and have everyone always listening to what he had to say, he found music an escape from that.
In the novel, the author uses his characters to define and help the reader understand what his definition of a word is. Using real life situations and examples gives a deeper meaning to his definition because it is being applied. Kundera seemed to have chosen the word music because there were many links to it. Music is a part of most people’s lives even if they do not make a conscious effort to put it there. By using the theme of lightness and weight to help understand what Kundera thinks of music you can see he wanted it to be a lighter thing. He wanted it to be an escape from the everyday world and less of a science.
Kundera uses the section of his novel Words Misunderstood to better define what words me in our everyday life. He introduces new ways of defining words in order to inspire and intrigue his readers. Milan Kundera steps outside conformity of a single definition and explains words as his characters see them.

Posted by: Dawn at April 22, 2010 09:08 AM

Katie Ganning
Dr. B. L. Hobbs
ENG 226H: Survey of World Literature II
22 April 2010
Me, Myself and The World
Children have used the guidance of their parents to show them how to live and survive in the society they are raised. They are treated a certain way, not because the parents want to torment them with constant reminders of their meaning in life, but to guide them into the right direction in hopes they will overcome the negativity of society and the people who walk among us every day. Once children have mastered both their learning methods and work ethic, they become young adults and these young adults have the choice, to attain self-determination or live in the constant following of others. According to Father Agostino Gemelli, who writes the foreward in the studies of Roberto Zavalloni, Self determination, or “personal freedom, is marked by a psychic process through which a conscious subject, through influence in his actions by concrete conditions, is capable of self determination, without being coerced of determined by the impending action of external and internal forces.” (xi) As humans we are all born into this world with the right to make choices. In a way this is a form of autonomy. As one grows with the nurture of adults and nature of the surroundings, it eventually becomes one’s choice to choose the path to take.
In Goethe’s Faust, Faust has attained self determination by his constant learning and gaining knowledge that in our natural law one is capable of accomplishing. When Mephistopheles, who portrays the devil, is given the chance by God to challenge His own follower who is believed would not fall into the trap of temptation that Mephistopheles has planned to do. At first, Mephistopheles pretends to guide Faust into happiness by giving him the power to receive his love Margarete. Since she is innocent and pure, Margarete does not give in to the temptation of Faust’s attraction, but her determination is soon abolished and falls into the hands of Mephistophele. By the fancy of jewelry, she begins to feel different of her original morals, “Day and night she thinks of the gold and silver, But more of him who brought it to her”. (51-52) It is simple for humans to be easily directed wrongly by their weaknesses because it gives them the satisfaction during that moment in time.
As Faust does fall into Mephistopheles lies and temptation, he begins to lose everything which he grew to love and eventually is taken into Hell. As much as some people want to believe they have everything in life figured out, they choose the guidance of other people to seek more knowledge. Life is not always meant for one to have others do everything for their favor because it then takes away the power of learning knowledge and therefore defeats the purpose of learning and experience. Freedom is not given, but acquired.
Many people see religion as a guide to attaining the positive form of self determination. In early Christian history, followers of God are given commandments and sacraments in order to live in this world comfortably. For over a thousand years, people were able to follow these rules and lived a happy lifestyle, but as people continued to grow with their knowledge, they began to question the higher authority they have followed for so long and wondered, is their really a God? In 17th century France, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, but prefers to be called Moliere, created a play called, Tartuffe which was immediately censored by King Louis XVI because of its relation to mocking the Christian faith. Eventually the play was taken off as being censored and is now taken as a form of entertainment rather than relating it to real life. However, in every society, there are false personalities of people who pretend to live a certain way and then eventually make people follow their form of living which can lead them into the wrong direction.
When Tartuffe is taken in by Orgon’s family, Orgon is drawn to Tartuffe’s preaching and begins to follow him to attain happiness, but as he continues to follow his teachings, his family begins to question Tartuffe’s reason for being here, “But since he’s taken Tartuffe as his hero, His sanity has been reduced to zero”. (Moliere 83-84) Religion teaches humans to live a moral life the way God wants one to live, but since humans are given souls they test certain teachings and question because one does not like the idea of God being higher than human life. Eventually, Tartuffe’s secret is revealed to the family and is immediately asked by the family to be imprisoned. As much as Tartuffe has learned from his actions, he has lived his life being an imposter to different families so he does not have to do anything for himself. Many different people use their knowledge of self determination to manipulate people into thinking their way is the only way to seek happiness, but it is through one’s own learning and self experience that one can gain the freedom they choose to have in order to live the life they want.
In both cases of Faust and Tartuffe, the known intelligent characters are considered to be not fooled and would in fact conquered self determination. However, through their actions, it is clear to say that possibly even the smartest people may not have attain the freedom they wish to attain because it is by the nature surrounding one that holds back their own choices and personal freedom.
It is difficult for an individual to reach self determination when the constant actions of others lead people in the wrong direction. Humans are given choices between right and wrong, good or bad, but it is hard to choose which way is correct. By people putting their faith into objects that are easily broken or give false hope, they are only temporarily answering the questions they look for and not reaching eternal answers. To say free will is an illusion may or may not be wrong, but it does not answer what happens in the afterlife of one’s soul. One of the only possible ways for humans to attain self determination is by living with good morals and values. After one has determined their lifestyle, they might become confused with their meaning, which many collectivistic people cannot answer and eventually fall into worldly possession. As much as certain societies believe in only serving for their country, the resources given by other cultures improve their way of living in the mannerism they want.
By one person only living for their self determination defeats the purpose of involvement of others and the reason for anything else as being part of one’s life. In almost every situation, things go hand in hand with each other; society needs a leader and the leader needs a society to order. One does not have to correct another into living exactly as them, but by being an example of having the control of one’s life can guide others to live with personal freedom while living with temptations of things that do not attribute to eternal living. 
Works Cited
Gemelli O.F.M, Fr. Agostino. Foreword. Self Determination: The Psychology of Personal Freedom. By Roberto Zavalloni. Chicago, IL. Forum Books, 1962. vii-xxiii.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von. Faust, Part 1. New York, NY: Penguin Classics, 2005.
Poquelin, Jean-Baptist "Moliere". Tartuffe and Other Plays. New York, NY: Signet Classics, 2007.

Posted by: Katie Ganning at April 22, 2010 09:57 AM

Antonette Boynes
HON ENG 226: Survey of World Literature II
Dr. Lee Hobbs
04-20-2010

The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Woman in a Doll’s House

Cook, clean, care, three terms that summarize the intended niche of women, but why? It has been prepared that everything has a balance in order for the world to progress, such as good/bad, big/small, and so forth opposites. Therefore there has to be disparity between the man/woman counterparts for there to be equilibrium. The masculine foil has always been known to be in control and have their way with any and every thing. They have also been identified as having little manners, being greedy, and somewhat demonstrating very sparse genuine emotions of faithfulness and love. In the following novels that will be discussed, the character portrayed by the female gender is an essential one to the plot and consequently brings much controversy and attention to the image that the author is illustrating to the audience on his point of view on the feminine homo sapien.
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is a very realistic play written in modern form. The main theme is a woman struggling for her liberation and independence. Nora is labeled as the conventional 19th century woman attempting to be unshackled from the norm. From the early beginning of the play, the author has already set Nora’s character to what he wants the audience to suppose as the role of a woman. Torvald’s rather insulting undertaking to Nora consisted of the names that he referred to her as. On page 148 he asks, “Has my little featherbrain been out wasting all my money again?” At this early point in the story it was already frustrating to see that he would use such a degrading term to describe his own wife. It was interesting that Nora answered to these names because it is quite rare to actually see a response from a female who was treated like a trained dog and given “Scooby snacks” when she performed well. Torvald appeared much more pleasant than what has usually been told and heard about men back in these days. Though Torvald treated Nora like his pet, he showed much care and affection for her unlike the vociferous animals that were described in history books that dominated females. As the story advances, it is revealed that Nora has been treated like a pet all her life, first by her father, now Torvald.
Torvald in this passage is exemplifying his masculine traits and the way he is supposed to perform as head of the household. His role is to protect and provide for his family and also set rules to maintain order to his standards without question.
On the contrary, in The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, Tereza is not verbally despoiled comparable to Nora, but is certainly dishonored by Tomas and all of his sexual flings that anesthetizes her heart with pain. In this text, the male figure, Tomas also demonstrates his masculinity but in a different mode than Helmer in A Doll’s House. Masculinity is portrayed in a matter of three attributes; dictatorial control of the male, partisanship by the woman, and impartiality of the woman.
The impartiality of the women is witnessed throughout the book in many situations. Throughout the book there are citations on male fantasies, porn, and ridiculous, heartless, sexual relations of the protagonists. On page 198 it states, “When his friends asked him how many women he had had in his life, he would try to evade the question, and when they pressed him further he would say, “Well, two hundred, give or take a few.”” Tomas’s method of showing his manliness was not to be in control of women, but to be in control of himself at all times and have to answer to no one for his decisions. Unlike Nora and Torvald, who had a family and a structured order, Tomas went on day to day as a carefree man with no attachments to feelings or females. Tomas was not a flirt, but a severe womanizer who was in need of desperate help in my opinion. Women were in the nude a lot of times. Tereza’s mom was an activist of the nude as Kundera suggests when she states that there is no need to hide the body because everyone has the same thing and no one is more special than the other person. At this point, all that can be drawn from such a situation is that the author is suggesting the women are tools of enjoyment for males and whatever the man pleases to do with them confirms his manhood. It also shows the weakness and helplessness of women to become victims of the predator that arrive and capture their territory.
Another instance of feminine infirmity was when Mr. Krogstad was blackmailing Nora and had her stressed out. At this point, the audience was probably drawn in to praying for the very same “miracle” while reading the book that Krogstad would go down looking like an idiot or his plan would never fall through and Nora would be safe. Nora did get her “miracle” just not the one she expected.
A Doll’s House was improved by the display of dictatorship by Torvald tremendously because it increased the heightened emotions of the audience ad they read the amount of anxiety and nervous tension she endured while being held at a most uncomfortable position by Krogstad, and treated like a poor fool by her husband. Women were obligated to conform to a masculine based society. In the end, when she left it almost seemed as one of those moments to give a standing ovation for the character even though did cannot hear or see.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being lacked the amount of anticipation and interest that was generated by A Doll’s House mainly because it was not a play, and was told as a story. However, it was greatly improved by all the other information that was presented along with it such as the notions of light/darkness and the digression from the story every now and again to explain what is being talked about.
In conclusion, the feminine and masculine roles occupy diametrically opposite poles and are both represented in Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and Ibsen’s “A Doll’d House” respectively. According to the novels, masculinity ideals include authority, male control, female objectification, submission, while feminist concepts encompass female independence, male resistance and the real representation of womanhood and motherhood.

Works Cited

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll's House and Other Plays. Great Britain: Penguin Classics, 1965.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Modern Classics, 1984.

Posted by: Antonette Boynes at April 22, 2010 03:55 PM

World remembers Prague Spring

Posted by: english blog at August 12, 2010 12:58 AM

Brooke King
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 435
13 February 2012
Defamiliarization by Shklovsky: Transforming Kundera's Bowler Hat
In Shklovsky's essay, "Art as Technique," he questions the habitualization and automatism of human life. Art, however, counters this automatic perception of life by taking familiar object and casts them in a new light, therefore defamiliarizing what is known about the object and in essence, creating a new perception for it (Rivkin and Ryan 16). Taking into the account of Shklovsky's theory, we can see through Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being that the act of taking a familiar object and rendering in a different light, changes the perception of the object.
The bowler hat, which is a recurring symbol in Sabina's life, acts as an extension of her youthful rebellious nature and her erotic euphoria. Kundera picks out the blower hat because it belonged to Sabina's grandfather, a traditional construct of gender relations within society. The meaning of the hat, however, transforms from a playful rebellion by Sabina in her youth to an erotic plaything that both Tomas and Franz encountered as an extension of Sabina's sexual femininity. However, Tomas' transformation of the hat into an erotic object also transforms Sabina's being:
When she opened the door, she stood before him on her beautiful long legs wearing nothing but panties and bra. And a black blower hat. She stood there staring, mute and motionless. Tomas did the same. Suddenly he realized how touched he was. He removed the blower hat from her head and placed it on the bedside table. Then they made love without saying a word. (Kundera 28)
However, the hat's symbolism transformed from the masculine perception of domination to Tomas and Sabina's new perception of female masculinity. Kundera uses the transformation of the bowler hat's perception to create the beautiful link of humanity that the defamiliarization of an object can bring. Shklovsky argues that it is the beauty in art that can bring together the defamiliarized object in order to create a special perception of the object. Kundera exhibits this artistry when he transfers the usual perception of a bowler hat from a masculine construct "into the sphere of new perception" (Rivkin and Ryan 19) by attributing feminine attributes onto the masculine object: "The image in the mirror was instantaneously transformed: suddenly it was a woman in her undergarments, beautiful, distant, indifferent woman with a terribly out-of-place bowler hat on her head holding the hand of a man in a gray suit and tie" (Kundera 85). For Sabina, the hat has not changed from the new perception of eroticism, but for Franz, he still viewed the hat in the usual perception and so did not understand his mistresses meaning behind the gesture of putting the hat on and standing half naked before him.
Kundera, as Shklovsky points out in his essay, does not change the nature of the bowler hat, it is still a hat. However, by making unfamiliar in description the purposed meaning of the hat, Kundera has created artistry by linking a new perception of an object with a different take on the body and soul of a human being. By presenting a new perception on human body interaction mingling with soul interaction through the use of a bowler hat, Kundera is able to demonstrate the breakdown in traditional gender relations within society.


Works Cited
Shklovsky, Viktor. "Art as Technique." 1916. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 15 - 21. Print.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. 1985. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. New York: Harperperennial, 2009. Print.

Posted by: Brooke King at February 15, 2012 07:44 PM

Travis N. Rathbone
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 435
29 February 2012

Signifying Significant Headdress: Applying Saussure to Kundera

In the seminal work “Course in General Linguistics,” Ferdinand de Saussure posits that a sign system can be parsed into two correlative parts: the concept and the sound-image—the signified and the signifier respectively: “The linguistic sign unites, not a thing and a name, but a concept and a sound-image” (Saussure 61). Though the relationship between the signifier and the signified is of a vital, inseparable nature, the two are also characterized by a completely random coupling. In other words, the connection between the concept and the sound-image is arbitrary. This point is illustrated by simply looking at numerous languages and the myriad linguistic symbols for a single word—a cat for example. Though the concept might remain static, the sound-image is dynamic. For Saussure, the signifier is “unmotivated, i.e. arbitrary in that it has no actual connection with the signified” (Saussure 62). At first glance, this particular brand of theorizing might seem difficult to apply to literature; however, playing with the meaning and interpretation of a certain sign can hold great worth for the practitioner of literary analysis.

In general usage, if the signifier is characterized by its transmutations and the signified remains relatively constant, perhaps there is substance in flipping the properties of these terms and interpreting them in a new way. If the sound-image remained constant but the concept underwent metamorphosis, some interesting insights might come to bear. Indeed, this form of property exchange already seems to occur in the sense that two people can discuss the same thing (sound-image) but feel differently about what exactly is being represented (concept). This will especially be of interest when analyzing the sign that is the bowler hat in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. For the purposes of this analysis, only the viewpoints of Tomas and Franz will be analyzed. However, a more exhaustive approach would include examinations of Sabina and Tereza as well.

Amongst the layers of subtle metaphor and symbolism in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the bowler hat is a recurring motif that holds a multifarious significance to the characters that populate the work. For one character, the bowler hat holds a significance that transforms throughout the course of her story: “[The bowler hat] returned again and again, each time with a different meaning, and all the meanings flowed through the bowler hat like water through a riverbed” (Kundera 88). For the sexually liberated and spiritually light Sabina, the bowler hat is an issuance of patrimony that was once worn by her grandfather. The first time the bowler hat is introduced within the novel is during a clandestine meeting between Tomas and Sabina: “When [Sabina] opened the door, she stood before [Tomas] on her beautiful long legs wearing nothing but panties and bra. And a black bowler hat. She stood there staring, mute and motionless” (Kundera 28). Tomas’ reaction to this gesture was to be expected. Without saying a word, he took the hat and placed it on the bedside table; they then made love. Within the pages outlined by the text, Tomas’ association with the hat is sexually charged if not fleeting. In the third part of the novel, the reader again witnesses Tomas’ reaction to the bowler hat: “[D]uring a visit to her studio . . . the bowler hat had caught Tomas’ fancy” (Kundera 86). After placing the hat on her head, the two lovers observe each other in a mirror: “And all at once she realized they were both excited by what they saw in the mirror” (Kundera 86). The brevity of his encounter with the hat is deliberate, and even though the sound-image in this instance was identical to that of Sabina’s, the hat embodied different ideals for both. These ideals were different, even, from the way it is viewed by another of Sabina’s lovers, Franz.

Unlike Tomas, who much like Sabina is spiritually and sexually light, Franz’s nature is augmented by a much heavier composition. His substantive conscious and preoccupation with fairly shallow ideals attend to his less than transcendental presence. For Franz, the bowler hat represents something he cannot quite understand; it represents a foolish, uncomfortable state of being, and it introduces a level of uncertainty in life and love—especially his love for Sabina. Franz’s encounter with the bowler hat ends similarly to Tomas’ initial encounter with the headpiece. “[H]e gently took the brim of the bowler hat between two fingers, lifted it off Sabina’s head with a smile, and laid it back on the wig stand. It was as though he were erasing the mustache a naughty child had drawn on a picture of the Virgin Mary” (Kundera 85). This action, however, was not followed by throws of passion as in the former instance. Instead, Franz takes his leave of his mistress, and Sabina remains in her apartment to once more ponder the significance of the bowler hat.

Though this analysis is barely scratching the surface of the text and the multifarious roles the bowler hat plays, a more exhaustive endeavor would surely include a study of each major character in the novel. Though the sound-image of the bowler hat remains the same for the characters, the concept clearly differs in significance for each. A more thorough examination of the text would also include reference to the referent, which for the immediate purpose would provide too much substance to go into here.

Works Cited
De Saussure, Ferdinand. “Course in General Linguistics.” 1916. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 59-71. Print.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1984.

Posted by: Travis N. Rathbone at February 29, 2012 02:00 PM

Travis N. Rathbone
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 435
9 March 2012

In Search of Common Ground: The Chain of Signification in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The displacement of meaning down a perpetual chain of signifiers is one of the salient ideas championed in Jacque Derrida’s essay “Différance.” Ultimately, a sign is not an autonomous entity but relies on, and is relied upon by, other signs to garner significance. Derrida illustrates this point by stating that “[e]very [signified] concept is necessarily and essentially inscribed in a chain or system, within which it refers to another and to other concepts, by the systematic play of differences” (Derrida 285). The issue that subsequently arises is whether any significance can be achieved at all, for if the meaning of a sign is perpetually passing down an endless chain of signifiers, certitude will never be achieved. This “difference” of meaning and the implications therein are made apparent in Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

In applying Jacque Derrida’s notion of the endless chain of signifiers to Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, one need to look no further than the section of the novel aptly titled “Misunderstood Words” to see the volatile nature of language. The perpetual play of signifiers—each impressing and containing within it the other—can be seen in the interactions between Franz and Sabina, specifically in reference to the bowler hat: “[H]e listened eagerly to the story of her life ad she was equally eager to hear the story of his, but although they had a clear understanding of the logical meaning of the words they exchanged, they failed to hear the semantic susurrus of the river flowing through them” (Kundera 88). Ultimately, the bowler hat represents something different for each character. For Sabina, the hat embodies a plethora of meaning and significance. For Franz, it held no meaning at all: “What made him feel uncomfortable was its very lack of meaning” (Kundera 88). The bowler hat is one representation of the constant misunderstanding between Franz and Sabina, but it is also merely the tip of the iceberg. A lexicon of other misunderstood words is also present in the novel.

When discussing the bowler hat, Kundera often follows a line of reasoning that ultimately appeals to a Derridian sensibility: “the bowler hat was a [river]bed through which each time Sabina saw another river flow, another semantic river: each time the same object would give rise to a new meaning, though all former meanings would resonate (like an echo, like a parade of echoes) together with the new one” (Kundera 88). This seems to be an apt metaphor to illustrate the shortcomings of language and the inability to arrive at a point of single significance. In this case, meaning is forever held at bay, moving endlessly down the chain of signifiers until its place of origin is lost and its endpoint is incomprehensible. It is interesting to note that all hope of communication is not lost, for each signifier does contain within itself the minute presence of every other signifier. It is here that salvation from the wasteland of significant language can be found; if every signifier contains within itself the shadow of every other signifier, than there will always be present a faint trace of reciprocal significance. At least enough meaning is produced to foster some form of communication; if no meaning was present, communication would be impossible.

Perhaps this minutiae of understanding created the bases for Sabina and Franz’s union. Given their lexicon of misunderstood words was so vast, mutual understanding had to stem from some source. Perhaps the difficulty for Franz and Sabina is temporal by nature. Ultimately, Kundera suggests that once people mature and become set in their ways, it becomes more difficult to engage in a common understanding of significance—the epitome of words misunderstood.

Works Cited
Derrida, Jacques. “Différance.” 1968. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 278-99. Print.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1984. Print.

Posted by: Travis N. Rathbone at March 9, 2012 01:38 PM

Tiffany Anne Carpenter
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 435- Literary Criticism
26 March 2012
Examining the rise of Sexuality and Gender Differences in
Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being
In her article on the “Politics of Domesticity,” Nancy Armstrong considers the role of female intellectual labor and the importance of how gender in relationship to domestic fiction is often overlooked. She argues that most theorists and critics of New Historicism tend to leave out the role of women and instead focus solely on economic and social histories in relationship to men and politics, leaving a large portion of innovative thought out of the equation, thought that comes from the inclusion of women and their domain of the personal and emergence of sexuality.
One of the works that we have considered throughout the semester, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera is a great example of how this type of gender focused critiques can be applied.
For example, the questions of the Soviet idea of morality might be examined in relationship to personal desires and sexuality in respect to the characters of the work such as Tomas, who is frequently finding new women to seduce and have affairs with, even in the midst of his marriage to Tereza, not to mention the consideration of the political changes of the time.
That approach might even be taken to another level in the consideration of how Sabina and Tereza view promiscuity in their society; Sabina has no problem sleeping around and finds sexual submission almost as a sense of freedom while Tereza has a predisposition to dislike the body, her body and the bodies of others, and feels almost ashamed and dirty as a result of sexual acts. For her, sexual desire is limited and almost harmful; the fact that her husband has affairs with other women and her “fling” with the man from the bar nearly destroys her internally because of her guilt and inability to cope with her own sexuality and the emergence of sexuality throughout the society around her with the people that she is constantly interacting with. She tries to avoid the focus of the sexual, and ultimately suffers because of it because of how prevalent that emergence and focus, and even violence, of sexuality is around her, namely in her husband and his long-term mistress, Sabina.
Another way to consider the arguments of Nancy Armstrong on the importance of viewing the female perspective in relationship to the personal and the political might be looking at Sabina’s sexuality; how she handles relationships with others, her view of her own sexual identity and promiscuity, her view and understanding of the sexuality that is represented in those around her. Even more important of an examination might be an in-depth look at Sabina’s perspective and fascination with the bowler hat and how it pertains to her in this way that she views it as this symbol of eroticism, sexual exploration and freedom, and even rebellion or betrayal. She uses this bowler hat as a way to leave behind her past and the conventions that might be seen in society; as a way to play up her sexual interactions with Tomas and allows him to overtake her in a sexual way, and even as a sense of almost having a separate identity when she wears the bowler hat to have sex with Tomas and Franz, leaving her inhibitions, emotions, and past behind her.
In these few examples, it becomes easy to see how Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being would be a great work to examine in the approach of women’s sexuality, their emergence as intellectuals, having independent views of sexuality, society, and even politics.
Work Cited
Armstrong, Nancy. “Some Call it Fiction: On the Politics of Domesticity.” 1990. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 567-83. Print.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

Posted by: tiffany.carpenter at March 24, 2012 04:54 PM

Travis N. Rathbone
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 435
26 March 2012

Observing Power Structures in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

In this brief application, the subjects of analysis include the character Tomas—plucked directly from the pages of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being—and an implication, though decidedly truncated for the immediate use, of the structure of power as defined by Foucault in his work “Discipline in Punish.” More precisely, the object of analysis will derive from the aftermath of the panoptic form of power as it unapologetically institutes a scenario where a prisoner is an “object of information” instead of a “subject of communication.”

In dissecting and analyzing Tomas’ drive for erotic encounters with numerous women, the narrator in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being describes this philandering proclivity as a desire to discover the “unimaginable” that is unique to each individual woman: “What is unique about the “I” hides itself exactly in what is unimaginable about a person” (Kundera 199). The narrator continues by stating that “[t]he individual “I” is what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed at or calculated, what must be unveiled, uncovered, conquered” (Kundera 199). The word conquered in the previous example holds great significance, for it couples nicely with Tomas’ pursuit—which is simultaneously complex and power driven—and can be viewed through a Foucauldian lens.

Tomas’ search for the “I” within different women is meticulous by nature. Indeed, Tomas’ profession as a surgeon—a profession that provides practitioners with a power over the human form—can be viewed as a direct extension of this nature. He is used to dissecting and analyzing in search of something of import within the human form.

In his addressing the effects of the Panopticon, Foucault indicates that a prisoner of such a penitentiary would be unable to see his fellow inmates nor would he be able to see the watchmen in the central tower. Power, then, is impressed upon this prisoner in such a way that “[h]e is seen, but he does not see; he is the object of information, never a subject in communication” (Foucault 554). For this reading, it is the above organization of power that Tomas illustrates. Tomas’ pursuit to conquer and analyze—once again harkening back to his profession as a surgeon—compels him to view the women with whom he beds as “objects of information.” Though conceptually significant, his constant search for the “I” influences how he views women and thus how the structure of power is present in his sexual encounters.

The multifaceted nature by which Tomas engages his lovers should be stressed here, for his intentions do not lie completely in mere physical pleasures. The intentions behind his clandestine encounters might indeed be considered benign if not at least intriguing. However, when judging the worth of an end goal, the steps taken to obtain that goal should also fall under scrutiny. Tomas’ goal might hold value, but the question remains as to whether his actions are of commensurate worth.

Works Cited
Foucault, Michel. “Discipline and Punish.” 1975. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 549-66. Print.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1984. Print.

Posted by: Travis N. Rathbone at March 26, 2012 12:26 PM

Tiffany Anne Carpenter
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 435- Literary Criticism
26 March 2012
Examining the rise of Sexuality and Gender Differences in
Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being
In her article on the “Politics of Domesticity,” Nancy Armstrong considers the role of female intellectual labor and the importance of how gender in relationship to domestic fiction is often overlooked. She argues that most theorists and critics of New Historicism tend to leave out the role of women and instead focus solely on economic and social histories in relationship to men and politics, leaving a large portion of innovative thought out of the equation, thought that comes from the inclusion of women and their domain of the personal and emergence of sexuality.
One of the works that we have considered throughout the semester, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera is a great example of how this type of gender focused critiques can be applied.
For example, the questions of the Soviet idea of morality might be examined in relationship to personal desires and sexuality in respect to the characters of the work such as Tomas, who is frequently finding new women to seduce and have affairs with, even in the midst of his marriage to Tereza, not to mention the consideration of the political changes of the time.
That approach might even be taken to another level in the consideration of how Sabina and Tereza view promiscuity in their society; Sabina has no problem sleeping around and finds sexual submission almost as a sense of freedom while Tereza has a predisposition to dislike the body, her body and the bodies of others, and feels almost ashamed and dirty as a result of sexual acts. For her, sexual desire is limited and almost harmful; the fact that her husband has affairs with other women and her “fling” with the man from the bar nearly destroys her internally because of her guilt and inability to cope with her own sexuality and the emergence of sexuality throughout the society around her with the people that she is constantly interacting with. She tries to avoid the focus of the sexual, and ultimately suffers because of it because of how prevalent that emergence and focus, and even violence, of sexuality is around her, namely in her husband and his long-term mistress, Sabina.
Another way to consider the arguments of Nancy Armstrong on the importance of viewing the female perspective in relationship to the personal and the political might be looking at Sabina’s sexuality; how she handles relationships with others, her view of her own sexual identity and promiscuity, her view and understanding of the sexuality that is represented in those around her. Even more important of an examination might be an in-depth look at Sabina’s perspective and fascination with the bowler hat and how it pertains to her in this way that she views it as this symbol of eroticism, sexual exploration and freedom, and even rebellion or betrayal. She uses this bowler hat as a way to leave behind her past and the conventions that might be seen in society; as a way to play up her sexual interactions with Tomas and allows him to overtake her in a sexual way, and even as a sense of almost having a separate identity when she wears the bowler hat to have sex with Tomas and Franz, leaving her inhibitions, emotions, and past behind her.
In these few examples, it becomes easy to see how Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being would be a great work to examine in the approach of women’s sexuality, their emergence as intellectuals, having independent views of sexuality, society, and even politics.
Work Cited
Armstrong, Nancy. “Some Call it Fiction: On the Politics of Domesticity.” 1990. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 567-83. Print.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

Posted by: tiffany.carpenter at April 1, 2012 06:04 PM

Tiffany Anne Carpenter
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 435- Literary Criticism
2 April 2012
Examining Language, Desire and the Unconscious in Kundera
Jacques Lacan writes about how our unconscious desires are not based on our background or our instincts, and that they are very elementary in nature, depending on the role of the signifier in the things we see around us. Without going into depth on Lacan’s interpretations of the signifier and signified formula, it is interesting to note the importance of language and desire in Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being.
For Tomas, Tereza, and Sabina, sexuality is a key issue that plays into the way that they live their lives and interact with the people around them. While Tomas and Sabina are more aggressive in following through with their desires, Tereza is much more restrained and tends to deny herself whatever unconscious desires she might have stirring. Because she has such a horrible past that has given her negative feelings and traumatic experiences in relationship to the image of body and to her sexuality, Tereza struggles to continue suppressing her sexuality and desires because she is unable to break through those barriers and cannot move past her internal conflicts. Tomas and Sabina, however, are much more overt when it comes to their desires and they act upon them with little to no thought or consideration for the consequences. They have a much easier time acting spontaneously on their instincts and personal desires without having the internal struggles of what happens next, who they might be affecting in the process, etc. Instead, they are much more likely to behave based solely on their personal desires and wants and do things as they see fit in the moment. They might suffer or struggle with those decisions later, but living in the moment is much more their style, especially when it comes to their sexuality. In this way, Kundera uses these characteristics and extensive, graphic language to describe these scenes and the development of these characters to establish them and showcase the way that they operate in their environment and the way that they operate based off of their unconscious--which they essentially turn conscious because they are aware of them--desires, highlighting the importance of that language as Lacan points out.


Work Cited
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.
Lacan, Jacques. “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud.” 1957. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 447-61. Print.

Posted by: tiffany.carpenter at April 1, 2012 06:14 PM

Travis N. Rathbone
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 435
16 April 2012

Who Watches the Watchmen?: Foucauldian Power Dynamics in
The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Considered by many to be Milan Kundera’s most important work, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, written by the Czech-born intellectual and published in French in 1984, offers its readers a story that is rife with a distinct symbolism that characterizes the novel’s theoretical framework. Intertwining moral conundrum, character tension, and philosophical underpinning, this conceptual tour de force is masterfully executed from the onset of the narration to the comparatively sleepy, if not emotionally tender, concluding lines. The density of the conceptual presence is so trenchant to the story one need only open to a random page to be confronted with a topography that requires very little excavation in order to unearth something of substantial value. Of the theoretical concepts that saturate the novel, power dynamics is a multifarious theme that can be seen influencing the actions and development of each primary character, not the least of whom is Tomas. When analyzing the particular brand of power dynamics made famous by the French philosopher Michel Foucault, some interesting implications come to light. For instance, Tomas’ preferred application of power is Panoptic in nature—a form of authority that is contingent upon a perceiver and a perceived. By parsing the use of the Panoptic power structure present in the novel and by focusing on the notions that power is visible yet unverifiable, subjects are observed and analyzed, and rigorous classification begets standardization, some intriguing insights are uncovered; whereas it might at first appear that Tomas is one of the most powerful characters in the novel, by application of the Panoptic power structure, it can be seen that his power does not stem from an innate ability he alone champions but, rather, is produced from the social and political interactions in which he engages.

Michel Foucault’s seminal work Discipline and Punish, published in 1975, gave birth to ideas that proved to be influential in a few unexpected ways. Though of interest to historians and social commentators, Foucault’s publication also found itself being used—with vigorous interest and great success—by Literary Theorists housed in English departments across the globe. Indeed, Academe enthusiastically embraced Foucault’s theoretical musings and the longevity of his ideas speaks to the truth that is inherently trenchant within them. Though the main focus of Discipline and Punish is a tracing of the penal system through time and the influence and present day application of power structures, Foucault’s emphasis on and use of John Bentham’s Panopticon as a metaphor for modern power dynamics is a major point of import for most scholars of this work. To understand this power dynamic, one must first understand the tangible structure upon which the conceptual structure is built.

The architecture of the Panopticon, proposed as the ideal penal institution, is characterized by two structures that work in unison to create a single building. At the periphery of the building is a structure that is circular in construction, and at the core of this structure is a tower from which a panoramic view of the periphery structure is afforded. The center facing side of the periphery building faces the tower and is open so as to provide a watchman in the central tower complete access to the containment cells located in the periphery building. A watchman placed in the central tower structure can see every prisoner held in the containment cells located within the periphery building; in this way, a sense of complete transparency is created in relation to the inmates. However, this transparency is not shared by the inmates in relation to the watchman. Due to the nature of the construction, a prisoner cannot see the watchman within the central tower structure. Ultimately, a prisoner will have no way of knowing whether he is being watched; therefore, there remains the possibility that he is always being watched. Contained within this relationship—that of the observer to the observed—is Foucault’s notion of power: “The prisoner experiences a feeling of constant surveillance. And this is the very basis of Panoptic power. Panoptic power is the effect achieved through the realization that one is subjected to the gaze” (Crossley 403). Contained within this dynamic is one of the characteristics of the Panoptic power structure: power is visible yet unverifiable, for there is no way for a prisoner to know whether a watchman is truly observing.

Foucault takes this model of the Panopticon and applies it to social structures of power in order to flesh out and conceptualize modern power dynamics. It is important to note that Foucault does not believe that power is something a person possesses but rather something a person can utilize through social interactions. Power is an ever evolving entity that ebbs and flows through, and is contained within, relationships:
In short this power is exercised rather than possessed; it is not the “privilege,” acquired or preserved, of the dominant class, but the overall effect of its strategic positions — an effect that is manifested and sometimes extended by the position of those who are dominated. Furthermore, this power is not exercised simply as an obligation or a prohibition on those who “do not have it”; it invests them, is transmitted by them and through them; it exerts pressure upon them, just as they themselves, in their struggle against it, resist the grip it has on them. (Foucault 550)

Now that the Panoptic power dynamic has been aptly dissected, an analysis and subsequent application of this structure can be seen in relation to Tomas and his seemingly inherent authority. From the beginning of the novel, Tomas’ serial philandering is abruptly apparent; however, the extent to which he engages in such an activity is grossly illustrated in the section entitled “Lightness and Weight.”

The power dynamic in which Tomas is engaged can be clearly seen within the social interactions that transpire at his place of employment and in the personal relationships he chooses to pursue. Tomas’ decision to become a physician, and even more precisely a surgeon, is a testament to his struggle to become an observer and not to fall prey to being observed. As the narrator in The Unbearable Lightness of Being explains, “Perhaps his deep-seated mistrust of people [. . .] had played its part in his choice of profession, a profession that excluded him from public display” (Kundera 183). As illustrated herein, Tomas’ drive to explore rather than be explored can be seen clearly; even his choice of specialization within the medical field attends to his strive to conquer others by utilizing an observational technique. The narrator continues, “[a] doctor (unlike a politician or an actor) is judged only by his patients and immediate colleagues, that is, behind closed doors, man to man. Confronted by the looks of those who judge him, he can respond at once with his own look, to explain or defend himself” (Kundera 183). Here, Tomas’ discomfort for being ‘judged by the looks of others’ attends to his desire to be a watcher instead of a subject of observation. Though this might not be the primary reason Tomas chose to practice medicine as a profession, it is quite telling concerning his appointed place within the power dynamic.


Concordant to the set of underpinnings underlying his choice of profession, Tomas’ drive for erotic liaisons with a myriad of women—exceeding some 200 in number—is a proclivity that holds substantial symbolic import for the story, and it is a character trait that aids in his acquisition and subsequent utilization of power. The narrator of the story extrapolates upon what Tomas seeks from his constant philandering—a pursuit that transcends mere physical pleasure and aids him in achieving the status of watchman in relation to his many mistresses’ places as “prisoners” in the Panoptic structure. Tomas’ desire for women is consequently a desire to discover the uniqueness that resides within each. His pursuit is to find the one miniscule element that is different from all the rest. “What is unique about the ‘I’ hides itself exactly in what is unimaginable about a person. . . . The individual ‘I’ is what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed at or calculated, what must be unveiled, uncovered, conquered” (Kundera 199). This drive to conquer and analyze the individual uniqueness within each woman is once again a testament to Tomas’ desire to be the observer as opposed to the observed. Tomas’ quest for the “I” within each woman is meticulous at its very nature. Indeed, Tomas’ profession as a surgeon—a profession that provides practitioners with a power over the human form—is a similar expression of this nature. At the heart of Tomas’ drive is the need to dissect and analyze in search of something of importance within the human form.

Tomas’ womanizing vice is rooted in a longing for discovery, but the intent behind these discoveries is not as benign in nature as it might at first appear. By uncovering what makes each woman unique, Tomas is rendering each woman a subject of observation. “Tomas was obsessed by the desire to discover and appropriate that one-millionth part. . . . he longed to take possession of something deep inside of them. . . . So it was a desire not for pleasure [. . .] but for possession of the world [. . .] that sent him in pursuit of women” (Kundera 200). By leaving no rock unturned, in a metaphorical sense, Tomas resides in a power dynamic in which he possesses the power.

It is important to note that Tomas’ place in the power structure is not merely constructed by his short-lived, disposable flings with the women he considers less consequential. This power dynamic can also be witnessed within the relationship he shares with his most significant mistress, Sabina. During one clandestine encounter between the two, Sabina stops in front of a mirror amidst the process of disrobing. Sabina and Tomas observe her reflected figure. She is donned in nothing but undergarments and a bowler hat, and even though Sabina’s gestures suggests a playful countenance, brewing beneath the surface is something less jovial: “The fact that Tomas stood beside her fully dressed meant that the essence of what they both saw was far from good clean fun [. . .] it was humiliation” (Kundera 87). However, this defining moment in power relations does not end with the realization of humiliation but, rather, submittal to the structure. “But instead of spurning it, she proudly, provocatively played it for all it was worth, as if submitting of her own will to public rape; and suddenly, unable to wait any longer, she pulled Tomas down on the floor” (Kundera 87). For Sabina, the recognition of this power dynamic produced a surge of excitement. In this way, Tomas was the watcher and Sabina the watched. Tomas was observing Sabina from a relatively safe, fully clothed, location, and it was Sabina who was bearing herself to the world; it was Sabina whose relation to Tomas was translucent; it was Sabina who was a prisoner and forced to relinquish strategic positioning within the power dynamic.

The above examples are but a few illustrations of Panoptic power dynamics at work in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. A more exhaustive approach to this topic would not stop at an analysis of Tomas’ position within the power dynamic and how it is nurtured through his social and political relations but would also focus on other significant characters within the text. Another avenue of approach—if one were to remain withing the confines of an analysis of Tomas—would be to include his relationship with his wife, Terezza, and how the power dynamic is structured in his primary relationship. Ultimately, in a metaphoric Panoptic structure, if Tomas’ mistresses are the prisoners who are subjected to observation and Tomas is the watchman, the questions remains: who watches the watchman?

Works Cited
Crossley, Nick.”The Politics of the Gaze: Between Foucault and Merleau-Ponty.” Human Studies 16.4 (1993): 399 – 419. Web. 13 Apr. 2012. This article provides an apt breakdown of Foucauldian Panoptic power dynamics. Though the information pertaining to “the gaze” and Merleau-Ponty is interesting, the main point of substance for this current usage is the added commentary on Panopticism.
Foucault, Michel. “Discipline and Punish.” 1975. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 549-66. Print. The main focus of Discipline and Punish is the tracing of the penal system through time and the influence and present day application of power structures. The information presented on the Panopticon is used in a theoretical sense to analyze power structures within The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1984. Print. This novel is a philosophical inquiry into the themes of love, loss, lust and moral conundrum. The main characters grapple with their own moral standing and attempt to navigate a world that is at times simultaneously incredibly light and overbearingly heavy. This novel provides the backdrop to which the Panoptic power dynamic is applied.

Posted by: Travis N. Rathbone at April 16, 2012 02:04 PM

Tiffany Anne Carpenter
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 435- Literary Criticism
16 April 2012
Mock Conference Panel: “Re/Deconstructing the Sexual Politics of Milan Kundera”
Personal and Political Sexuality in Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being
In her article on the “Politics of Domesticity,” Nancy Armstrong considers the role of female intellectual labor and the importance of how gender in relationship to domestic fiction is often overlooked. She argues that most theorists and critics of New Historicism tend to leave out the role of women and instead focus solely on economic and social histories in relationship to men and politics, leaving a large portion of innovative thought out of the equation, thought that comes from the inclusion of women and their domain of the personal and emergence of sexuality.
She defines her idea of domestic fiction as “gender-inflected writing” and points out that in examining Foucault’s terms of “discourse, power, sexuality, [and] discipline” there are flaws because of the power of this system being dependent upon forms of consciousness, unconscious desire, and subjectivity (570). Armstrong shows her hesitation with the ideas of Foucault because of his lack of focus on gender in politics and she aims to bring the role of women’s intellectual labor to the forefront. She suggests “that modern institutional cultures depend upon the separation of the political from the personal and that they produce and maintain this separation on the basis of gender” and goes on to highlight the importance of varying sexual roles and gender roles in a household, marriage, and even society as a whole and how men and women have been often defined specifically by gender (573). She closes by exclaiming that she is attempting to “represent the discourse of sexuality as deeply implicated in the shape of the novel” and that in the end, although it might seem a simple feminist critic, she is only trying to highlight the importance of examining fiction not only as literature in the text itself, but though various perspectives that include the broad range of considering gender differences throughout history, as well as cultural and class perspectives in relationship to those gender roles in society.
One of the works that we have considered throughout the semester, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera is a great example of how this type of gender focused critique can be applied.
For example, the questions of the Soviet idea of morality might be examined in relationship to personal desires and sexuality in respect to the characters of the work. Tomas, for example, is frequently finding new women to seduce and have affairs with, even in the midst of his marriage to Tereza because his views of love, lust, and sexual desire are separate from one another and his lifestyle and philosophy leaves him emotionally detached from the world around him. There is this exchange between people and their views of power; where control is established can often be related back to control in sexuality. Tereza wants power in a different way than Sabina in that respect; she wants control by desiring Tomas to be with her and her alone. She is this image of innocence and almost purity for Tomas, something that he can claim as his in one way and then continue to sleep around with other women to ensure his happiness in all realms of his personality and desire. Tereza wants control of her relationship with him and control of her body, wanting to limit the sexuality that she is trying to suppress because of her society and her psychological struggles with the image of her body. Sabina on the other hand, is submissive in how she reacts to the men around her in some ways by letting them take advantage of her body and use her sexually. However, she is controlling at the same time because she is strong and sexually independent, having sexual relationships with whomever she wants, whenever she wants and not thinking much of it. She acts on instincts and desires and can control her emotions enough to have sexual power within these relationships; it is almost as if she thrives on how inconsequential sex is to her and how she can dismiss her interactions as merely a game. This is an interesting philosophy for a woman be portrayed as embodying, especially for the time Kundera is writing. Like Armstrong mentions, the stereotypes and standards that society placed upon women would shun the lifestyle that Sabina is trying to lead through her sexual aggressiveness.
That approach might even be taken to another level in the consideration of how Sabina and Tereza view promiscuity in their society; Sabina has no problem sleeping around and finds sexual submission almost as a sense of freedom while Tereza has a predisposition to dislike the body, her body and the bodies of others, and feels almost ashamed and dirty as a result of sexual acts. For her, sexual desire is limited and almost harmful; the fact that her husband has affairs with other women and her “fling” with the man from the bar nearly destroys her internally because of her guilt and inability to cope with her own sexuality and the emergence of sexuality throughout the society around her with the people that she is constantly interacting with. She tries to avoid the focus of the sexual, and she ultimately suffers because of it because of how prevalent that emergence and focus, and even violence, of sexuality is around her, namely in her husband and his long-term mistress, Sabina.
It is also important to consider the female perspective in this continued relationship of power to the personal and the political by looking at the role of Sabina’s sexuality; how she handles relationships with others, her view of her own sexual identity and promiscuity, her view and understanding of the sexuality that is represented in those around her. A more in-depth examination might even look at Sabina’s perspective and fascination with the bowler hat and how it pertains to her in this way that she views it as this symbol of eroticism, sexual exploration and freedom, and even rebellion or betrayal. She uses this bowler hat as a way to leave behind her past and the conventions that might be seen in society; as a way to play up her sexual interactions with Tomas and allows him to overtake her in a sexual way, and even as a sense of almost having a separate identity when she wears the bowler hat to have sex with Tomas and Franz, leaving her inhibitions, emotions, and past behind her.
Another perspective that plays into the examination of the power struggle that comes from the role of sexuality in Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being might be that of Jacques Lacan when he writes about how our unconscious desires are not based on our background or our instincts, and that they are very elementary in nature, depending on the role of the signifier in the things we see around us. Without going into depth on Lacan’s interpretations of the signifier and signified formula, it is interesting to note the importance of language and desire that the characters have throughout the work.
For Tomas, Tereza, and Sabina, sexuality is most obviously the overarching issue that plays into the way that they live their lives and interact with the people around them. While Tomas and Sabina are more aggressive in following through with their desires, Tereza is much more restrained and tends to deny herself whatever unconscious desires she might have stirring. Because she has such a horrible past that has given her negative feelings and traumatic experiences in relationship to the image of body and to her sexuality, Tereza struggles to continue suppressing her sexuality and desires because she is unable to break through those barriers and cannot move past her internal conflicts. Tomas and Sabina, however, are much more overt when it comes to their desires and they act upon them with little to no thought or consideration for the consequences. They have a much easier time acting spontaneously on their instincts and personal desires without having the internal struggles of what happens next, who they might be affecting in the process, etc. Instead, they are much more likely to behave based solely on their personal desires and wants and do things as they see fit in the moment. They might suffer or struggle with those decisions later, but living in the moment is much more their style, especially when it comes to their sexuality. In this way, Kundera uses these characteristics and extensive, graphic language to describe these scenes and the development of these characters to establish them and showcase the way that they operate in their environment and the way that they operate based off of their unconscious--which they essentially turn conscious because they are aware of them--desires, highlighting the importance of that language as Lacan points out.
Throughout The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera weighs in on the question of sexuality in terms of how it emerges for his characters personally and how it emerges and is influenced politically. They struggle with internal conflicts, their unconscious desires, and individual motivations with how they react with others, how they form relationships, and how they use their sexuality. In addition, they struggle with the suppression of the Soviet society that traps them into behaving in certain ways because of societal and political restrictions. Some characters are stronger than others with their use of sexuality and use it as a way to escape the political unrest that they feel trapped in and others nearly crumble with it and limit their sexuality even more. For Tomas and Sabina, their emotional detachment allows them to take their personal sexuality and make it political by giving them the upper hand in the power struggle. Tereza, on the other hand, suppresses her sexuality and is submissive to society around her, forcing her to face her internal struggles in a stronger light because of her inability to detach herself from what’s happening around her and her inability to find her own identity.
Annotated Bibliography
Armstrong, Nancy. “Some Call it Fiction: On the Politics of Domesticity.” 1990. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 567-83. Print.
In her article on the “Politics of Domesticity,” Nancy Armstrong considers the role of female intellectual labor and the importance of how gender in relationship to domestic fiction is often overlooked. Her arguments provide a foundation for my research on the role of gender in Kundera’s portrayal of female sexuality.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.
Milan Kundera’s work on the Unbearable Lightness of Being is a novel that considers the role of lightness and weight in the philosophical world and applies it to the characters of Tomas, Tereza, and Sabina. He explores the meaning of life, theories of Nietzsche, the role of fate, political commentary, and even the emergence of sexuality in the Soviet realm.
Lacan, Jacques. “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud.” 1957. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 447-61. Print.
Lacan’s article is an interesting source for my consideration on how the use of language and the role of unconscious desire plays out in the work of Milan Kundera because Lacan examines the role of psychoanalytic theory in terms of the use of language and reason through the formula of the signifier and the signified and what that means for human nature.

Posted by: tiffany.carpenter at April 20, 2012 10:18 AM

Brooke King
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 435
2 April 2012
Electrifying Sabina’s Love
Ever since Sigmund Freud introduced the psychological concept of the Electra complex. According to Freud, girls can develop the Electra complex during the phallic stage, also known as the psychosexual stage of development, where they begin to realize that boys have penises and girls do not, and as such, she develops penis envy and transfers her love from her mother to her father (Bernstein 429). Many scholars, like Sheila Powell have been connecting the Freud definition of the Electra complex to the myth about Electra. The obsession about the myth of Electra extends far back into history, where the Greek poetics of Sophocles and Euripides used the myth to create tragic plays and poetic verse (Powell 156). However, Freud’s interpretation of the Electra myth brought about the psychoanalytical approach of interpreting latent incestuous sexual desires of children towards their parent of the opposite gender. In Milan Kundera’s novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, his character Sabina, although erotically in touch with her physical needs, has an underlying sexual drive that at times is projected from one person to another, much like the Electra myth. Sabina exhibits several latent sexual tendencies for her grandfather, which produces a reflective desire for male companionship in the form of sexual fantasies, some of which surround the use of her grandfather’s bowler hat.
In the beginning of the book, Sabina is Tomas’s mistress, but the sexual undertone of the nature their relationship leaves Sabina in need of a real connection with Tomas. In Sabina’s letter to Tomas, she writes, “I want to make love to you in my studio. It will be like a stage surrounded by people. The audience won’t be allowed up close, but they won’t be able to take their eyes off us…” (Kundera 16). Sabina suffers from a part of the Electra complex that deals with adolescent feelings. As Powell puts it, Sabina’s ability to contain her feelings is limited by her capacity to understand the situation around her (158). Sabina has not yet fully developed psychologically and because of her adolescent tendencies, she must act out her fantasies, much like Electra acts out her rage on her mother by taunting her mother with sexually perverse feelings towards her father. According to the Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology, in the pre-oedipal stages of a girl’s development, the girl attaches with her mother, assimilating that she is a female and as such mimics her mother’s actions (Matsumoto). Betty de Shong Meador points out that a woman needs to make this attachment and can return to this identification, after she has identified and has worked through her experience with her father, understanding how the relationship between males and females works (123). This is the stage where girls assimilate feelings for the opposite sex and where they ascribe their father’s attributes towards finding a mate based on the ascribed attributes. Yet, it appears within the novel that Sabina lacks the certain foundation needed for her relationships with the opposite sex and that she has not fully matured out of this stage, partly due to the fact that she is attracted to the same sex, Tereza.
Instead of acting out her feelings of intimacy, complex rage, and abandonment issues towards her grandfather, Sabina acts out against Tomas’s wife Tereza (Kundera 28). Sabina taunts Tereza by continuing her affair with Tomas, seeking out friendship with Tereza, and having a sexually explicit encounter with Tereza at her studio (Kundera 66). Yet, Sabina’s latent sexual desires stem from a familial male figure. Tomas has has replaced Sabina’s grandfather and Tereza has replaced the female counter. In a sense, Sabina has found the female and male identifiers for which she can displace her feelings of abandonment and rage. Because Sabina lacks a foundational support for her crossover back to her post-oedipal self, Sabina is not allowed to transfer over and thus, is stuck in a liminal state of adolescence that is fed by her adult desire for sexual contact. Sabina exhibits the misunderstanding that occurs within the adolescent stage where the image of her heterosexual self is distorted by her relationship with her grandfather. Because this tie to her grandfather is so strong, Sabina cannot let go of her grandfather’s love and as such, a distorted incestuous tie with her grandfather developed. Yet, her displaced aversion and compulsion towards the opposite sex indicates that Sabina has displaced further her love for her grandfather by projecting it onto her lovers and displacing her adolescent aversion for the same sex by dominating a male space, creating a male sub-identity, when in contact with the same sex.
Throughout the novel, Sabina references her grandfather as an important and loving figure. Yet, the one object that she associates with her grandfather is his bowler hat, which she uses to act out her sexual fantasies with Tomas, Tereza, and Franz. Powell states that Electra’s “idealization of her father seem to be an attempt to compensate for [a] painful abandonment… it is also an attempt to draw attention to a young woman who needs to act in accord with her feelings” (158). For Sabina, the bowler hat symbolizes her incestuous love for her grandfather, and by using it in all her fantasies, she is able to act out her latent sexual desires for her grandfather. In addition, the hat allows her to express her need to act in accordance with the sexual feelings of repression that she is feeling for her grandfather and her male partners. However, it is interesting to note that in the rendezvous with Tereza, Sabina only points out the hat, but does not don the hat on her head. “Next to the bed stood a small table, and on the table the model of a human head… Sabina’s wig stand sported a bowler hat rather than a wig, ‘It used to belong to my grandfather,’ she said with a smile” (Kundera 64). The hat is merely alluded to in the presence of Tereza because she has an aversion to the same sex as part of her misidentification with the same sex due to her distorted development in the pre-oedipal/ Electra stage of adolescence. The incestuous sexual feelings towards her grandfather are projected onto her male lovers and not onto the same sex because in order for Sabina to move forward with her life, she must have a male counterpart to help further herself, whether it is via career or personal life. It is because her grandfather had been absent from her life and “all he’d left behind was [the] bowler hat,” (Kundera 65) Sabina has displaced issues with her grandfather. She subsequently uses the bowler hat to transfer her desire for her grandfather onto her lovers. In the myth, Electra must have the same male counterpart in her life in order for her to find a suitor, marry, and have children. Electra projects her desire to have a male counterpart onto her father and in turn onto her brother, once her father is dead and gone. Yet, it is because this male counterpart does not exist wholly in a suitable capacity, Electra finds rage for her mother’s murderous act. Sabina similarly does the same because of the males in her life are her lovers and are not a suitable replacement for her grandfather. As such, she projects her rage out of Tereza because Tereza is holding onto Tomas with their marriage. Because Tomas is married to Tereza, Sabina cannot have him as a suitable male counterpart. Sabina further displays the Electra complex of same sex rage out on Tereza by following Tomas to Western Europe and rekindling her love affair with Tomas. While Sabina does not exhibit rage against Tereza violently, her displaced need for attention from male lovers stems from her need to be loved by her grandfather, as well as the fact that she does not assimilate herself as wholly female/woman.
In the novel, Sabina has a hard time placing her love on the appropriate sex, as well as having a hard time defining her own sexuality. Within the Electra complex, the division of the self occurs when a girl cannot differentiate, in what Powell calls, the inner self and the outer self: “During the time [when] a girl is acquiring knowledge, she may be taken up with the outside world. As she develops physically, her personal psychological preoccupation tends towards the inner world and the world of feeling, so she [tends to feel] pulled in two directions” (167). In terms of Sabina and her psychological development, she has not yet reached maturation and because of this, she feels disconnected with her outside self, or rather, the outside world that her inner self perceives. Because of this disconnection, Sabina cannot relate to her gender, causing confusing in sexuality and in turn an attraction to both sexes. Freud saw this as the unparalleled link between a girl’s sexual development and the bond between father and daughter (Bernstein 429). However, beyond the link of immaturity in sexual emotion is the process of defining ones sexuality. This is developed in the psychological adolescent stage where Freud insists the Electra complex occurs. Even as Sabina is stuck in this pre-oedipal stage of psychological adolescent maturation, she is still highly susceptible to the confusion and disconnect from sexual orientation that Powell suggests happens to girls/ women who become stuck in this stage. In the novel, Sabina reflects on her identity as a woman:
Being a woman is a fate Sabina did not choose. What we have not chosen we cannot consider either our merit or our failure. Sabina believed that she had to assume the correct attitude to her unchosen fate. To rebel against being born a woman seemed as foolish to her as to take pride in it. (Kundera 89)
Sabina, for the most part, is lost in her sexual orientation due in part to her immature psychological development. As such, her feelings become confused and she seeks out attention in order to try to come to terms with her sexuality and psychological need for unavailable men. This is done in order to cover up the need for her absent father figure, her grandfather. In the myth, Electra acts out in an attempt for her to draw attention. Yet, by doing so, Electra is able to seduce undesirable men, such as her father and brother. Sabina, for all her erotic sexual fantasies, desires men who she cannot have by acting out, but her desires are misplaced.
While Freud calls this misplaced desire penis envy (Bernstein 429), it goes much deeper into the core of the psyche, where women differentiate from men emotionally. Freud says that in attempt to avoid disapproval from her mother, a girl will indentify and imitate her mother, and thus form the basis for her superego (Bernstein 429). Yet, where Freud starts, Powell continues: “Woman-as-Electra is undeveloped as a woman who can think for herself because she is enmeshed in a patriarchal culture with which she colludes by feeling that only a man can change the world for her and help her through the struggle” (171). For Sabina, the moment of realization comes when she realizes she is a woman in the sense of the word, but quit unique in compositional makeup. She is freer than the woman Powell speaks of, yet, Sabina seems trapped the notion of having a constant male companion or lover to help her through her life. Ultimately, this is why she rejects Franz (Kundera 91). Sabina is not in love with any of her sexual partners because none of them could measure up to the admiration and displaced love that Sabina had for her grandfather. Each lover lacked something that Sabina needed from a man. Her rejection of men and the collusion of feelings towards male lovers and her grandfather is what ultimately brings about Sabina’s understanding of her sexuality and her need for help. Sabina conclusively found that the only help she needed rested in herself. Sabina realized that the betrayal lay within herself and that in order for her to come to terms with her feelings and her identity, she would have to recognize that she was in fact the problem. In a fit of intoxication, Sabina came to realize that, “The road had to end somewhere! Sooner or later she would have to stop herself!” (Kundera 98). While intoxicated, Sabina revisited her childhood despairs, gradually noticing and owning up to her betrayal of feelings towards the males within her life, namely her father (Kundera 98). However, this gradual ownership of feelings allows Sabina to develop into her post-oedipal self. After coming to terms with her feelings of confusion and disconnect from her sexual orientation, Sabina confronts the only man that has ever truly loved her, Franz : “She had an overwhelming desire to tell him, like the most banal of women, Don’t let me go, hold me tight, make me your plaything, your slave, be strong!” (Kundera 98). Sabina finally is able to own her need for the desired traits in men that resembled her father’s and grandfather’s traits. By accepting them as part of her psychological reality, she allows her full maturation to occur. While her feelings are still congealed with her sexual desires for male companionship, her desires are more in tune with the role of women in her age and are less masculine in nature. She has fully developed beyond the Electra complex because she is no longer struggling with her sexual disconnection. She has fulfilled the role as a woman because she now sees herself a representative value rather than the “signified one of two human sexes” (Kundera 89). Towards the end of the novel, Sabina finally connects with her the psychological identification as a woman and begins to imitate the role of woman, forming her superego around her newfound sense of self (Kundera 256).
While both Electra and Sabina seem to be lost in their placement of desire and attention, both exhibit latent sexual desire for their father figures. Electra emulated her needs and desires onto her father because of the need for a father figure to help her through life. Yet, Sabina emulated her desires onto her grandfather’s bowler hat because of his inadequate ability to be there for Sabina. As a result, Sabina projected her desires for her grandfather onto her male lovers. Though Sabina may not fully have the incestuous Electra complex, she does exhibit some of the overall arching characteristics of the Electra complex, which explains her need for the bowler hat and for some of the more peculiar and erotic scenes within Kundera’s novel.

Works Cited
Bernstein, Douglas A. Essentials of Psychology. 5th ed. Mason: Cengage Learning, 2010. 425-59. Print.
de Shong Meador, B. “Forward into the Past.” Dreams in Analysis. Eds. N. Schwartz-Salent and M. Stien. Wilmette, Ill.:Chiron. 1990.121-53. Print.
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. New York: Harperperennial, 2009. Print.
Matsumoto, David Ricky. Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology. Cambridge University Press, 2009. ebook Collection(EBSCOhost). Web. 29 march 2012.
Powell, Sheila. "Electra: The Dark Side of the Moon." Journal of Analytical Psychology 38.2, 1993: 155-74. Print.

Posted by: brooke king at April 22, 2012 09:14 AM

Morgan Salter
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
8 November 2013

Question: The narrator, when speaking of a hypothetical war between two kingdoms, says that by recurring eternally, “it will become a solid mass, permanently protuberant, its inanity irreparable.” First explain what the words “protuberant” and “inanity” mean. Then paraphrase this sentence in your own words, without using the words “protuberant” and “inanity.”

Answer: The word “protuberant”, as used in the above statement, means to be bulging or outspokenly present and the term “inanity” can be defined as silliness or foolishness in activity. Having studied and defined those terms, the sentence can be paraphrased to essentially mean that the hypothetical war between the two stated kingdoms, if it were to be perpetuated forever, would become a permanently bulging problem with the stupidity of the issue unable to ever be reconciled.

Posted by: Morgan Salter at November 6, 2013 03:07 PM

Connor Schaefer
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL- CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
8 November 2013

Question: Explain the “idea of the eternal return” as summarized by the narrator.

Answer: The eternal return is a mysterious topic. The reader is told how other philosophers are giving the idea that everything recurs as we experienced it once in our lives. The narrator says, “Putting it negatively, the myth of eternal return states that a life which disappears once and for all, which does not return, is like a shadow, without weight, dead in advance and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublimes, it horrors, sublimity, and beauty mean nothing” (Kundera 3). In this passage, the narrator is describing how an eternal return is when a live disappears and never comes back. It is described as a shadow with no weight. It is already dead in advance. Even though, it could have had qualities, at the end of the day they mean nothing anymore. I do not think this refers to just humans. It can be towards events or objects, as well. That is what the “idea of eternal return” means.

Posted by: Connor Schaefer at November 6, 2013 03:36 PM

Stephanie Gilbert
Dr. Hobbs
ENG CL-210 Love and Desire in Literature-CA01
Wednesday, 06, 2013

5. Part I: How was the narrator reconciled with Hitler? What does he mean that he was reconciled? In your own words, explain what happened to the author that brought him or her to this conclusion.

The Narrator was reconciled with Hitler because he was remembering his family members being killed during the war by Hitler. He was forced to remember the events that happened during the war. Because of the war and how he is having to re-live the experience. He says “but what were their deaths compared with the memories of a lost period in my life a period that would never return. (Kundera pg. 4)” I take this to mean that the part that he is re-living he will never get to know. Because all of his memories are about the lives and people he never got to know that were his family.

Posted by: Stephanie Gilbert at November 6, 2013 05:56 PM

Jasmine Charlton
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
6 November 2013

Question: “Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in gaps of your knowledge. If you do not know who Robespierre is, look him up. Who was he and why was he important? Now answer the question of why “French historians would be less proud of Robespierre” if “the French Revolution were to recur eternally.

Answer: French historians would be less proud of Robespierre because like the books says, “ they deal with something that will not return, the bloody years of the revolution have turned into mere words, theories, and discussions, have become lighter than feathers, frightening no one”[Kundera 4]. So the book is saying they can handle something menial that appears and disappears, but if there were more bloodshed and more wars then they would be disappointed in Robespierre since he held high responsibility for the French Revolution.

Posted by: jasmine Charlton at November 6, 2013 09:10 PM

Jasmine Charlton
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
6 November 2013

Question: “Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in gaps of your knowledge. If you do not know who Robespierre is, look him up. Who was he and why was he important? Now answer the question of why “French historians would be less proud of Robespierre” if “the French Revolution were to recur eternally.

Answer: French historians would be less proud of Robespierre because like the books says, “ they deal with something that will not return, the bloody years of the revolution have turned into mere words, theories, and discussions, have become lighter than feathers, frightening no one”[Kundera 4]. So the book is saying they can handle something menial that appears and disappears, but if there were more bloodshed and more wars then they would be disappointed in Robespierre since he held high responsibility for the French Revolution.

Posted by: jasmine Charlton at November 6, 2013 09:10 PM

Ashley Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
6 November 2013

Question 22
What does the word cat mean in Czech slang? What does this have to do with Tereza? Working with this cat theory, how does the narrator claim that Tereza’s dreams should be interpreted, and why?

Answer:
The narrator mentions that the slang word for cat is a pretty woman. Some of Tereza’s dreams where about, “cats jumping at her face and digging their claws into her skin.” (Kundera 10) The narrator says, “Tereza saw herself threatened by women, all women. All women were potential mistresses for Tomas, and she feared them all.” (Kundera 10) The narrator interpreted her dream this way because she was not in agreement with Tomas’s lifestyle and feared that he would stop loving her and leave in the arms of another woman.

Posted by: Ashley Johnson at November 6, 2013 10:06 PM

Kerriann Salatti
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
7 Novermber 2013

Question: 23. What seems to be the basic issue that the narrator has with the word “compassion”?

Answer: Compassion is a feeling we have towards another person of misfortune and to make them feel joy as well. “In languages that derive from Latin “compassion” means: we cannot look on coolly as other suffer; or, we sympathize with those who suffer. Another word with approximately the same meaning, “pity,” connotes a certain condescension towards the sufferer.” (20)

Posted by: Kerriann Salatti at November 7, 2013 02:29 PM

Jalisa Lowe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 November 2013

Question: How was the narrator reconciled with Hitler? What does he mean that he was reconciled? In your own words, explain what happened to the author that brought him or her to this conclusion.

Answer: Looking through a book on Hitler, reminded the narrator of his childhood during the time the war where he lost family members to concentration camps, which Hitler created. The narrator states, “Leafing through a book on Hitler, I was touched by some of his portraits: they reminded me of my childhood. I grew up during the war; several members of my family perished in Hitler’s concentration camps” (Kundera 4). When the narrator says he reconciles with Hitler, he means, “Hitler reveals the profound moral perversity of a world that rests essentially on the nonexistence of return, for in this world everything is pardoned in advance and therefore everything cynically permitted” (Kundera 4). The author came to this conclusion by questioning whether the members of his family, who passed in the concentration camps, were just memories of the past and whether this time in history should vanish forever. (Kundera 4)

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at November 7, 2013 06:35 PM

Maria Benkirane

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 210 CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature

7 Novembre 2013

Question: Why was Tomas “so surprised to wake up and find Tereza squeezing his hand tightly”? What was his normal way of doing things? How was this different?

Answer: Tomas was not used to woman sleeping next to him. When he had mistresses over, he would just tell them that he cannot fall asleep if they are sleeping next to him. Kundera explained that he himself was surprised, "Ten years earlier, when he had divorced his wife, he celebrated the event the way people celebrated a marriage. He understood that he was not born to live side by side with any woman and could be fully himself as a bachelor" (10). When he woke up the next day and found her holding his hand he could not believe it as it was so unusual for him, but he could not take his hand off. He just turned on her side and kept staring at her.

Posted by: maria benkirane at November 7, 2013 07:56 PM

Julia Della Penna
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire for Literature
8 November 2013

Question: 13. PART I: There are, literally, dozens of free websites that offer free language translation. One well-known website is . Use various translators to get the gist of the German adage “Einmal ist keinmal.” What does Tomas mean by this?

Answer: Using multiple translators, the German adage “Einmal ist keinmal” is construe into similar yet different interpretations. One of those few translations, using the website , was “Once in a while does no harm.” A couple more interpretations were “Just this once,” using the website, and “One for the money” using the website. What Tomas means by “Einmal ist keinmal” is “What happens but once… might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all.” (Kundera, 5). Tomas was contemplating about his love for Tereza and how the fact she was dying; questioning if he should die by her side with her or remain alone as she dies by herself from her sickness.

Posted by: Julia Della Penna at November 7, 2013 09:28 PM

Allison Knipe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
7 November 2013

Question: 11. PART I: How does the narrator know Tomas and Tereza? How much do we know about the narrator so
far?

The narrator met Tereza in the Czech and he thought that he was in love. They only spent a short amount of time together but, "They made love the day she arrived" (Kundera 3). Meandering around with Tereza, he met her ex husband Tomas. So far, the narrator does not have an identity. We only know his interactions from afar.

Posted by: Allison Knipe at November 7, 2013 11:40 PM

Alexia Chambers
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and desire in literature CA02
7 November 2013
Question:
8. PART I: What, according to the narrator, is the problem with “the absolute absence of a burden”? Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? What issues arise with this condition, according to the narrator? Is the answer decisive, or not?
Answer:
After he says “…the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.” He then goes on to explain how we can’t know which is correct. “lighter than air” which of lightness or weight is the better of the two? His answer is very indecisive,

Posted by: Alexia Chambers at November 8, 2013 01:11 AM

Camila Pinzon
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
29 October 2013

Question: PART I: Why does the narrator say, “In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia”? What might this mean? Deconstruct it and explain it.
Answer: The Narrator says this quote while after they are speaking of the French revolution. Centuries in the past what may have been horrid, bloody, anguished years; describing them now “the Revolution [has] turned into mere words, theories, and discussions, have become lighter than feathers, frightening no one” (Kundera 4). Referring the quote to the discussion of the French Revolution, the “sunset of dissolution” relates it to the end of the war and the years that have passed by. After years of war, people have finally had closure with the tragedies they endured. However, “everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia” refers to the impact it has made, as well as the impression of all the memories that light the present and future by the past.
Work Cited:
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 2009. Print.

Posted by: Camila Pinzon at November 8, 2013 01:26 AM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
8 November 2013

Question #7: What, according to the narrator, is the “heaviest of burdens”? Is it a good thing, or, a bad thing, according to the narrator? Is the answer decisive, or not?

Answer: Eternal return is the "heaviest of burdens" because "the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make" (5). The narrator considers this to be a bad thing because people cannot choose a different path for their life. His answer is decisive because if the original life was full of pain, then it will continue without stop.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at November 8, 2013 01:36 AM

McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
8 November 2013

Question #9 Part I: Parmenides is one of the "pre-Socratic" philosophers that I spoke of in an early lecture about Plato and Socrates. What, according to the narrator, is he famous for? When did he live and what important question/s did he pose?

Answer: Parmenides is famous for seeing "the world divided into pairs of opposites: light/darkness, fineness/coarseness, warmth/cold, being/non-being" (Kundera 5). He says that there is a positive side and a negative side. Light, fineness, warmth, and being are all positives. The important question/s that he posed were "what then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?" (Kundera 5).

Posted by: McKenzie Burns at November 8, 2013 08:41 AM

Morgan Salter
Dr. Hobbs
English 210 CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
11 November 2013

Question: What drew Tereza to her mirror? Explain. What, according to the narrator, should we NOT confuse Tereza’s fascination with the mirror for?

Answer: Tereza was drawn to the mirror as an instrument for insight into her soul through the reflection of her body. Tereza believed that looking into the mirror, she could see her soul projecting through features of her body. She would get lost staring into her reflection, forgetting the primary purpose of her body and focusing only on its outward appearance of her inner temperament. The narrator makes not that we should not confuse Tereza’s fascination with the mirror for narcissism, “it was not vanity that drew her to the mirror” (Kundera 21).

Posted by: Morgan Salter at November 8, 2013 10:57 AM

Salvatore Christlieb
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
Dr. Hobbs
8 November 2013

Question: PART I: The narrator, when speaking of a hypothetical war between two kingdoms, says that by recurring eternally, “it will become a solid mass, permanently protuberant, its inanity irreparable” First explain what the words “protuberant” and “inanity” mean. Then paraphrase this sentence in your own words, without using the words “protuberant” and “inanity.”

Answer: When defining inanity, it is shortly defined as silliness whereas protuberant is defined as prominent or bulging. The narrator is saying that the war will be silly and prominent or never ending. It would be worthless.

References
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

Posted by: Salvatore Christlieb at November 8, 2013 11:28 AM

Dana DeLosa
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01: Love and Desire in Literature
8 November 2013

Question: “. PART I: Why, according to the narrator, did Nietzsche call “the idea of eternal return the heaviest of burdens”? Don’t just quote passages for the answer. Explain it in your own words.”

Answer: According to the narrator, Nietzsche calls eternal return the heaviest of burdens because “the weight of unbearable responsibility lies on heavy on every move we make” (Kundera 5). This means that the profound effect of every aspect of our lives will continuously repeat and, therefore, result in a heavy burden on every decision we make. If eternal return did not cause a rippling effect for the remained of our lives, it would be extremely light

Posted by: Dana DeLosa at November 8, 2013 12:01 PM

Allison Knipe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
8 November 2013

Question: 41. PART II: How does the narrator define “coincidence” and what does it have to do with the backstory of Tereza and Tomas?

The narrator defines coincidence as, "two events that unexpectedly happen at the same time" (Kundera 25). This applies to Tereza and Tomas because Tomas arrives at the same time that Beethoven is playing and Tereza loves Beethoven. Also, the butcher almost sat in the seat that Tomas had sat in. If Tomas hadn't sat there, they would have never met.

Posted by: Allison Knipe at November 8, 2013 02:04 PM

Jasmine Charlton
Dr. B. Lee. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 November 2013

Question: “What does the word “vertigo” mean? Why does the narrator say that “[a]nyone whose goal is something higher must expect some day to suffer vertigo”? In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

Answer: Vertigo is not only the fear of falling but the text describes it as the, “voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves”[Kundera 60]. Personally I think the narrator is trying to say that people wish to exceed and get to the apex, but sometime they will have a fear of falling or a fear of wanting to give up. Before the quote, the narrator was talking about a women’s fear of dreams and afterwards the narrator had been talking about a woman’s fear of death. Lastly, the narrator was referring to like the book says the fear of her going, “down below” [Kundera 60].

Posted by: jasmine Charlton at November 9, 2013 07:08 PM

Jordan Dadez
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
09 November 2013

Question: Explain Tomas’ “rule of threes”. For what reason did Tomas implement this rule? What is its purpose?

Answer: Tomas’ rule of threes means that he sees a woman three times in a row never to see her again after those three things, or he sees a woman once every three weeks for a long period of time. He advised this rule because “[t]he rule of threes enabled Tomas to keep intact his liaisons with some women while continuing to engage in short-term affairs with many others” (Kundera 12). He implemented this rule to ensure that he never fell in love with any of his mistresses.

Posted by: Jordan Dadez at November 9, 2013 09:45 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
9 November 2013

Question #43: The narrator discusses two people named “Anna” and “Vronsky.” Who are these people? What do they have to do with Tereza and/or Tomas?

Answer: Tereza is carrying the novel "Anna Karenina" with her when she meets Tomas and first moves in with him. She believes that they are destined to be together because of "mysterious coincidences (like the meeting of Anna, Vronsky, the railway station, and death)" (52).
Anna is the title character and she has an affair with Vronsky. Anna rebels against her society by committing adultery and Tereza rebels against the Soviet takeover of Prague with the use of photography.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at November 9, 2013 09:47 PM

Jordan Dadez
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
09 November 2013

Question: Explain what the narrator means when he suggests that “human lives” are “composed like music.” In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

Answer: In music, there is a tone that accompanies every piece. The tone is decided from the notes, and each note tells a part of the story. There are crescendos and diminuendos in each piece, but it is each individual note that compose the up and downs. Such is the way with human lives. Many things happen to an individual in his life that could be simply coincidences; however, with whatever disposition that certain individual has, he would view that coincidence as a fortuity and place extreme importance on this single event. This fortuitous note then leads to another fortuitous note, and so on and so forth. An individual who is “[g]uided by his sense of beauty [. . .] transforms a fortuitous occurrence into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life” (Kundera 52). The narrator is referring to the six coincidences that have turned into fortuitous events that led Tereza to Tomas. She placed extreme importance on small details that others would have dismissed, and this is what led to their love affair.

Posted by: Jordan Dadez at November 9, 2013 10:03 PM

Maria Benkirane

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 210 CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature

10 November 2013

Question: What, according to the narrator, is Tereza's "secret vice"? Why is it a vice? How does it hurt her? How does it help her? What is her chief conflict when it comes to the root issue behind this vice?

Answer: Tereza's "secret vice" is her body. She has always hated her body and all because of her mother's influence as a child. Since her mother used to watch herself a lot in the mirror, and thats how we understand why Tereza stares at the mirror long and frequently. Kundera explains Tereza's feelings about this vice, "It was a battle with her mother.  It was a longing to be a body unlike other bodies, to find that the surface of her face reflected the crew of her soul charging up from below.  It was not an easy task: her soul – her sad, timid, self-effacing soul lay concealed in the depths of her bowels and was ashamed to show itself" (47). Her mother would walk around naked, talk to everyone about her sex life, and she would not even let Tereza close the bathroom door. Kundera explains Tereza's feeling by saying, "Staring at herself for long stretches of time, she was occasionally upset at the sight of her mother's features in her face [ . . . ] Each time she succeeded was a time of intoxication" (41). The chief issue is that she believes that her life is a continuation of her mothers, comparing it with a ball on the billiard table being the continuation of the movement by the arm of the player.

Posted by: maria benkirane at November 10, 2013 03:28 PM

Jalisa Lowe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
11 November 2013

Question: Why did Tereza take a train to Prague? How did she do it? What was her plan? What did she do when she got there? Explain and support your answer with quoted snippets from the text.

Answer: Tereza took a train to Prague to meet up with Tomas. Tereza “took a week’s leave and, without a word to her mother, boarded the train to Prague” (Kundera 53). Her plan was to stay in Prague and never return home. The narrator states, “She had packed all her things, determined never again to return to the small town” (Kundera 53). When she arrived to Tomas place, “she was mortified. She felt as though she were carrying her mother in her stomach and her mother had guffawed to spoil her meeting with Tomas” (Kundera 53). Tomas had ignored her awkwardness and “before the first minute was up, they were making love” (Kundera 53).

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at November 10, 2013 08:03 PM

Connor Schaefer
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL- CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
11 November 2013

Question: According to the narrator, how are characters born? What, according to the author, gave birth to Tomas? To Tereza? Why (for each)?

Answer: In the beginning of Part II, the narrator mentions how characters are born. The narrator states, “They were not born of a mother’s womb; they were born of a stimulating phrase or two or form a basic situation. Tomas was born of the saying ‘Einmal ist keinmal.’ Tereza was born of the rumbling of a stomach” (Kundera 39). From the quote, the narrator points out that the characters are not born from a women’s womb, but from a stimulating phrase, or a form of a basic situation. Tomas was born from a phrase, and Tereza was born from a rumbling stomach. Tereza's birth was a situation. Kundera mentions how the body victimizes itself, so I believe that is a reason why Tereza was born. In addition, no doctor would perform an abortion on Tereza’s mother. This is how Tomas and Tereza were born.

Posted by: Connor Schaefer at November 10, 2013 11:14 PM

Connor Schaefer
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL- CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
11 November 2013

Question: According to the narrator, how are characters born? What, according to the author, gave birth to Tomas? To Tereza? Why (for each)?

Answer: In the beginning of Part II, the narrator mentions how characters are born. The narrator states, “They were not born of a mother’s womb; they were born of a stimulating phrase or two or form a basic situation. Tomas was born of the saying ‘Einmal ist keinmal.’ Tereza was born of the rumbling of a stomach” (Kundera 39). From the quote, the narrator points out that the characters are not born from a women’s womb, but from a stimulating phrase, or a form of a basic situation. Tomas was born from a phrase, and Tereza was born from a rumbling stomach. Tereza's birth was a situation. Kundera mentions how the body victimizes itself, so I believe that is a reason why Tereza was born. In addition, no doctor would perform an abortion on Tereza’s mother. This is how Tomas and Tereza were born.

Posted by: Connor Schaefer at November 10, 2013 11:14 PM

Salvatore Christlieb
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
Dr. Hobbs
11 November 2013

Question: PART I: How does the narrator know Tomas and Tereza? How much do we know about the narrator so far?

Answer: The narrator knows Tereza because Tomas had sex with her and the narrator knew Tereza because of it. As the narrator remembers Tomas’ encounter with Tereza, it is stated that, “he had first met Tereza about three weeks earlier in a small Czech town. They had spent scarcely an hour together. She had accompanied him to the station and waited the day she arrived. That night she came down with a fever and stayed a whole week in his flat with the flu” (Kundera 3). We only know that up until this point that the narrator is a possible friend or old acquaintance of Tomas. This may propose a problem later on for the couple and narrator.

References
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

Posted by: Salvatore Christlieb at November 11, 2013 09:55 AM

Erica Esqueda
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
12 November 2013
Question: Part I: Why did Tomas come to this conclusion: “Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite”? What does little bit of “wisdom” mean for Tomas?
Before Tomas met Tereza, his affairs with women had not been tied to any type of sentimental feelings. All he was doing was “sleeping” with the women, no attachments were developed. After he met Tereza, he felt his relationship was different with her. He wasn’t just sleeping with her, he was making love with her. When he was with her, he could sleep and not have to send her off like he did with all of the other women he slept with. Tomas mentioned that “Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman)” (Kundera 8), meaning that things were different with Tereza. There was something different about her that changed the way he saw his romantic relationships.

Posted by: Erica Esqueda at November 12, 2013 10:34 AM

Erica Esqueda
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
12 November 2013
Question: Part II: The narrator discusses two people named “Anna” and “Vronksy.” Who are these people? What do they have to do with Tereza and/or Tomas? Explain.
Anna and Vronksy are the main characters in the book that Tereza always carries around, Anna Karenina. Apart from just being the main characters in the book that Tereza always has by her side, these characters relate to her and Tomas. Tereza seemed to be quite infatuated with Tomas just as Anna was with Vronksy. Also similar were the settings at the train stations. Tomas and Tereza had spent an hour at the train station when they first met, getting better acquainted, and “Anna meets Vronsky in curious circumstances: they are at the railway station,” (Kundera 25), which is a similarity between the characters in the book, and Tomas and Tereza.

Posted by: Erica Esqueda at November 12, 2013 11:18 AM

Jocelyne Hilary
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature

11th November 203

Question: Part 2: Explain what the narrator means when he suggests that “human lives” are “composed like music.” In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to , exactly?

Answer: The author is using music as a metaphor to an individual’s life. He is essentially suggesting that our lives our like a musical composition. “Human lives” are composed with the same art and skill needed to make a composition. Like music, our experiences in life are symbolic. When a composition is good, there are repetitions in the composition so called “motifs”, likewise in our lives we can have “motifs” too. The narrator here relates this to Sabina’s bowler hat. This hat has a significant role because it always comes back into attention, but every time it does, it doesn’t necessarily symbolize the same thing. A musical composition, even if you hear it over ten times, it might not always represent one memory or experience.

Posted by: Jocelyne Hilary at November 12, 2013 02:59 PM

Jocelyne Hilary
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature

11th November 203

Question: Part 2: Explain what the narrator means when he suggests that “human lives” are “composed like music.” In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to , exactly?

Answer: The author is using music as a metaphor to an individual’s life. He is essentially suggesting that our lives our like a musical composition. “Human lives” are composed with the same art and skill needed to make a composition. Like music, our experiences in life are symbolic. When a composition is good, there are repetitions in the composition so called “motifs”, likewise in our lives we can have “motifs” too. The narrator here relates this to Sabina’s bowler hat. This hat has a significant role because it always comes back into attention, but every time it does, it doesn’t necessarily symbolize the same thing. A musical composition, even if you hear it over ten times, it might not always represent one memory or experience.

Posted by: Jocelyne Hilary at November 12, 2013 02:59 PM

Diana Shoemaker
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
8 November 2013

Question: 10. Part 1: Quotation: “Parmenides posed this very question in the sixth century before Christ. HE saw the world divided into pairs of opposites: light/darkness, fineness/coarseness, warmth/cold, being/nonbeing. One half of the opposition he called positive (light, fineness, warmth, being), the other negative.” Review the context of this passage. What is the overarching “question” that Kundera is referring to here?

Answer: The overarching question that Kundera is referring to here is determining which is better, lightness or weight? We must decide if lightness is good and if heaviness is bad. Is Parmenides correct by saying that lightness is positive and weight is negative? A question asked in the novel was “What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness” (Kundera 3)? We need to figure out which one is best for us.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at November 12, 2013 04:31 PM

Diana Shoemaker
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
11 November 2013

Question: 35. Part II: What is a dandy? Why did the narrator say that, for Tereza, books “had the same significance for her as an elegant cane [had] for the dandy a century ago.” Explain the analogy/metaphor.

Answer: A dandy is a man who is up to date in fashion and stands out. The narrator states that Tereza’s books were like a cane for a dandy because a cane is a prop that helped a man stand out for being up to date and fashionable. The book sort of did the opposite of a cane by making look old fashioned, but stand out just like a dandy. The novel states that Tereza “was too young to see how old-fashioned she looked to others (Kundera 23). This shows that she looked old fashioned which is slightly different than a cane for a dandy, but the point is that they both stand out.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at November 12, 2013 04:45 PM

Jocelyne Hilary
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature

11th November 203

Question: Part 1: Quotation “All Languages that derive from Latin form the word compassion by combining the prefix meaning with (corn-) and the root meaning suffering.” Review the context of this passage. What seems to be the basic issue that the narrator has with the word “compassion”?

Answer: The narrator is basically suggesting that the word “compassion” can be interpreted in two different ways based on the origin of the word in a particular language. Although compassion is an emotion that generally describes genuine sharing of a person’s emotion, it can be used to treat someone as inferior. The narrator is stating that languages with Latin origin have a slightly different meaning to the word “compassion.” In these languages, “compassion” means to have pity on, and this unintetially implies that the person you give pity to is inferior to you, and so you are not expressing genuine love. In these languages the word “compassion” originates from the root of “suffering.” On the other hand, in languages where the word “compassion” originated from “feeling” , the word compassion is empathetic .

Posted by: jocelyne Hilary at November 12, 2013 07:24 PM

Kerriann Salatti
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
13 November 2013

Question: 45. Why did Tereza take a train to Prague? How did she do it? What was her plan? What did she do when she got there?

Answer: Tereza to a train to Prague to see her lover Tomas. She tells her mom that she is going to be seeing Beethoven and staying the night at a hotel. “Before the first minute was up they were making love.” (53) When she was there they made love with each other.

Posted by: Kerriann Salattik at November 12, 2013 07:58 PM

Hector M. Rosario
ENG 210CL CA01
Professor Hobbs
12 Nov 2013

Who was Robespierre and why was he important? Also, answer the question why "French historians would be less proud of Robespierre if the French Revolution were to recur eternally?"
Maxilmilien Robespierre (1758-1794) was the leader of the Twelve­man Committee of Public Safety which helped stabilize the economy and even helped strengthen the French Army. Being a part of "the Twelve" Robespierre was considered one of the rulers of France. Robespierre was a lawyer and defended the Third estate during the Estates General meeting in May 1789. He promoted a society where all the men would be considered as equal, regardless of their social status. In 1791, he participated in the writing of the "Declaration of the rights of man and citizen." He had such great ideas but then turned radical and was arrested and beheaded. Since he had gone back on his initial beliefs, historians would agree that this is a main cause for lack of loyalty.

Works Cited

Halsall, Paul. "Internet History Sourcebooks." Robespierre: On the Moral and Political Principles of Domestic Policy. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. .

Kreis, Steven. "Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History." Maximilien Robespierre, 1758-1794. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. .

Posted by: Hector Rosario at November 12, 2013 09:50 PM

Ashley Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
12 November 2013

Question 27
When, according to the narrator, did “the body” start giving mankind less trouble? Why, exactly?

Answer:
The narrator states that, “Ever since man has learned to give each part of the body a name, the body has given him less trouble.” (Kundera 21) He meant that “the body” has become familiar to humankind. Humans now understand the inner mechanisms of the body.

Posted by: Ashley Johnson at November 12, 2013 10:51 PM

Alexia Chambers
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and desire in literature CA02
12 November 2013
Question:
30. PART II: Explain the concept of shame in Tereza’s childhood home? Did it exist? Why, or why not? Who did it exist for and why? Who did it NOT exist for and why?
Answer:
Shame did not exist for anyone in her home except for her, Tereza’s mother would walk around naked and her stepfather would walk into the bathroom when she is in the shower. Her mother tells her “Your body is just like all other bodies; you have no right to shame” (28) She does not believe anybody has any reason to have shame.

Posted by: Alexia Chambers at November 12, 2013 10:52 PM

Dana DeLosa
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01: Love and Desire in Literature
12 November 2013

Question: “What does Tomas mean by Einmal ist keinmal?”

Answer: Tomas says this quotation in reference to his questioning of whether it “was better to be with Tereza or to remain alone” (Kundera 8). According to Tomas, this quotation translates to “what happens but once, might as well not have happened at all” (Kundera 8). Tomas cannot know if going with Tereza will be beneficial to him or not but he cannot determine the outcome unless he tries.

Posted by: Dana DeLosa at November 13, 2013 01:13 AM

Julia Della Penna
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA04 Love and Desire in Literature
13 November 2013

Question 48: PART II: What does the “vertigo” mean? Why does the narrator say that “[a]nyone whose goal is something higher must expect some day to suffer vertigo? In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?
Answer: According to the www.thefreedictionary.com Website, the word vertigo is defined as the sensation of dizziness or an instance of such a sensation; in the novel vertigo is defined as the fear of falling. The narrator means when they say “[a]nyone whose goal is something higher must expect some day to suffer vertigo” is that “It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves” (Kundera, 29). The narrator is referring to Tereza and her dreams, (more like nightmares), and about why she is continually having these same three dreams repeatedly. The readers learn that the dreams are caused by her fear of her past; which is continuing her mother’s legacy by becoming just like her mother who was a nudist drunk. Her mother believed and forced on Tereza that her body was just like everyone else’s and to Tereza, she “had seen nudity as a sign of concentration camp uniformity, a sign of humiliation.” (Kundera, 28). Tereza realizes she used Tomas to escape her past and the little town she lived in, but he only reminded her more and more each day with his infidelity. Tomas’s cheating reminded Tereza that no matter how hard she tried to make her body different from other women; her body was just like the other women, which with he had/slept.

Posted by: Julia Della Penna at November 13, 2013 03:28 AM

Salvatore Christlieb
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
Dr. Hobbs
13 November 2013

Question: What fact did Tereza's mother continually remind her of about parenthood? What did she mean? What is/ was this significant in the formation of Tereza?

Answer: Tereza’s mother “never stopped reminding her that being a mother meant sacrificing everything. Her words had the ring of truth, backed as they were by the experience of a woman who had lost everything because of her child” (Kundera 22). Tereza’s mother meant that being a mother was hard and it always will be due to the fact that Tereza’s father was not around to help much. This was significant to the formation of Tereza because “Tereza would listen and believe that being a mother was the highest value in life and that being a mother was a great sacrifice. If a mother was Sacrifice personified, then a daughter was Guilt, with no possibility of redress” (Kundera 22).

References
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

Posted by: Salvatore Christlieb at November 13, 2013 10:49 AM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
13 November 2013

Question 71: Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “PARADES” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer:Sabina sees Parades as "people marching by with raised fists and shouting identical syllables in unison" (100). She believes that this is a method of conforming that suppresses individuality. Franz sees Parades as a way "to
be out in the open, to be with others" (99) since he is isolated inside with books all day and believes that by doing this, he becomes part of "the image of Europe and its history" (99).

Parades are organized marches that people rally around for a common cause. Sabina does not want to conform to anything no matter what the cause is and sees parades as a negative thing. Franz, on the other hand, does not care what the cause is as long as he is around people and sees parades as a positive thing.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at November 13, 2013 02:31 PM

Kerriann Salatti
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
15 November 2013

Question: 77. What is the concept of “AN OLD CHURCH IN AMSTERDAM” means to both Sabina and Franz and why is it a misunderstood word?

Answer: “The great empty space of Amsterdam’s Old Church had appealed to him in a sudden and mysterious revelation as the image of his own liberation.” (111) The church appealed to them because of its emptiness and the fact that it didn’t represent anything. It reminded Sabrina of the world betrayed which symbolized beauty.

Posted by: Kerriann Salatti at November 13, 2013 09:54 PM

Jasmine Charlton
Dr.B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
13 November 2013

Question: “If you have read the first part of this section, then you know the connection between Sabina and Franz. However, what is the connection between Tomas and Sabina? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.”

Answer: Most relationships in this novel are sexual and adultering. Tomas and Sabina relationship are like every other relationship within the book it was strictly based on the physical and sexual. Like the novel says, “ she pulled Tomas to the floor and they began thrashing about on the rug at the foot of the mirror” [Kundera 87]. The novel also says, “it was a prop for her love games with Tomas” [Kundera 87]. The novel references to the bowler hat, which was a sentimental object from her parents to hitting the ground frequently during their sexual experiences which personally means that she is putting this new sexual relationship before her family memories, and lastly the bowler hat is what the quote is referring to as it.

Posted by: jasmine Charlton at November 13, 2013 10:18 PM

Camila Pinzon
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
14 November 2013

Question: PART II: Why according to the narrator, is the analogy of Tereza’s books being like a dandy’s cane “not absolutely precise?” In comparison, how is Tereza different from this hypothetical dandy? Why is this significant?

Answer: Tereza’s book is what distinguishes her from others the same way a cane distinguishes a dandy from others. While she does not have a disability or purpose that requires her to carry her book, and neither does a dandy has a reason for carrying a cane. Tereza does not carry the book as a fashion statement as a dandy carries a cane, she carries it in hopes to find someone with the same interests and values. When she first met Tomas he appeared to her as someone with those characteristics, “Tomas appeared to Tereza in the hotel restaurant as chance in the absolute. There he sat, pouring over an open book” (Loc 535). To Tereza, her books are not exactly like a dandy’s cane in the way that they have a deeper purpose rather than just to stand out of a crowd for the sake of style.

Work Cited:
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. South Australia: Creative Commons Licence, n.d. University of Adelaide. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

Posted by: camila pinzon at November 14, 2013 01:01 AM

Camila Pinzon
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
14 November 2013

Question: Part III: What is “wanderlust”? What, according to the narrator, was “not enough to satisfy” the new-found wanderlust in Franz? What did Franz do about it?

Answer: According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, wanderlust is defined by, a strong desire to travel. Franz has traveled plenty as he describes the invitations he has received, “he was often invited to lecture at foreign universities, and now he accepted all offers. Although, because they were not enough to satisfy his new-found wanderlust” (Loc 907). Franz had developed a desire to travel, however, none of these offers left him content; instead he began to invent “congresses” and “symposia” (Loc 907) to explain his absences to his wife. All of his “congresses” and “symposia” were all in his head, completely imagined satisfying his craving for travel.

Work Cited:
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. South Australia: Creative Commons Licence, n.d. University of Adelaide. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

Posted by: camila pinzon at November 14, 2013 01:32 AM

Allison Knipe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
14 November 2013

Question: 63. PART III: What is an “abyss”? Explain the “abyss separating Sabina and Franz” after his discussion on
Heraclitus. What is/causes the abyss separating them? Quote passages from the text as your evidence,
but, explain in your own words.

An abyss is "a deep, immeasurable space, gulf, or cavity; vast chasm" (Webster's). Kundera explains how they can understand the logics, but not deeper meaning of the conversation. "Now, perhaps, we are in a better position to understand the abyss separating Sabina and Franz: he listened eagerly to the story of her life and she was equally eager to hear the story of his, but although they had a clear understanding of the logical meaning of the words they exchanged, they failed to hear the semantic susurrus of the river flowing through them" (Kundera 44). The abyss is the miscommunication between them.

Posted by: Allison Knipe at November 14, 2013 08:30 PM

Maria Benkirane
Dr. Hobbs

ENG 210 CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature

10 November 2013

Question: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a "A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words." Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in you words, (1.)what the concept "Light and Darkness" means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: Franz likes darkness and he closes his eyes during intercourse, which bothered Sabina so she just closes her eyes as well. Kundera says that for Franz, "the word light did not evoke the picture of landscape basking in the soft glow of day; it evoked the source of light itself" (94). Sabina believes that seeing is living so she doesn't like to hide the light that is there. Kundera says, "Seeing is limited by two borders: strong light, which blinds, and total darkness" (94). Franz believes that closing your eyes are seeing darkness is infinity itself.

Posted by: maria benkirane at November 14, 2013 10:57 PM

Morgan Salter
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
15 November 2013

Question: What is a “bowler hat”? The narrator makes a five-point argument for what Sabina’s bowler hat symbolized. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, summarize, in your
own words, each of the narrator’s five arguments.

Answer: A bowler hat is a plain, black, male’s hat with a rounded top and wide rim. The narrator makes a five-point argument for what Sabina’s bowler hat symbolized. The first point was that the hat was a symbol of remembrance for her deceased grandfather. The second point was that it was a token of her father’s memory, being the only piece of inheritance she received following his death. Third, it was most often used during sexual encounters with tom, being a symbol of sexuality. The bowler hat was a unique article of clothing, making the fourth point a representation of Sabina’s originality. And finally, the fifth point derives from the seemingly different and more meaningful love making that Sabina and Tomas engaged in overseas; “now that she was abroad, the hat was a sentimental object… it was a recapitulation of time, a hymn to their common past, a sentimental summary of an unsentimental story that was disappearing in the distance” (Kundera 43).

Posted by: Morgan Salter at November 15, 2013 12:09 AM

Morgan Salter
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
15 November 2013

Question: What is a “bowler hat”? The narrator makes a five-point argument for what Sabina’s bowler hat symbolized. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, summarize, in your
own words, each of the narrator’s five arguments.

Answer: A bowler hat is a plain, black, male’s hat with a rounded top and wide rim. The narrator makes a five-point argument for what Sabina’s bowler hat symbolized. The first point was that the hat was a symbol of remembrance for her deceased grandfather. The second point was that it was a token of her father’s memory, being the only piece of inheritance she received following his death. Third, it was most often used during sexual encounters with tom, being a symbol of sexuality. The bowler hat was a unique article of clothing, making the fourth point a representation of Sabina’s originality. And finally, the fifth point derives from the seemingly different and more meaningful love making that Sabina and Tomas engaged in overseas; “now that she was abroad, the hat was a sentimental object… it was a recapitulation of time, a hymn to their common past, a sentimental summary of an unsentimental story that was disappearing in the distance” (Kundera 43).

Posted by: Morgan Salter at November 15, 2013 12:09 AM

Salvatore Christlieb
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
Dr. Hobbs
15 November 2013

Question: Part III: What is a "bowler hat"? The narrator makes a five-point argument for what Sabina's bowler hat symbolized. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, summarize, in your own words, each of the narrator's five arguments.

Answer: A bowler hat is a small hard felt out with a small crown. They are widely unworn today because they are not in style any longer. Bowler hats were worn in the cold weather during the 1960s. Sabina’s bowler hate symbolized very strong emotions and parts of her past and Tomas’ past. According to the narrator, Sabina’s bowler hat “was a vague reminder of a forgotten grandfather…memento of her father…prop for her love games with Tomas…a sign of her originality, which she consciously cultivated…[and] a sentimental object” (Kundera 43).
In all, this hat was a dark memoir meant to remind Sabina and Tomas of the troubles from both of their pasts. The bowler hat symbolized their relationship because the bowler hat was unable to be discarded by Sabina just like Tomas could not discard her.

References
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

Posted by: Salvatore Christlieb at November 15, 2013 09:53 AM

Dana DeLosa
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01: Love and Desire in Literature
15 November 2013

Question: “We have already met the pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides in part one. Look up
Heraclitus. Who was he? What does he have to do with Part Three of this novel and, more importantly,
Sabina’s bowler hat? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher who was famous for his belief in an ever-changing life and that one can never “twice step into the same river” (Kundera 44). This directly related to the bowler hat which keeps reappearing in Sabina’s life “each time with a different meaning” (Kundera 44). First the hat represented her grandfather, then her father and finally a reminder of her affair with Tomas.

Posted by: Dana DeLosa at November 15, 2013 02:59 PM

Lindsey Thilmony
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
16 November 2013

Question: “All languages that derive from Latin form the word compassion by combining the prefix meaning “with” (com-) and the root meaning “suffering” (Kundera 19). Review the context of this passage, what seems to be the basic issue that the narrator has with the word compassion?

Answer: Compassion is usually a positive word people use to describe the act of being kind or sympathetic towards another person. To state the Latin root meaning of compassion is suffering seems to be a little out of context. A few sentences more into the paragraph the narrator also states, “This word is translated by a noun formed of an equivalent prefix combined with the word that means “feeling”” (Kundera 19 & 20).

Posted by: Lindsey Thilmony at November 16, 2013 09:32 PM

Alexia Chambers
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and desire in literature CA02
16 November 2013
Question:
66. PART III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “FIDELITY AND BETRAYAL” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.
Answer:
The word fidelity reminded Sabina of her father “a small-town puritan, who spent his Sundays painting away at canvases of woodland sunsets and roses in vases”. Franz often spoke about his mother to Sabina “perhaps even with a certain unconscious ulterior motive: he assumed that Sabina would be charmed by his ability to be faithful, that it would win her over.” The narrator says “Betrayal means breaking ranks and going off into the unknown. Which Sabina thought the unknown was amazing. When Sabina’s mother dies her father takes his own life because he cannot live without his life because of this Sabina feels betrayed.

Posted by: Alexia Chambers at November 16, 2013 10:52 PM

Jordan Dadez
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
16 November 2013

Question: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “STRENGTH” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: The fractures in Sabina and Franz’s relationship stem from their differing views on basic words. Franz views strength as a physical attribute that some are gifted with and some are not. When describing his muscles, he says, “They’re like an ornament, a peacock feather.” His perspective on strength is that it is for aesthetic pleasure. To Franz, strength is a grandiose display used to attract mates. To Sabina, physical strength is worthless, “ [. . . ] when it comes to the people he lives with, the people he loves, he’s weak. Franz’s weakness is called goodness” (Kundera 111). Sabina sees strength as the ability to always put oneself first at the cost of other’s wellbeing. When Tomas says that love means renouncing strength, Sabina realizes that their definitions are polar opposites, and that she can never truly love Franz.

Posted by: Jordan Dadez at November 16, 2013 11:03 PM

Lindsey Thilmony
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
16 November 2013

Question: Now that you have read Part I in its entirety, speculate on why the chapter was titled “Lightness and Weight.” Use examples from the text to prove your case.

Answer: There were many symbols in Part I that described why the chapter was called “Lightness and Weight.” One of the symbols was the suitcase Tereza carried with her when she visited Tomas unexpectedly. One day, “She came with a heavy suitcase. She left with a heavy suitcase” (Kundera 29). This might symbolize the baggage Tereza has from her past, and is now giving it to Tomas to handle.

Posted by: Lindsey Thilmony at November 17, 2013 12:10 AM

What lovers “unconsciously establish” in their relationships accordingly to the narrator is that, “All lovers unconsciously establish their own rules of the game, which from the outset admit no transgression” (Kundera, 41). Sabina broke these rules by doing something different from Franz’s and her usual lovemaking; she stared at him in a dissimilar way than she ever stared at him and he did not understand it. As quoted on page 41 carried onto page 42, “It was neither provocative nor flirtatious, simply interrogative. The problem was, Franz had not the slightest notion what it was asking.” (Kundera).

Posted by: Julia Della Penna at November 17, 2013 12:47 AM

McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
17 November 2013

Question #38 Part II: Deconstruct and then explain what the narrator means when s/he says, "Necessity knows no magic formulae- they are all left to chance." In the context of that has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

Answer: When the narrator says this, s/he means that things are happening not just by coincidence. When Tomas comes into the restaurant he has an open book on the table, and when Tereza took the cognac to him, Beethoven was playing. "How was it possible that at the very moment she was taking an order of cognac to a stranger she found attractive, at that very moment she heard Beethoven?"(Kundera 49). I believe that Tereza is just trying to give excuses why she finds him so attractive and why it is meant to be. If all these things are happening then they must be meant for each other. Also when Tomas asked for the meal to be charged to his room which was number six, Tereza thought that this was another sign because she got off work at six. To top it off when she ended work, she saw Tomas sitting on the same bench at the station that she sat on yesterday. "The birds of fortuity had begun alighting on her shoulders" (Kundera 50). Meaning that all of this is happening by chance making her fall in love with him.

Posted by: McKenzie Burns at November 17, 2013 01:19 PM

Diana Shoemaker
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
15 November 2013

Question: 56. PART III: What, according to the narrator, do lovers “unconsciously establish” in their relationships? How did Sabina break those rules in the scene described by the narrator? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: According to the author, “All lovers unconsciously establish their own rules of the game, which from the outset admit no transgression” (Kundera 41). Sabina broke the rules because she gave strange looks and gestures that were not what she usually did. The novel states that “The stare she had just fixed on him fell outside their rules; it had nothing in common with the looks and gestures that usually preceded their lovemaking” (Kundera 41). She was doing things that she normally did not, making it slightly uncomfortable and not what was agreed on essentially.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at November 17, 2013 03:23 PM

Diana Shoemaker
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
15 November 2013

Question: 56. PART III: What, according to the narrator, do lovers “unconsciously establish” in their relationships? How did Sabina break those rules in the scene described by the narrator? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: According to the narrator, “All lovers unconsciously establish their own rules of the game, which from the outset admit no transgression” (Kundera 41). Sabina broke the rules because she gave strange looks and gestures that were not what she usually did. The novel states that “The stare she had just fixed on him fell outside their rules; it had nothing in common with the looks and gestures that usually preceded their lovemaking” (Kundera 41). She was doing things that she normally did not, making it slightly uncomfortable and not what was agreed on essentially.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at November 17, 2013 03:25 PM

Rache Robinson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
17 November 2013

Question: PART I: Explain the connection that the narrator was trying to make between Tereza and Moses (and Tereza and Polybus). Remember that Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. If you are unfamiliar with the basic narratives of Oedipus and/or Moses, look them up so you’ll be aware of the allusions (called “metaphors” by the narrator).

The connection that the narrator was trying to make between Tereza and Moses is the metaphor used in part one that states, “She was a child whom he had taken from a bulrush basket that had been daubed with pitch and sent to the riverbank of his bed” (Kundera 4). When Moses was baby, he was carried by the river in a basket and once he arrived to his final destination, the pharaoh took him in as a son.

Posted by: Rache Robinson at November 17, 2013 06:00 PM

Rache Robinson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
17 September 2013

Question: The narrator says that, to him, “Tereza appears to [to be] a continuation of the gesture by which her mother cast off her life as a young beauty.” What does the narrator mean by this? Explain.
This means the narrator feels that Tereza is being like her mother when she was young by disliking her body and taking everything in life very seriously. The mother can be blamed for the way Tereza’s mindset is about the body. In part two, it states, “If Tereza has a nervous way of moving, if her gestures lack a certain easy grace, we must not be surprised: her mother's grand, wild, and self-destructive gesture has left an indelible imprint on her” (Kundera 23).

Posted by: Rache Robinson at November 17, 2013 06:03 PM

Rache Robinson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
17 September 2013

Question: The narrator writes, “Because she was a painter, she had an eye for detail and a memory for the physical characteristics of the people in Prague who had a passion for assessing others.” Who is “she”? For this question, (a.) Identify WHAT particular “physical” characteristic the person in this Homework/Study Questions for Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being—Parts I and II quotation noticed in Prague citizens who assessed others and (b.) WHO she used as her most famous example (the person’s job description will be okay in lieu of their name).

The person is referred to in the quote is no one other than Sabina. The physical characteristic that she noticed of the people in Prague is their fingers. In part three, it states, “All of them had index fingers slightly longer than their middle fingers and pointed them at whomever they happened to be talking to” (Kundera 49). The most famous example she used was the president of Prague in 1968.

Posted by: Rache Robinson at November 17, 2013 06:06 PM

McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
17 November 2013

Question #64 Part III: What is a "lexicon"? For what reason did the narrator say that s/he could compile one? Who and what would it be based on, and why?

Answer: A lexicon is the branch of knowledge that a person has. The narrator could compile one because of the differences that Sabina and Franz have with situations. They could be hearing the same story but have two different views on what is going on. "Every object, every word means something different to each of them" (Kundera 89). It would be based on the relationship that Sabina and Franz have and how they perceive everything that is going on around them.

Posted by: McKenzie Burns at November 17, 2013 11:25 PM

McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
17 November 2013

Question #64 Part III: What is a "lexicon"? For what reason did the narrator say that s/he could compile one? Who and what would it be based on, and why?

Answer: A lexicon is the branch of knowledge that a person has. The narrator could compile one because of the differences that Sabina and Franz have with situations. They could be hearing the same story but have two different views on what is going on. "Every object, every word means something different to each of them" (Kundera 89). It would be based on the relationship that Sabina and Franz have and how they perceive everything that is going on around them.

Posted by: McKenzie Burns at November 17, 2013 11:25 PM

Ashley Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
18 November 2013

Question 54
At first, Franz was disappointed that Sabina did not want to go to Palermo. Later, he was overjoyed. What epiphany did Franz have? Why did he have a change of heart? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
Franz realized that Sabina rejected the idea of going to Palermo out of love. Franz stated, “He was naturally overjoyed that her refusal to go to Palermo was actually a call to love.” (Kundera 41) He realized that Sabina wanted to make love in places other than foreign states.

Posted by: Ashley Johnson at November 18, 2013 02:31 AM

Jasmine Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL: Love and Desire in Literature CA01
6 November 2013
Question: 8. Part I: What, according to the narrator, is the problem with “the absolute absence of a burden”? Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? What issues arise with this condition, according to the narrator? Is the answer decisive, or not?
Answer: The problem with absolute absence of a burden is that it “causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant” (Kundera 5). Kundera is saying that they would have to choose between weight and lightness. The answer would depend on the person and what they would have to decide on. Would they rather have their burden weight on them and be on their mind all the time; or for it to be something they can solve and forget about.

Posted by: Jasmine Collins at November 18, 2013 05:27 AM

Jasmine Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL: Love and Desire in Literature CA01
8 November 2013
Question: 40. Part II: What, according to the narrator, did Tereza find “odd” about Tomas’s room number? Did she really find this odd, or was she actually playing a different “game”? Explain your answer with passages from the text.
Answer: Tomas’s room number was odd to Tereza because “that the house where they had lived in Prague before her parents were divorced was number six” (Kundera 50). Later on she says that she gets off work at six, and that is why it was odd (Kundera 50). So she did find it odd, but she also mentioned the time she got off so that he would wait for her.

Posted by: Jasmine Collins at November 18, 2013 05:29 AM

Stephanie Gilbert
Dr. Hobbs
ENG- 210CL- Love and Desire in Literature- CA01
18 November 2013

In part III the narrator prepared a short dictionary of misunderstood words. Using only quoted snippets from the text summarize and explain in your own words what the concept living in truth means to both Sabina and Franz and why it is a misunderstood word.

Living in truth: to “Franz it means not lying, not dissimulating, and not hiding, to Sabina it meant much more (Kundera, pg.112).” Franz had been lying to his wife that he was sleeping with Sabina, and Sabina had been lying to Franz about loving him, and hiding the fact that she wanted to leave him. Because she thought that she wouldn’t be able to love him because not only was he married to her rival, but he had told his wife the truth. Living in truth in and amongst itself to me is not lying to yourself and to others that you love a person when you really do not. I also believe it means do not try to leave the thought in a box; in the back of your mind and not deal with it…. I believe living in truth means you have to be honest not only with yourself but with the other person and tell them the truth about how you feel. And not poo pooing the fact that you feel differently to that other person. To me I felt like Sabina was poo pooing that she felt differently towards Franz because of the fact he had told his wife the truth, and now she was second guessing her whole relationship with Franz.

Posted by: Stephanie Gilbert at November 18, 2013 09:49 AM

Jocelyne Hilary
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature

17th November 203

Question: Part III: The narrator prepared a “A short dictionary of misunderstood words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your own words, (1.) what the concept “MUSIC” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: (1.) Contrastingly “MUSIC” holds a different meaning to both Sabina and Franz. “every motif, every object, every word means something different to each of them (pg 44.)” To Franz “Music” has the strength to overpower the need to speak. He finds music addictive, he has an eclectic taste in music , as the book mentions that he likes both classical and rock. Sabina, on the other hand can’t stand music. This is mostly due to the fact that she has developed associating music with communist camps. “Noise masked as music had pursued her since early childhood (pg 47)”
(2.) “Music” is a misunderstood word because it has lost its significant meaning. It has increasingly become associated as “noise” and for this reason has lost what it really represents. “no words were precise, their meanings were obliterated, their content lost, they turned into trash (pg 47.)”

Posted by: Jocelyne Hilary at November 18, 2013 10:18 AM

Hector M. Rosario & Maria Benkirane
Professor B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
18 November 2013

9)Question:"The Old Church in Amsterdam" (p. 116 of instructor's edition)

Answer:In the novel, Kundera writes of the whore house with prostitutes in the windows and across the street is the old, empty church. Where on one side of the street you have temptation and on the other side you have Heaven's house. The emptiness of the church is astounding to Franz, especially given the difficulty of the time. Both Franz and Sabina describe beauty in the church but have two different aspects. Where Franz has never before been so captivated by a church, Sabina recalls an instance where she previously attended church and saw pure beauty (Kundera,110). Franz' emphasis on the church can be seen by his saying, "The great empty space of Amsterdam's Old Church had appeared to him in a sudden and mysterious revelation as the image of his own liberation"(111). Kundera personifies the church but not in a literal sense. His approach is effective in capturing two separate emotions from Franz and Sabina towards the church.

Posted by: Hector Rosario at November 18, 2013 11:05 AM

Kerriann Salatti
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question: The beauty of New York.

Answer: Franz-“The beauty of New York rests one completely different base. It’s unintentional. It arose independent of human design, like stalagmitic cavern.” (101) Franz found it intriguing but frightening and homesick from Europe.

Sabina- “Another way of putting it might be ‘beauty by mistake’.” (101) Sabina was attracted to the beauty quality of New York.

He is saying that it was not purposely to be made the way that it was that its beauty happened over time.

New York reminded Sabina of her paintings and made Franz feel homesick from Europe.

Posted by: Kerri Salatti and at November 18, 2013 11:16 AM

Morgan Salter and Cheyenne DeMaggio
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question: “Fidelity and Betrayal” (p. 96 of instructor’s edition)

Answer: The terms “fidelity” and “betrayal” are subjective terms defined uniquely by different people. Normally, we identify fidelity as loyal behavior in which one is devoted completely to another without outside sexual relations in an affair. We define betrayal, on the other hand, as lying or being dishonest with another person. Throughout the narrator, Kundera considers these words to be misunderstood for Franz and Sabina. The narrator wants us to understand these words to be different amongst people’s perspectives and opinions. Franz’s interpretation of these two words is that he values fidelity and resents himself for betraying his wife in his affair with Sabina. Sabina, in almost complete contrast, is intrigued by betrayal and harbors no value of fidelity and loyalty. Kundera, through voice of the narrator, does not use “dictionary” terms to define his words, instead he practices definition by example and experience. He defines each character’s understanding of the words by discussing them in Franz and Sabina’s lifestyle choices. This is effective because it paints a clear picture of the terms with relatable experience. Kundera might have chosen these words because they are main themes of the novel, each character presented experiencing some level of (in)fidelity and betrayal.

Posted by: Morgan Salter Cheyenne DeMaggio at November 18, 2013 02:17 PM

Jalisa Lowe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
18 November 2013

Question: In part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “WOMAN” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: Franz the word woman is a positive thing. He respects woman, but not the person. Franz states to Sabina, “you are a woman” (Kundera 89). Franz see’s gender first and the person second. Franz is very narrow-minded and shallow. However, Sabina does not see gender. It was not until later that Sabina realized what Franz meant when he stated that she was a woman. The narrator states, “Not until later did she understand that the word “woman,” on which he had placed such uncommon emphasis, did not, in his eyes, signify one of the two human sexes; it represented a value” (Kundera 89). Sabina believes it is more positive to see the spirit within, and love the person for their inner, whereas Franz does not. The narrator states, “To rebel against being born a woman seemed as foolish to her as to take pride in it” (Kundera 89). The word “woman” is misunderstood because both have to different points of views of its meaning. One sees it as a way one is born the other sees it as a value.

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at November 18, 2013 02:47 PM

Kelly Scott
Zarin Hamid
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
18 November 2013

Question: Describe fidelity and betrayal based on the questions given for the in-class group work activity.

Answer: In our opinion, fidelity is a sense of faithfulness and betrayal is a break of trust. In this case, Franz felt that fidelity was a positive trait, like our definition. He related it to his mother whom he loved as a child until he accompanied her to the cemetery. However, Franz was a hypocrite. He was unfaithful to his wife. Although he betrayed her, he felt as though if he closed his eyes, he was not breaking his loyalty. As stated in the novel, “Sabina was charmed more by betrayal than by fidelity” (Kundera, 91). This seems strange because typically, betrayal is seen as a negative trait. However, in the novel, betrayal is defined as, “breaking ranks and going off into the unknown” (Kundera, 91). Sabina found it glorious to go off into the unknown, which is why she favored this over fidelity. Sabina and Franz had conflicting definitions of the terms. The narrator wants us to see these definitions through the characters stories and experiences rather than just coming out and expressing what they mean. This method of explanation is effective in terms of the story. Not only does it give the reader a sense of who the character is, but it expresses how the character thinks and differs from others. The definitions that they see true are not necessarily how everyone would describe the word, which gives us a sense of their personalities and encounters with others. Kundera could have chosen any terms to define throughout this chapter, yet she chose only eleven. These words serve as a theme of the novel. They are reoccurring terms that serve a purpose throughout the story. The discussion of these terms helps in understanding the novel because they explain how the characters feel about the words. Sabina and Franz both have differing opinions about the terms, which brings out their own unique take on the matter. This also causes the reader to delve deeper into their own thought processes and broaden their range of understanding in terms of this novel.

Posted by: Kelly Scott at November 18, 2013 03:04 PM

Morgan Salter and Cheyenne DeMaggio
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question: What is the difference between the word “refute” and the word “retract”? Why did the chief surgeon say that, when it comes to an idea, the execution of ONE of these words is impossible? Which word, and why? Quote passages, from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The term “refute” literally means to prove something wrong, or disprove it and the word “retract” means to take something back or to draw it back in. The chief surgeon said that, when it comes to an idea, the execution of one of these words is impossible because it is virtually impossible to physically take something back, or retract it. The chief surgeon explains as he attempts to persuade Tomas to sign the document that “in modern times an idea can be refuted, yes, but not retracted. And since to retract an idea is impossible, merely verbal, formal sorcery, I see no reason why you shouldn't do as they wish” (Kundera 91).

Posted by: Morgan Salter at November 18, 2013 03:10 PM

Morgan Salter and Cheyenne DeMaggio
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question: What is the difference between the word “refute” and the word “retract”? Why did the chief surgeon say that, when it comes to an idea, the execution of ONE of these words is impossible? Which word, and why? Quote passages, from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The term “refute” literally means to prove something wrong, or disprove it and the word “retract” means to take something back or to draw it back in. The chief surgeon said that, when it comes to an idea, the execution of one of these words is impossible because it is virtually impossible to physically take something back, or retract it. The chief surgeon explains as he attempts to persuade Tomas to sign the document that “in modern times an idea can be refuted, yes, but not retracted. And since to retract an idea is impossible, merely verbal, formal sorcery, I see no reason why you shouldn't do as they wish” (Kundera 91).

Posted by: Morgan Salter at November 18, 2013 03:10 PM

Jordan Dadez
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire CA01
18 November 2014

Question: This is a context question. Explain what Tomas meant, when he asked himself, is “a fool on the throne relieved of all responsibility merely because he is a fool?” Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Tomas is stating that simply because someone was ignorant does exclude them from the law. He says, “As a result of your ‘not knowing’, this country has lost its freedom, lost it for centuries, perhaps, and you shout that you feel no guilt?” (Kundera 177). Tomas is saying that just because one is simply unaware of his environment does not leave him completely free from responsibility for others. Important figure heads used by the Communist regime were clearly fools otherwise they would not be figure heads; however, that does not leave them irresponsible of their crimes. They played a part in the destruction of a whole country, of a whole society, and of lives.

Posted by: Jordan Dadez at November 18, 2013 08:34 PM

McKenzie Burns & Abdulaziz Alsaif
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
18 November 2013

"Misunderstood Words" Assignment: Group 11:"Living in Truth"

Answers: The meaning our group came up with of "living in truth" is not basing our lives on lies. Being honest with everyone you come in contact with can benefit a person tremendously. If someone lives in a lie then they could get lost and not know what the actual truth is. The narrator's definition is "not lying, not hiding, and not dissimulating" (Kundera 112). Sabina's definition of "living in truth" is "keeping her life private and away from the world" (Kundera 113). Some people would say that this would be living a lie because you are hiding everything from everyone. If you are hiding something, some people take it as hiding the truth. In her mind, it is the right way to live and is truthful because she does not want other people involved in her life. Franz's meaning of "living in truth" is "breaking down the barriers between the private and the public" (Kundera 113). People would say that Franz is living a lie because he has two completely different lives; one with his wife and one with Sabina. He is lying to his wife about his affair with Sabina so his life is based on lies.

Posted by: McKenzie Burns, Abdulaziz Alsaif at November 18, 2013 09:26 PM


Jordan Dadez (scribe) and Joe Rulli (researcher)
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
18 November 2013

Strength

Strength is a physical attribute, or a personal mindset. Kundera’s definition of strength is that it is a personal perseverance. It is a type of control which allows someone to make a very difficult decision. Personal mindsets and personal perseverance coincide with each other because they both require will power from the individual. Kundera defines the definition of strength, not through clarifying statements, but through character’s reactions to significant events in their lives. For example, Sabina and Franz are discussing his strength after they make love. Franz says, “ [. . .] loves means renouncing strength” (Kundera 112). Sabina instantly realizes that she will never love Franz because he is weak, but she also admits that she would never love a man who would use his strength on her. In showing Franz’s physical strength contrasting with Sabina’s mental strength, Kundera has shown what his idea of strength is. He chose to speak about strength to illustrate that it varies from individual to individual, and it is strength that is a recurring motif that helps shape life.

Posted by: Jordan Dadez at November 18, 2013 09:58 PM

Jasmine Charlton
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
18 November 2013

Question: “What kind of article did Tomas write? What did the chief surgeon request of Tomas about his article? What was the result? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words

Answer: In the text after reading about the judicial murders and communist power the book shows you, “Tomas found this question second rate, he sat down one day, wrote down his reflections on Oedipus, and sent them to the weekly” [Kundera 178]. The article was so good that Tomas got called into the editorial office where the Chief Surgeon told him to change a few words or like the book says, “he suggested that Tomas change the word order in one of the sentences” [Kundera 178], but after requesting him to do all that they still cut the article extremely short to the point where only the thesis statement was left in the paper.

Posted by: jasmine Charlton at November 19, 2013 01:51 AM

Jalisa Lowe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
20 November 2013

Question: What were “questions that had been going through Tereza’s head since she was a child”? What made them “serious” questions? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

Answer: Since Tereza was a little girl her mother continuously teased her body, more so her small breast. It was not until Tereza met Tomas that she began to feel more comfortable about her body. Tereza did not like her breast, she would stand in the mirror and think of ways her breast could be different, but did her breast define her? Did her body represent her as a person? These are the questions Tereza had since a young age. The narrator states, “Then what was the relationship between Tereza and her body? Had her body the right to call itself Tereza? And if not, then what did the name refer to? Merely something incorporeal, intangible” (Kundera 139)? The narrator explains, “These are questions that had been going through Tereza’s head since she was a child. Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate” (Kundera 139). What makes these questions serious is that for a child to have thought of them then it must be important.

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at November 19, 2013 07:22 PM

Stephanie Gilbert
Dr. Hobbs
Eng-210-Cl English and Desire in Literature- CA01
20 November 2013

Blog Question

Part V: Explain why the narrator when trying to explain the tendency to diving people into categories made the generalization that every “Frenchman is different” but “all actors the world over are similar.” What s/he mean? Quote passages for the text as your evidence but explain in your own words.

He or she means that “Without Consent” you do not get talent. But what Kundera does infer is “a doctor is someone who consents to spend his whole life involved with human bodies and all that they entail (Kundera pg.193).” Which Kundera then goes on to explain that you do not have to have talent nor skill or basic consent to be a doctor or an actor. Which is so true because now-days you can relate that to having to draw blood / give blood. The person, either A: has a talent for not missing the vein, or B: misses the vein completely and ends up bruising you.

Posted by: Stephanie Gilbert at November 19, 2013 07:37 PM

Jalisa Lowe
Alexia Chambers
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
20 November 2013

Question: Light and Darkness

Answer: When we think of the word “light,” we think of brightness, knowledge, truth. Whereas, when we think of “darkness,” we think of lies, and disagreements. In the novel, characters Sabina and Franz view light and darkness in completely different ways. When Sabina thinks of light and darkness, she views light as a privilege. Light is a way of seeing, and “living for Sabina meant seeing” (Kundera 94). The only way ones vision would vanish is by “strong light, which blinds, and total darkness” (Kundera 94). Sabina did not like the darkness. Darkness represented death. Franz, however, thought of light as source, such as “the sun, a light bulb, a spotlight” (Kundera 94). Franz preferred darkness over light. He thought of darkness as “pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless” (Kundera 95). When Franz made love to Sabina he would close his eyes because “the pleasure suffusing his body called for darkness” (Kundera 95). When Sabina saw that Franz had his eyes closed, she could not stand to look at him. The narrator states, “Sabina found the sight of Franz distasteful, and to avoid looking at him she too closed her eyes” (Kundera 95). Darkness for Sabina meant one did not want to see what was in front of them, it “did not mean infinity” (Kundera 95). Kundera does not give us a clear definition of the two words; he just explains how both characters point of view of the words differs. By understanding these terms, it will help us understand the characters better and their actions.

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at November 19, 2013 07:58 PM

Maria Benkirane

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 210 CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature

19 November 2013

Question: Explain the bizarre situation with the crow that Tereza found. Explain the significance of the event.

Answer: After having sex with the engineer, Tereza felt really bad. Kundera describes Tereza's feeling as she was sitting in the bathroom saying," Tereza was overcome by a feeling of infinite grief and loneliness. Nothing could be more miserable than her naked body perched on the enlarged end of a sewer pipe" (157). As she was walking home, Tereza notices a crow buried under the dirt but noticing his beak. She tried so hard to get the crow out of the dirt that she even broke a nail, emphasizing on the importance of the event to Tereza. Tereza took the crow home and took it of it so well. She did everything she could in order to save it. This event is so significant as Kundera explains how Tereza relates herself to the crow, "In its solitude and desolation she saw a reflection of her own fate, and she repeated to herself, I have no one else but thomas" (159).

Posted by: maria benkirane at November 19, 2013 08:33 PM

Camila Pinzon
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
14 November 2013

Question: Part III: According to the narrator, is a doctor judged differently than actors or politicians? If so, how? Explain. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

Answer: The narrator expresses the difference in the judgment toward an actor and a politician is quite differently. For instance, an actor as a child decides to portray themselves unknown to the public, a politician understands the people, the public are his judge; hoping they approve, and he will obtain their approval. However, if they disapprove it will further motivate him to succeed. On the other hand, the public does not judge a doctor, he is judged by his patients and colleagues. As Tomas is facing this predicament, he realizes this is his first time experiencing judgment from the public. “Confronted by the looks of those who judge him, he can respond at once with his own look, to explain or defend himself. Now (for the first time in his life) Tomas found himself in a situation where the looks fixed on him were so numerous that he was unable to register them” (loc 2136). If only his patients or colleagues judged Tomas, he would be able to confront the issue, “man to man,” (loc 2136) however, it is the public, and this is something he has never experienced leaving him distraught.

Work Cited:
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. South Australia: Creative Commons Licence, n.d. University of Adelaide. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

Posted by: Camila Pinzon at November 19, 2013 09:33 PM

Dana DeLosa
Julia Dellapenna
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01: Love and Desire in Literature
19 November 2013

Questions Based on the “Sabina’s Country”

1. The term, “Sabina’s Country”, was initially understood as Czechoslovakia, which is the country of Sabina’s origin; however, upon analysis of the text the narrator displays an alternate meaning of the term. Franz and Sabina view Czechoslovakia as “two different dimensions” (Kundera 110). Franz sees Czechoslovakia as a beautiful tragedy whereas Sabina describes it as a “cemetery” (Kundera 113).

2. The dictionary definition does not directly pertain to the term “Sabina’s Country” because it is a concept rather than a word. Kundera, however, wants to display the contrasting views of Franz and Sabina and her loyalty to her country despite her disdain for its present state of affairs. In an attempt to help Sabina emotionally, Franz offers to take her out of the country; she refuses because she still feels loyal to Czechoslovakia.

3. Kundera describes Czechoslovakia for Sabina as “prison, persecution, banned books, occupation, tanks” because he desires to portray her image of the country (Kundera 113). According to Franz, Kundera chooses words that romanticize the current state of Czechoslovakia; as a scholar, he viewed it the oppression as “more than billions of words spewed out by our universities”, and an experience to develop rather than a depression (Kundera 111).

Posted by: Dana DeLosa at November 19, 2013 10:05 PM

Camila Pinzon & Jen Schubin
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
19 November 2013

Strength
Jen and I defined the word strength as physical strength or fitness, and emotionally strong. However, the narrator defined strength differently; Kundera defined it as taking charge, control, and give orders and demands effectively. While, Kundera’s definition is not completely unlike Sabina does express strength as physically built. “Stroking Franz's arms in bed in one of the many hotels where they made love, Sabina said, ‘The muscles you have! They're unbelievable!’ Franz took pleasure in her praise” (loc 1317). Albeit, Sabina prefers the strength of commanding and physical strength combined, especially in the bedroom.
Compared to other characters, Franz does lack strength defined by Sabina, “He [Franz] would never command her, as Tomas had [. . .] Not that he lacks sensuality; he lacks the strength to give orders [. . .] Physical love is unthinkable without violence” (loc 1317). Tomas on the other hand, does have that strength to give Sabina orders. Kundera does not use a traditional “dictionary” form to define her select words. Instead, he provides a setting with a situation, then it continues to Sabina thinking to herself. Through this, Kundera defines the word with context and example. Kundera has written a very opposing book, in the beginning of the novel he writes about opposites such as light and darkness. Thus, his characters may have the same mind-set, for example, strength may not be seen as the ability to give orders by many, in order to further understand the story the set of words must be defined.

Work Cited:
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. South Australia: Creative Commons Licence, n.d. University of Adelaide. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

Posted by: Camila Pinzon at November 19, 2013 10:11 PM

Diana Shoemaker
Monica Guirguis
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question: First define the word or phrase in a way that you and your group members normally understand them. Then move to Kundera’s explanation. Through the narrator, he considers the words listed above as “misunderstood” for two particular participants in a love affair. How does the narrator want us, the readers, to understand this word/phrase? How do the narrator’s/characters’ definitions, work with yours? How does the narrator redefine these terms differently for each character involved?

Answer: My group had the word “woman”. We defined the word woman as the opposite of man, someone feminine and could be considered pretty. We also said that a woman may be defined as delicate. We said a woman may be someone who can bear children and may be stereotyped as the one to cook and clean. Sometimes woman may be seen as inferior to men. The narrator wants us the word “woman” as a title earned to those who deserve it. The novel stated “it represented a value. Not every woman was worthy of being called a woman” (Kundera 89). He wants us to think if every woman is considered a woman. The narrator’s/characters’ definitions did not work much with ours. This is because we defined “woman” in more of a physical manner, whereas the narrator and characters made it more of an internal, soulful thing. In the novel, Franz is focused on during this excerpt. Franz’s wife had threatened suicide if he would not be with her, and he liked how she loved him a lot, but she never held true to the passion in her threat. Franz respected the “woman” about her but maybe not the rest of herself. Franz respected his mother as a whole he did not separate her person and her soul. Franz also calls Sabina a woman at one point showing that he sees it as something important.

Question: Kundera, through the voice of the narrator, doesn’t always use a traditional “dictionary” style format to define his words, e.g. “Dog: a four-legged mammal in the Canine family.” What method(s) does Kundera use to define a concept? Is it effective? Why, or why not?

Answer: Kundera uses the examples of Franz’s wife and mother, but he never uses an actual definition. He uses these characters as a way to portray what he is trying to say. It is effective in some aspects because it is the application of what the definition is.

Question: Kundera, through the voice of the narrator, could have chosen any words to “clarify” for this part of his novel. Why, do you think, did he choose these words to expound upon? How does his discussion of these terms help (or, hurt) your understanding of the story?

Answer: My group believed that Kundera chose these words because not only do they apply to the novel many times, but they are very important aspects of the novel. These words are quite general and may have many meanings. It is obvious that they can be thought of differently from person to person as you can see with our definition of the word “woman” and the narrator’s explanation. The narrator’s explanation helps us understand the story better because it gives us an insight on what he is trying to explain. It also gives us another perspective than our own.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at November 19, 2013 10:44 PM

Allison Knipe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
19 November 2013

Question: 87. PART IV: What is a tram? Why did Tereza detest the trams? Summarize and explain the scene with
the umbrellas. What was the conflict, if any?

A tram is a form of public transportation, kind of like a train. Tereza, "detested the trams constantly packed with people pushing into one another's hate-filled embraces, stepping on one another's feet, tearing off one another's coat buttons, and shouting insults" (Kundera 69). Tereza did not enjoy the disrespect involved with the trams. The conflict with the umbrellas was just that, disrespect. Tereza "gave way, but when she realized her courtesy was not being reciprocated, she started clutching her umbrella like the other women and ramming it forcefully against the oncoming umbrellas" (Kundera 69). This is why she did not like the trams.

Posted by: Allison Knipe at November 19, 2013 10:51 PM

Ashley Johnson
Darius Anderson
Group 3
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
19 November 2013

“Music”

1. Our groups definition of music was a series of note played in a way that forms a harmony or melody. Sabina defines music as loud and because it is loud it will cause people to go deaf. Franz defines music as a literary force that drowns out words. Franz says, “it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library” (Kundera 46) The narrator redefines the word differently with Sabina and Franz. One definition is positive and the other is negative.

2. Kundera does not use the traditional “dictionary” to define the words in this novel. He describes the word and uses examples. We felt that this was effective because as a reader we understood what the word meant through his descriptions.

3. We felt the Kundera chose these words because they meant something different to each character in the book. The discussion of the terms helped our understanding of the story because it allowed us to peek into the minds of the characters and better understand them.

Posted by: Ashley Johnson at November 19, 2013 10:52 PM

Joe Rulli
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
19 November 2013

Question: What is a guberniya? What did the Russians decide was inadmissible in their guberniya and why? What was the result?

Answer: A guberniya is a division is the Russian government. The guberniya decided that free speech was inadmissible.

Posted by: Joe Rulli at November 19, 2013 10:54 PM

Diana Shoemaker
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question: 128. Part V: Explain what the narrator thinks being “a surgeon means.” For what reason, does the narrator speculate, might Tomas have been “led to surgery”? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The narrator states that “Being a surgeon means slitting open the surface of things and looking at what lies inside” (Kundera 101). He is generalizing what a surgeon is by saying it is someone who cuts something and looks inside of it. The narrator says that Tomas might have been
“led to surgery by a desire to know what lies hidden on the other side of Es muss sein!; in other words, what remains of life when a person rejects what he previously considered his mission” (Kundera 101). The narrator is essentially stating that Tomas now has to do a hypothetical form of “surgery” to figure out what he feels inside and what to do next in his life.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at November 19, 2013 11:01 PM

Allison & Stephanie
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
19 November 2013

"Woman"

We define woman as a female gender that you cannot choose for yourself. However, Kundera defines the word as a value that not every woman is worthy of. Men do not believe women are anything more than a physical being. However, Franz tells Sabina, "Sabina, you are a woman (Kundera 89). Franz views women negatively and does not respect them. Kundera does not flat out give a definition, he includes it in the context. These words were chosen because they are essential to the story and his definitions appeal to the characters in the context of the novel.

Posted by: Allison Knipe at November 19, 2013 11:07 PM

Lindsey Thilmony
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
19 November 2013

Question: What is “antithesis”? According to the narrator, what was “love” for Franz? What was his love the “antithesis” of?
Answer: An antithesis is something that is the opposite. The narrator explains, “The only explanation I can suggest is that for Franz, love was not an extension of public life but its antithesis. It meant a longing to put himself at the mercy of his partner. He who gives himself up like a prisoner of war must give up his weapons as well” (Kundera 83). Franz was constantly in this frame of mind when it came to the subject of love.

Posted by: Lindsey Thilmony at November 19, 2013 11:11 PM

Lindsey Thilmony
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
19 November 2013

Question: What does/did the narrator mean when s/he said, “She had sent her body out into the world, and refused to take any responsibility for it” (Kundera 154)? What is the context of the situation? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words. Explain why this is significant turning point in the narrative.
Answer: From the beginning of the novel, and even since her childhood, Tereza had a longing to figure out her own soul. She never liked the appearance of her body, because her mother taught her the human body is a disgusting being. This passage has such significance because throughout the novel Tereza always took control over her body. She chose what she did and did not do with it. I feel that Tereza’s search for happiness or whatever it is, having control is not getting her there. When she has the rendezvous with the engineer, which is something out of the ordinary for Tereza, the loss of control excites her. The narrator states, “The excitement she felt was all the greater because she was excited against her will” (Kundera 155). This moment is a wakeup call and once she comes to her senses, she realizes this is not what she wants.

Posted by: Lindsey Thilmony at November 19, 2013 11:12 PM

Lindsey Thilmony & Jocelyn Hilary
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
19 November 2013

Group #7: “Sabina’s Country”
Discussion: We discussed that Sabina’s country is normally known as the place where she was born and grew up. However, her country is also a place where Franz envied. He loved the danger in her life, and Sabina did not care for it. Franz had excitement about all the words Sabina described her country as, and the only word Sabina thought of was “cemetery.”
Kundera put more meaning and understanding behind his use of words. Most readers would skim by something as simple as the word “dog” but describing it more makes the reader use their minds and imaginations. This is very effective because it utilizes critical thinking.

Posted by: Lindsey Thilmony at November 19, 2013 11:13 PM

Dana DeLosa
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL CA01: Love and Desire in Literature
19 November 2013

Questions: “PART V: Why does the topic of “smiles” suddenly enter the narration of this story? Who is smiling, and why? What does it mean? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.”

Answer: The topic of smiles first arises when the surgeon general of the hospital Tomas works at approaches him to make him sign a statement retracting his article about Oedipus and the government (Kundera 91). The people who are smiling are “people who themselves (they or their intimates) has retracted something” (Kundera 92). These individuals were trying to use this as a common ground to get him to retract his words and befriend them. Tomas felt as though “if he did in fact make the statement, they would start inviting him to parties” and attempt to befriend him (Kundera 92).

Posted by: Dana DeLosa at November 20, 2013 12:26 AM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question #101: In the context of what has happening, thus far, at this point in the narrative, why did Tereza find it “odd” that the Engineer had a copy of Sophocles’s Oedipus on his shelves?

Answer: Tereza is having an affair in response to Tomas' womanizing but is not enjoying it. When she finds Oedipus, "It made her feel as though Tomas had purposely left a trace, a message that her presence here was his doing" (153). Tomas introduces her to the work, so she sees the book as a sign that she is doing the right thing. Tereza also feels that this affair will somehow lead "to the intimate world of Tomas's thoughts" (153).

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at November 20, 2013 12:34 AM

Rache Robinson and Jasmine Charlton
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

"The Old Church in Amsterdam" Group 9
My partner and I did not have prior knowledge about the church in Amsterdam, but we did point out some significance it has to the author. Kundera could have referred to the church in Amsterdam as just a church, but instead, it is called the "old" church. The adjective "old" being used means the church has a lot of history held in it. In part three, Franz,"was fascinated by it: the Grand March of History had passed through this gigantic hall" (Kundera 56). He also admired the emptiness of the church and thinks his life should be simple as it. Sabina, however, remembers the way Communists treated the Czech churches and thought it was hatred towards beauty. She thought the church held more beauty than the world itself. Kundera chose these particular words for the chapter because people have different definitions and feelings towards these words. The discussion of these words help us to understand the characters better in the story. For example, based on the definitions of these words, readers can tell that Franz and Sabina have completely opposite personalities. Franz is more of a positive, but contradicting character in the novel. He enjoys parades and the beauty of New York fascinates him. Sabina, on the other hand, favors things that not many people like such as cemeteries and betrayal.

Posted by: Rache Robinson at November 20, 2013 12:57 AM

Connor Schaefer and Lydia Santana
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL- CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Light and Darkness

The terms we focused on were light and darkness. Light illuminates the darkness. Darkness is defined as lacking light. The author states, “That darkness was pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless; that darkness was without end, without borders; that darkness was the infinite we each carry within us” (Kundera, 95). Here the narrator is mention what darkness really is. It is ironic because many people would not consider darkness to be considered pure and perfect. Light would normally be considered pure, perfect, or infinite. In this case, it is the opposite. The narrator may be trying to use darkness as a symbol. Our definition of light is a positive thing because light goes through the darkness, but in the text it states how light illuminates the darkness. Franz believes that light is corrupted, so he closes his eyes while having sexual actions with Sabina. Sabina thinks that lightness is positive. Darkness is not an infinite to Sabina. Darkness can also resemble lack of knowledge. Franz may not want to learn the truth, so that is why he closes his eyes. He knows the truth is that he is cheating on his wife. The Author defines the concept as symbols in the meanings. It is different because lightness would normally be seen as infinite, but Franz thinks darkness is infinite. Other terms that we believe the other uses to show light and darkness are infinitum and eternal retain. He helps us understand the story by using the terms to show us the meaning of infinite. Sabina is open for lightness, she sees herself as a mistress, she sees it as a short term, and eventually she leaves Franz. That is what we gained from light and darkness.

Posted by: Connor Schaefer at November 20, 2013 02:15 AM

Connor Schaefer and Lydia Santana
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL- CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Light and Darkness

The terms we focused on were light and darkness. Light illuminates the darkness. Darkness is defined as lacking light. The author states, “That darkness was pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless; that darkness was without end, without borders; that darkness was the infinite we each carry within us” (Kundera, 95). Here the narrator is mention what darkness really is. It is ironic because many people would not consider darkness to be considered pure and perfect. Light would normally be considered pure, perfect, or infinite. In this case, it is the opposite. The narrator may be trying to use darkness as a symbol. Our definition of light is a positive thing because light goes through the darkness, but in the text it states how light illuminates the darkness. Franz believes that light is corrupted, so he closes his eyes while having sexual actions with Sabina. Sabina thinks that lightness is positive. Darkness is not an infinite to Sabina. Darkness can also resemble lack of knowledge. Franz may not want to learn the truth, so that is why he closes his eyes. He knows the truth is that he is cheating on his wife. The Author defines the concept as symbols in the meanings. It is different because lightness would normally be seen as infinite, but Franz thinks darkness is infinite. Other terms that we believe the other uses to show light and darkness are infinitum and eternal retain. He helps us understand the story by using the terms to show us the meaning of infinite. Sabina is open for lightness, she sees herself as a mistress, she sees it as a short term, and eventually she leaves Franz. That is what we gained from light and darkness.

Posted by: Connor Schaefer at November 20, 2013 02:15 AM

Connor Schaefer
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL- CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
15 November 2013

Question: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words. (1.) what the concept “THE BEAUTY OF NEW YORK” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: Sabina and Franz described walking through New York as if with every step something changed with the scenery. Using beauty in the title makes the reader believe one thing when really the narrator means something completely different. The narrator describes New York as beautiful by mistake. It is almost as if New Work is not supposed to be beautiful, but it is by mistake. Sabina compared New York to one of her paintings. She said, “And she recalled her first mature painting, which came into being because some red paint had dripped on it by mistake. Yes, her paintings were based on ‘beauty by mistake,’ and New York was the secret but authentic homeland of her painting”(Kundera 102). Sabina is saying how her paintings ended up beautiful because of the mistake of the paint dripping onto the canvas. It is the same concept of New York. Sabina and Franz think that New York is only beautiful because of a mistake. It is misunderstood because the reader would assume that the characters think that the city is beautiful when really they do not believe it was meant to be beautiful. It is only beautiful because once all the buildings were put together it made it beautiful. It is all related to it being a mistake.

Posted by: Connor Schaefer at November 20, 2013 03:07 AM

Desiree Jaramillo
Lauren Rhodes
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
20 November 2013

5. “Parades” (p. 105 of instructor’s edition)

Answer: The word parade holds a very positive connotation. When one hears the word parade, they are able to link it with celebrations, such as The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or countless other holiday parades throughout the year. A parade is a very joyous event in which the participants, as well as the audience, hold a shared value. Kundera, however, includes the word in his list of “Misunderstood Words” and conveys the word in such a way that the audience would not immediately do themselves. Sabina, whose father forced her into the Communist Youth League, despises parades. She could not find that drive that the other girls did in the parades she was forced into participating in. She would make mistakes, like a person who did not have a passion for what she was doing (105). Later in life, she wanted very badly to participate in a protest parade because her beliefs matched those of the parade and the other participants. However, she realized that although she agreed with the ideals of the other participants, the concept of a parade and structured protest was the root of pure evil (106). At a younger age, Franz felt suffocated in his cubicle-like lifestyle. The prospect of being part of a parade exhilarated him. He felt as if his life of study and books was not real in comparison to the life he found bursting in the parades. He yearned for celebration, demand, and protest (105). The words chosen by Kundera are words that many readers would too quickly assume their own rendition of the definitions of the words. These words, like parade, are easy to automatically connect with positive definitions. One does not directly think that the word parade is meant to convey an argument or protest. Kundera causes his readers to stop and explore the many meanings of a word.

Posted by: Desiree Jaramillo at November 20, 2013 08:47 AM

Blake Holtzhower & Jasmine Collins
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013
Group 8. Cemetery
To us a cemetery is a place where we lay the dead to rest. It is also a place of mourning for people. However, Kundera makes the cemetery seem as a place of happiness from Sabina’s point of view. He also makes the cemetery seem pointless and a waste of space when he explains Franz’s view on them. When Kundera explains the cemetery, he does so in great detail. He takes something that is a boring place, and gives it some excitement and beauty. For example, “Cemeteries in Bohemia are like gardens. The graves are covered with grass and colorful flowers. Modest tombstones are lost in the greenery. When the sun goes down, the cemetery sparkles with tiny candles (Kundera 104).”

Posted by: Christopher Holtzhower at November 20, 2013 09:54 AM

Regina Green, Vera Smirnova
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
20 November 2013

Answer: Our personal definition of music is beats put to a rhythm with harmonies. For Franz, he describes music as something you can get drunk off of. Music was his companion, and escape from his daily routine. He sees it as a positive thing in his life. On the other hand, Sabina hears music as loud noise. She does not like it at all. She prefers silence. She sees is as a negative thing in life. Kundera wants us to see the positives and negatives of music. Our personal definition is positive like Franz's. Kundera defines music through personal and emotional experience. It shows that everyone views different things in different ways. It is ironic that Sabina is an artist but does not like music and how Franz is not an artist but loves music. These different views help us understand the characters pasts and childhood experiences.

Posted by: Regina Green at November 20, 2013 10:31 AM

Julia Della Penna
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question 117: PART V- Why, according to the narrator, could Tomas not bear the smiles of his colleagues? What were they smiling about? What is the meaning of their smiles? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer: Tomas, according to the narrator, could not bear the smiles of his colleagues because he thought he saw them everywhere even on the faces of strangers. “Tomas could not bear the smile. He thought he saw them everywhere, even on those faces of strangers in the streets” (Kundera, 94). They were smiling because they wanted him to write the retraction, “everyone was smiling at him, everyone wanted him to write the retraction; it would make everyone happy!” (Kundera, 94). The colleagues were trying to persuade Tomas to do as they wanted and to convince him. “These people began to smile a curious smile at him, a smile he had never seen before: the sheepish smile of secret conspiratorial consent. It was the smile of two men meeting accidentally in a brothel: both slightly abashed, they are at the same time glad that the feeling is mutual, and a bond of something akin to brotherhood develops between them.” (Kundera, 93).

Posted by: Julia Della Penna at November 20, 2013 10:37 AM

Matt, Nicholson-Lewis, Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL CA01
20 November, 2013

Question #10: What profession did Tomas ultimately end up in? Why did this happen? What happened to him when he had this job? Explain. Provide details.

Tomas ended up as a window washer after leaving his job as a general practitioner. He left because he believed he was in danger of being thrown in jail for the “Oedipus” article he wrote in 1968. After becoming a window washer he began to feel “ten years younger” (Kundera 197), and actually enjoyed it more than being a doctor. “Like he was simply on a long holiday”. (Kundera 197).

Posted by: Matt Nicholson-Lewis, Deirdre Rowan at November 20, 2013 11:05 AM

Hector M. Rosario
Allison Knipe
Professor B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
20 November 2013

2) Tomas is listening to the radio broadcast condemning the Soviets. In that time, they are discussing how each country has a secret police yet they are publicly addressing something that should be kept behind closed doors. When you hold someone to a high standard and they do something to dent their character (in your eyes), it effects your view of the person. An example would be an instructor who continuously uses swear words during a lecture. You can see them as coming down to your level but also lose them as an "authority figure." We see the loss of character as hypocritical. With the novel, it reiterates the theme of public versus private ordeals.

Posted by: Hector M. Rosario at November 20, 2013 11:07 AM

Kylie Fagan
Destiny Hubbard
Dr. Hobbs
ENG210CL Love and Desire CA02
20 November 2013

Question: Define, in your own words the phrase “The Beauty of New York”. What is the narrator’s explanation. What method(s) does Kundera use, instead, to define a concept? It is effective? Why, or, why not? Why do you think he chose these words to expound upon?
Answer: To us, the “beauty of New York” is this sense of a different kind of beauty. We agree with Sabina when she says the beauty is “unintentional” and a “beauty by mistake” (Kundera 101). Sabina was fascinated by the “alien quality” of New York, whereas Franz was interested but also frightened by it (Kundera 102). Kundera uses metaphors and imagery techniques when defining this concept. We found it very effective because you grasp the sense of what the place looks like through all of the beautiful juxtapositions used. We believe Kundera chose these words because they are very subjective and common misconceptions.

Posted by: Kylie Fagan Destiny Hubbard at November 20, 2013 11:09 AM

Destiny Hubbard & Jocelyne Hilary
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature

20th November 203

Group Activity-Question: IV-5: What is the significance of the dying bird? What do birds, often crows, frequently represent in western narrative? Provide details.

Answer: The dying bird is highly significant in this novel because it is a reflection of Tereza. The fragility and the “desolation”(pg. 159) of the bird reminded her of her insecurities following her affair. Tereza’s encounter with the bird and her inability to nurse it back to health implies that there are some things in life that cannot be controlled or fixed.

In Western narratives, birds especially crows and ravens are symbolic of the foreshadowing of death. They are a bad omen, and in the case of Tereza and Tomas , this omen was symbolic of their fate.

Posted by: Jocelyne Hilary & Destiny Hubbard at November 20, 2013 12:04 PM

Alexia Chambers Darius Anderson
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and desire in literature CA02
20 November 2013
Question:
2. What is the significance of this passage: “people use filth language all day long, but when they turn on the radio and hear a well-known personality, someone they respect, saying “[expletive]” in every sentence, they feel somehow let down”? Where does this occur in the novel? How does it have any relevance to contemporary life, today, in the twenty-first century?
Answer:
A lot of people loved Jan Prochazka’s and when his private talks became a weekly radio show and people were shocked by what he was saying, they were more shocked by him than the secret-police and everyone hated the police. We said the same thing applies to life when we are kids and watching a show with a child actor when that child actor grows up and plays more adult roles people will say things like “I remember when they were on Disney channel they were so innocent”. We expect actors to be perfect role models that we find it weird when they curse even though we do it all the time.

Posted by: Alexia Chambers at November 20, 2013 12:30 PM

Jocelyne Hilary
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature

19th November 203

Question: Part IV: What unfortunate event happened to Tereza during her tryst with the engineer that was unbeknownst to her, until later? What was the purpose of it? Who was trying to manipulate her and for what purpose?

Answer: The unfortunate event that took place when Tereza met the engineer was that he took advantage of her. The engineer raped Tereza although she was merely following Tomas’ instruction of going there in the first place. Tereza had learnt that casual sex and love were not completely dissimilar. She had distinguished the difference between what her soul and body desired. Tomas was trying to manipulate her in order for him to keep a clear conscience so he could go to heaven. Tomas ultimately wants Tereza dead without getting his hands dirty.

Posted by: Jocelyne Hilary at November 20, 2013 12:55 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question 139: According to the narrator, what fantasy (a part of the story he had previously omitted) did Sabina have about Tomas the time she examined herself in the mirror with the bowler hat? What does this addendum to the tale reveal to us about the nature/character of Sabina?

Answer: Sabina is not afraid to reveal all of herself, even willing to be seen using a toilet. During her affair with Tomas, when she put on the bowler hat, "she had a fantasy of Tomas seating her on the toilet in her bowler hat and watching her void her bowels" (247). Sabina does not care about privacy; she likes being open about everything.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at November 20, 2013 02:11 PM

Salvatore Christlieb
ENG210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
Dr. Hobbs
20 November 2013

Question: Part V: According to the narrator, what was Tomas's true "es muss sein!"? Was it his profession or was it love? Explain. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Tomas’ “es muss sein” was his love fort Tereza. It was more compassion than love according to the narrator. Tomas only wanted to go back to Tereza because he cared about her in some way. As the narrator explains the es muss sein, he states that it is, “actually Tomas’s first step back to Tereza” (Kundera Loc 382). This means that Tomas is bound to Tereza because he wants to be bound to her.

References
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

Posted by: Salvatore Christlieb at November 20, 2013 02:28 PM

Morgan Salter (Group 3)
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question: What is the significance of the boy who flirts with Tereza? Explain.

Answer: After beginning a new job working behind a bar, Tereza encounters a sixteen year old boy attempting to purchase alcohol from her store. After respectfully denying the boy’s request, he leaves and gets drunk across the street. When he comes back the boy comes on to Tereza, openly flirting with her. The flirtation happening is crucial to Tereza’s state of mind at this time, for she had been contemplating living a “lighter” lifestyle as her lover, Tomas. The sixteen year old intoxicated boy is significant because it is later discovered that the bald man who hangs out at the bar works for the Secret Police and was trying to accuse Tereza of prostitution; the boy was merely a piece of the set up to tempt her by testing her morals.

Posted by: Morgan Salter (Group 3) at November 20, 2013 02:49 PM

Morgan Salter (Group 3)
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question: Explain the current, conventional “interpretation” of Soviet films that “Sabina always rebelled against.” Why did she take a position contrary to popular belief? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The current, conventional interpretation of Soviet films was that of kitsch. The term kitsch, over time, has morphed from its original definition and in the context of the novel literally means the denial of any unacceptable action or behavior, refusing to see anything that is intolerable in society. Soviet films “were saturated with incredible innocence and chastity” (Kundera 132), illustrating the ideal Communist model instead of the harsh reality. She chose to take this position contrary to popular belief because she recognizes that the world does not work according the Communist model and found the real world, the world of cruel fact, to be more livable than the fake existence of ignorant followers.

Posted by: Morgan Salter at November 20, 2013 03:31 PM

Jocelyne Hilary
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature

19th November 203

Question: Part VI: According to the narrator , what fantasy (a part of the story previously omitted) did Sabina have about Tomas the time she examined herself in the mirror with the bowler hat? What does this addendum to the tale reveal to us about the nature/character of Sabina?

Answer: Sabina had fantasized that Tomas had her seated on the toilet while she was wearing her hat, he then “watcher her void her bowels (pg 130.)” It shows that Sabina is rather infatuated with Tomas because her fantasies about Tomas aren’t necessarily always cliché and romantic. Her fantasy of Tomas in this instance was rather odd; she had fantasized this “ while she was looking at herself in the mirror, excited by her self-denigration (pg 130.).” Things that would necessarily turn on Sabina, be disgusting to someone else. I think the narrator wants to illustrate the psychological effects her troublesome life has had on her way of thinking.

Posted by: jocelyne Hilary at November 20, 2013 04:12 PM

Joe Rulli, Diego Pestana
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210 CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question 11: What is the significance of the concept of the "I", according to the narrator, and why Tomas was obsessed with it? Explain. Provide details.

Answer: "I" is what makes every individual different. "The individual "I" is what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed or calculated" (Kundera 199). Tomas spent a good portion of his life working on the human brain, and what he found was there was nothing more difficult to capture than the "I" in every human being. Tomas becomes obsessed to discover the "I" in every woman through sex. He was not obsessed with women, he was obsessed with finding out what the difference between all of them was, and to him the only way to achieve that was through sex. He believes the only way to find this through sex because only during intercourse women show their "millionth part" because it "must be conquered" (Kundera 200) and not many people will get to see this part of any particular individual.

Posted by: Joe Rulli at November 20, 2013 04:43 PM

Maria Benkirane

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 210 CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature

20 November 2013

Question: What, according to the narrator, truly "makes a leftist a leftist"? What does this have to do with Franz? To correctly answer this question, you need to be sure you understand what the narrator's understandings of both "kitsch" and the "the Grand March" are (consider the context of this passage). Both of these expressions are discussed, in some detail, in earlier places of the novel. In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: According to Kundera, " "What makes a leftist a leftist is not this or that theory but his ability to integrate any theory into the kitsch called the Grand March" (257). This has to do with Franz because he believes, "The fantasy of the Grand March that Franz was so intoxicated by is the political kitsch joining leftists of all times and tendencies.  The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness; it goes on and on, obstacles notwithstanding, for obstacles there must be if the march is to be the Grand March." (257). Kitsch is the "absolute denial of shit". Kitsch is an aesthetic idea, "The identity of kitsch comes not from a political strategy but from images, metaphors, and vocabulary" (261). Franz was not into that idea of Kitsch as much, but it was the whole concept and imagination of the grand march that had a role, comparing it with the song of two lit windows of Sabina.

Posted by: maria benkirane at November 20, 2013 06:16 PM

Maria Benkirane
Dr. Hobbs

ENG 210 CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature

20 November 2013

Group 5 Question: What is the significance of the dying bird? What do birds, often crows, frequently represent in western narrative? Provide details?

Answer: The significance of the dying crow related straight to Tereza. She tried to save the bird because she felt pity towards it. She took the bird home and did everything to save it. This is significant because she related her self to the bird. Kundera describes Tereza's feelings saying, "In its solitude and desolation she saw a reflection of her own fate, and she repeated to herself, I have no one else but thomas" (159). In Western narrative, the crows represent death and bad luck. It is a negative omen around the word. For example in the bible it is selfish, for the greeks it is gossipy, and in India it is a messenger of death.

Posted by: maria benkirane at November 20, 2013 06:23 PM

Salvatore Christlieb Group 6
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
Dr. Hobbs
20 November 2013

Question: What is the significance of the idea of "choice" (or, if you like, "freewill") in this part of the novel? Provide Details.

Answer: The significance of the idea of "choice" is that Tereza starts to choose for herself and disregards Tomas’s commands. As Tomas ordered Tereza to walk up Petrin Hill she had no idea why but, “she looked back. He was still sitting on the bench, smiling at her almost cheerfully. With a wave of the hand he signaled her to move on” (Kundera Loc 1729). Tomas sent her to her death. The men on the hill were assisted suicide soldiers and when Tereza was asked “to avoid an error, this was your choice, wasn’t it?” (Kundera Loc 1746). She obviously agreed until push came to shove and Tereza hugged a tree and told the rifleman, “but it wasn’t my choice” (Kundera Loc 1772). Tereza was finally able to disobey Tomas’s orders and found her ability to choose which can be considered free will. This could be considered a pivotal moment for Tereza’s evolution because it is the first time she has ever disobeyed Tomas. It was the first time that she took control over her life and body as well. Thus, choice has become significant in this novel.

Posted by: Salvatore Christlieb at November 20, 2013 08:41 PM

Salvatore Christlieb
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
Dr. Hobbs
20 November 2013
Question: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, "In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme"? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator's understanding of the word "kitsch" is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The narrator’s definition of kitsch has to be sentimentality. As the narrator states, “the feeling induced by kitsch must be a kind the multitudes can share. Kitsch may not, therefore, depend on an unusual situation; it must derive from the basic images people have engraved in their memories” (Kundera Loc 3010). It is obvious that the sentiment is negative because kitsch is a very negative word and for anyone to remember anything utilizing kitsch to describe the memory, a good memory is not recalled. Therefore, the narrator means that in the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart is misled, terrible, tasteless, and fake.

Posted by: Salvatore Christlieb at November 20, 2013 09:48 PM

Stephanie Gilbert & Jasmine Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-210CL Love and Desire in Literature –CA01
20 November 2013

Group # 7

What is the significance of the title of this section to the rest of the novel? How is it different form the previous part of the same name? Explain & Provide details.

The significance of this title must be important to the context of this novel because it is repeated in chapter titles, for example: In part one. Part five is different from part one because he is introducing the idea of lightness and weight. He is also introducing the characters as well in part one. In part five, he is giving examples of the idea of lightness and weight by explaining it in such a way that it is coming from the characters and their experiences.

Some examples’ of this: is when Kundera is introducing Thomas and Tereza in part one. When we first see Kundera describing Thomas’s character he describes Thomas as a womanizer and going through so many relationships, in comparison to Tereza who only wants to be in one steady relationship. This, therefore, could be seen as a scale, the relationship dynamic between both characters. On one side of the scale, you have Tereza, and on the other Thomas; at some points in the relationship it is unbalanced between Tereza and Thomas because of their own definition of a relationship. Because of this in part five we see Kundera explaining a bit more in depth as to why Tereza feels less of a person, and why Thomas feels the weight of his many relationships.


Posted by: Stephanie Gilbert at November 21, 2013 08:36 AM

Erica Bodden
Erica Esqueda
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
21 November 2013

Question: 8. What is the significance of the “myth” that Tomas used as an analogy for the Communists’ folly in Czechoslovakia? Explain. Provide details.

The myth that Tomas used as an analogy was the one about Oedipus. Tomas used it to compare the communists’ actions to those of Oedipus’. Just as Oedipus claimed to not have known that he had killed his own father, and married his own mother, the Communists claimed that, “We didn't know! We were deceived,” (Kundera 89). Oedipus, who realized what he had done and brought upon the people he now ruled after marrying his mother, accepted that he “was the cause of their suffering,” (Kundera 89) and left the town. Unlike Oedipus, the Communists used their supposed ignorance in order to not face the guilt and consequences of their actions. They used their ignorance in order to remain in power and claim that they did not know that their actions were going to negatively affect the people. What Tomas was asking in his article by using this analogy, was if people should believe the communists and whether they should really be held responsible for their actions based on the choices that they made, even though they claimed to not have known they were doing wrong.

Posted by: Erica Esqueda at November 21, 2013 10:25 AM

Diana Shoemaker
Maria Pinzon
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question: What profession did Tomas ultimately end up in? Why did this happen? What happened to him when he had this job? Explain. Provide details.

Answer: Everyone at the hospital “wanted him to write the retraction” (Kundera 182). They expected him to do it. He was overwhelmed by the smiles. He ended up saying that he was not going to do it and asked if there was another way. He ended up getting fired. He ended up working far away for a county clinic. He became a general practitioner. He met with the Ministry of the Interior and spoke about his prior position. They also spoke about how Tomas’ article was not published fully. The man from the ministry started to interrogate Tomas. The novel states, “’and who was it you talked to?’ ‘One of the editors.’ ‘What was his name?’ Not until that point did Tomas realize that he was under interrogation” (Kundera 187). He was then accused of insincerity.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at November 21, 2013 01:22 PM

Abdulaziz Alsaif
Dr. Hobbs
English -210 CL - CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
13 November 2013
Q # 59 Part III: What is the connection between Tomas and Sabina?

Answer:
The connection between Tomas and Sabina is that she is his favorite mistress. We know this because she is present with Tomas and even with his wife Tereza. “Each time he lay down next to his wife in that bed, he thought of his mistress imagining him lying down next to his wife in that bed.” We also find the connection here because we know what she does and that is because she is Tomas is good friend, “His painter-mistress poured herself another glass of wine, drank it down,” (Kundera 41)

Posted by: Abdulaziz Alsaif at November 21, 2013 01:27 PM

Abdulaziz Alsaif
Dr. Hobbs
English -210 CL - CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
13 November 2013
Q # 16 Part I: What does Tomas mean by “erotic friendship”? Why did he feel the need to create the condition of “erotic friendship”?

Answer:

Tomas feared woman and their ideas; therefore, he had to come up with an idea to resolve that, he called it erotic friendship. “He would tell his mistresses: the only relationship that can make both partners happy is one in which sentimentality has no place and neither partner makes any claim on the life and freedom of the other. To ensure that erotic friendship never grew into the aggression of love,” he only meets his long time mistress only at intervals.

Posted by: Abdulaziz Alsaif at November 21, 2013 01:29 PM

Jasmine Charlton
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
20 November 2013

Question: “What does the narrator mean when s/he said, “whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch”? To correctly answer this question you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understandings of the words “kitsch” AND “totalitarian” are (consider the context of the passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

Answer: Within the text “Kitsch” is a German word used to explain absolute denial [Kundera 248]. On the other hand, “Totalitarian” in the book is described as “everything that infringes on kitsch must be banished for life” [Kundera 251-252]. In the statement, the narrator is saying that every time a new band of individualist strikes or people try to gain say in society the old mindset that individualism is a spit in the eye of the smiling brotherhood stops them. Lastly, it is saying society usually stops the various movements out of fear of punishment for doubting details and trying to change rules and protocols.

Posted by: jasmine Charlton at November 21, 2013 04:16 PM

Stephanie Gilbert
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-210CL Love and Desire in Literature- CA01
21 November 2013

142. Part VI: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, “The brotherhood of man on earth will be possible only on a base of kitsch. And no one knows this better than politicians?” To correctly answer this question you need to be sure you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). And in your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

The narrator means “Kitsch,” to be shit. But what I think the author is saying based on the definition, and the interpretation of what the narrator is saying, and by the YouTube-videos I saw. That people on earth are here based on the fact of shit and to prove his point Kundera uses politicians and what they say as an example of “Kitsch.” But I also believe although it is shit that it can be possible for others to look at it from a different point of view and say no; it is odd and eccentric yes but valued by others. Because what I value may be shit to others but it is important to me, therefore, to me it would not be “Kitsch.”

Posted by: Stephanie Gilbert at November 21, 2013 06:46 PM

Jennifer Schubin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
November 21, 2013

Question: We know from our lectures in this course that Philia love is friendship and Erotic love is something else. What does Tomas mean by “erotic friendship”? Why did he feel the need to
create the condition of “erotic friendship”?

Answer: Over the years, Thomas has grown to like just being single and many mistresses. To Thomas this is known as “erotic friendship.” In Thomas’s mind, this means that the “erotic friends” meet once in a while and sleep together then go about their lives. Thomas feels the need to create this because he does not want to be bound to another and have his freedom compromised (Kundera 12).

Posted by: Jennifer Schubin at November 21, 2013 06:57 PM

Jalisa Lowe
Paula Pion
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
22 November 2013

Question: What is the significance of the title of this section to the rest of the novel? How is it different from the previous part of the same name? Explain. Provide details.

Answer: The significance of the title of this section is that it demonstrates eternal reoccurrence. It shows that nothing will ever be resolved no matter what path we take in life. When Tereza first met Tomas in part two, the first thing she notices was the book he carried, and the drink he ordered. The narrator states, “Tomas appeared to Tereza in the hotel restaurant as chance in the absolute. There he sat, poring over an open book, when suddenly he raised his eyes to her, smiled, and said, “A cognac please”” (Kundera 49). It showed her that he was intellectual and classy. Tereza did not value looks more so character when she first met Tomas. At such a young age, Tereza was embarrassed of her body; therefore, she learned to value the soul over the body. In part four Tereza’s point of view changes a little. Now that she and Tomas have been married for a while, Tereza grows to value the body more, but not more than the soul. She becomes more comfortable with her body after being ridiculed at such a young age by her mother about her breasts. The narrator states, “Her mother used to ridicule her for having such small breasts, and she had had a complex about them until Tomas came along” (Kundera 138). Tomas helped her to love her body because he did not care about her small breast or any other flaws she had. She still was not in love with her body and there were things she wished to change, but overall she approved of her body more. Both part two and part four shows that you cannot have the soul without the body, or vice versa.

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at November 21, 2013 07:39 PM

Jalisa Lowe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
22 November 2013

Question: Who were the Gnostics? Who was Valentinus? If you don’t immediately recognize either of these, take some time to fill in the gaps of your knowledge and google them. Then answer the following question: What conclusion did Valentinus arrive concerning the nature of Jesus of Nazareth, and, why, exactly did this logic make sense to him? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The Gnostics were people who longed for the truth behind the existence of God and how humans were created. Valentinus was “the great Gnostic master” (Kundera 246). At the beginning of the section, the narrator contemplates on how humans were created since it is said that humans were created in Gods image. He ponders about how he saw God eat and drink one day so that must mean God has intestines, but how is that so? He explains that in order for humans to be created like God, God must have intestines, but if God does not have intestines then humans are not created like God. (Kundera 245) Valentinus concluded that Jesus of Nazareth “ate and drank, but did not defecate” (Kundera). What the narrator means by this is that even though God created humans in an image of him he does not control their actions. When something bad happens people usually ask “why God” as if he was the one who caused the harm, but he did not. The narrator states, “Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man’s crimes.” (Kundera 246).

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at November 21, 2013 08:25 PM

Jennifer Schubin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
November 21, 2013

Question: Deconstruct and the explain what the narrator means when s/he says, “Necessity knows no magic formulae—they are all left to chance.” In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

Answer: The narrator is talking about how Tereza and Tomas first met in this passage. Tereza is telling the reader how she came to know Beethoven’s music. In the book, Tereza goes to a concert and met people there. The people “invited the musicians to dinner the asked [her] to come along with.” The narrator shows the nothing happens without a reason, by telling this story.


Posted by: Jennifer Schubin at November 21, 2013 09:17 PM

Desiree Jaramillo
Kylie Fagan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
22 November 2013

Question: What is the significance of the men on top of the mountain? Provide details.

Answer: Tereza only goes up the hill because Tomas sends her there. Tereza became so distraught with the fact that Tomas was having sexual relations with other women that she confronted him once again. He told her that all she would have to do is go up the hill and everything would be taken care of. Tereza loves Tomas so much that she trusts him wholeheartedly and does anything for him. When she completes her journey up the hill, she finds six men; one is holding a rifle. She is still unsure of what she has gotten into. The man with the rifle immediately asks her whether or not this was her choice. Because she could not bring herself to disappoint Tomas, even though she has just learned that he had sent her up there to be killed, she attempted to reassure the man that it was, in fact, her choice. She could not allow herself to be shot, so she broke down just in time and admitted that she did not wish to kill herself. This event signifies Tereza’s turning point in the novel. This occurrence, in a sense, opens her eyes to the true danger of Tomas. Although she believes she truly loves the man, as she made her way back, “the more she feared Tomas,” and knew that she must no longer give herself completely to the man who wished to have her executed over jealousy (151).

Posted by: Desiree Jaramillo at November 21, 2013 09:19 PM

Kerriann Salatti
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
21 November 2013

Question: What is a water closet?

Answer: “Toilets in modern water closets rise up from the floor like white lilies.” (156) Now a days he says that toilets looked like beautiful white lilies and in the past they actually looked a sewer pipe coming from the ground.

Posted by: Kerriann Salatti at November 21, 2013 09:33 PM

Kerriann Salatti
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
21 November 2013

Question: What does the work “vertiginously” mean?

Answer: Vertiginously means feeling dizzy or nauseous usually from great height. He means that they are so close during the war that it caused them a sickening feeling enough to make them want to pass out and vertigo meaning he’s seeing things and causing confusion. “When the North Pole comes so close as to touch the South Pole, the earth disappears and man finds himself in a void that makes his head spin and beckons him to fall.” (244)

Posted by: Kerriann Salatti at November 21, 2013 09:44 PM

Monica Guirguis
Lindsey Thilmony
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire Literature
20 November 2013
Parts four and five group activity
Group #7

Question: What is the significant of the title of this section to the rest of the novel? How is it different from the previous part of the same name? Explain Provide details

Tomas relationship with Terza is a burden, he feels like this a burden upon him to take and he doesn't deserve all the attention, he feels like he is the weight but not the light of the people anymore as people think of him of anymore. According to Kundera page 190 " Tomas feel into deep depression, How could he have gone into a Jovial tone to a conversation?"This shows how Tomas felt that he wasn't worth anything anymore even though people saw him as this wonderful person in society and his position was no longer what he wanted to be. But he felt he was just a burden. The significance is that Tomas was shown to be the light but yet his weight on the world was upon him and this way it was different then the other chapters or parts in the novel.

Posted by: Monica & Lindsey Thimony at November 21, 2013 11:21 PM

Dana Delosa
Cheyenne DeMaggio
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
21 November 2013

Question: What is the significance of the idea of “choice” (or, if you like, “freewill”) in this part of the novel? Provide details

Answer: The significance of the idea of "choice" can be seen in two different events in part four; Tereza's affair and her arranged suicide. In both instances, she uses Tomas as a scapegoat to take responsibility for her "Choices." When Tomas's obsessive cheating puts Tereza's Jealousy to a point out of her control, she asks him for help. He arranges for her to be killed by a man with a rifle, thinking that it would help with the entire situation. In Tereza's mind, she feels that she needs to be killed in this manner because it is what Tomas wants. She essentially "did not have a choice." The man with the rifle, however, will not kill anyone unless it was solely their choice. With the gun pointed to her head, Tereza says "But it wasn't my choice" (Kundera 150), Referring to her previous thought "It would have been easy to say, 'No, no! It wasn't my choice at all!' but she could not imagine disappointing Tomas" (Kundera 148). This is in comparison to Tereza's experience in her affair with the engineer. She also felt that this was what Tomas wanted for her and that she had no choice but to engage in the infidelity as a way to gain insight into Tomas's lifestyle. The speaker reiterates "when the engineer tried to put his arms around her (Tereza), she would say as she said to the man with the rifle on Petrin Hill, 'It wasn't my choice'" (Kundera 152). Therefore, the significance of "choice" in this part of the novel is that Tereza will always try to put the responsibility of her own choices on Tomas.

Posted by: Cheyenne DeMaggio at November 22, 2013 01:10 AM

McKenzie Burns & Blake Holtzhower
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
22 November 2013

Group/Pair work for part 4&5

Question #4: What is the significance of the men on top of the mountain? Provide details.

Answer:The men on top of the hill help people who want to commit suicide. They represent an easy way out of life. People do not have to deal with their problems. The men ask if it is the person's choice to want to die because they "consider it a service" (Kundera 148). At first Tereza said it was her choice because she did not want to disappoint Tomas. Once it came to her turn to be killed, she admitted that it was not her choice so they could not go through with it. It is strange of Tomas, who claims to love Tereza, to lead her to this hill where he knows that she will be killed. He does not try and help her to get better, but instead takes the easy route and leads her to what would have potentially been her death.

Posted by: McKenzie Burns, Blake Holtzhower at November 22, 2013 08:18 AM

Julia Della Penna
Kelly Scott
Kaitlin Millner
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

PART FOUR- Question 1: What is the significance of the title of this section to the rest of the novel? How is it different from the previous part of the same name? Explain. Provide details.
Answer: The significance of the title of this section to the rest of the novel is it has the same name as Part II and again, is back at Tereza’s point of view with Tomas. Tereza has always hated the body and she believes that the body and soul are two completely different entities. The title of this section (and of Part II), explains perfectly how she lacks to feel the connection of the soul and body; she does not think there is one. In Part II, Tereza’s mentality of the body is expressed as, “Ever since man has learned to give each part of the body a name, the body has given him less trouble. He has also learned that the soul is nothing more than the gray matter of the brain in action.”, (Kundera, 21) and later on in Part IV, again “Then what was the relationship between Tereza and her body? Had her body the right to call itself Tereza?” (Kundera, 71). The difference between Part II and Part IV, even though they share the same title, is that it goes into deeper depth of Tereza’s point of view and less of Tomas’s; also, Part IV is in the present time, while Part II flip-flops between the past and present. Although, Tereza claims throughout the beginning of the book that Tomas’s infidelity does not affect her, and instead makes it something that connects them rather than divide them; however, Tereza’s insecurities about her own body start to eat away at her. Tereza has another dream sequence in Part IV, but this time it does not include other women and Tomas being the executor, instead it only involves herself, three other men being executed, and a stranger behind the rifle; “Tomas was sending her to her death” (Kundera, 78).

Posted by: Julia Della Penna at November 22, 2013 10:01 AM

Allison Knipe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question: 146. PART VI: Why did Sabina protest the depiction of her in a West German catalogue about her art
work? Why did the Germans who created the catalogue “not understand her”? Explain the dispute but, understand, that to correctly answer this question, you need to be absolutely SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this
passage).

The Germans depicted her as some sort of a saint in her biography, which she, "protested, but they did not understand her" (Kundera 134). Her artwork was not meant to do this, and she did not appreciate the catalogue. She speaks about fear of kitsch and the different meanings of kitsch. In her dream she sees it as, "a folding screen set up to curtain off death" (Kundera 133). It is also mentioned that, "Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion" (Kundera 145). There were many different ways the characters viewed kitsch but this was how Sabina did.

Posted by: Allison Knipe at November 22, 2013 10:43 AM

Salvatore Christlieb
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
Dr. Hobbs
20 November 2013

Question: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, "In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme"? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator's understanding of the word "kitsch" is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The narrator’s definition of kitsch has to be sentimentality. As the narrator states, “the feeling induced by kitsch must be a kind the multitudes can share. Kitsch may not, therefore, depend on an unusual situation; it must derive from the basic images people have engraved in their memories” (Kundera Loc 3010). It is obvious that the sentiment is negative because kitsch is a very negative word and for anyone to remember anything utilizing kitsch to describe the memory, a good memory is not recalled. Therefore, the narrator means that in the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart is misled, terrible, tasteless, and fake.

References
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

Posted by: Salvatore Christlieb at November 22, 2013 10:48 AM

Kerriann Salatti and Julia
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question: We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under. Discuss and explain the first category.

Answer: The first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public.” ( 269) This category was based on popularity and having everyone look at you and want to be likes you. After a while with everyone staring at you the pressure gets to you once the newspaper was gone but the photographers gave him the chance to reach out to people again.

Posted by: Kerri and Julia at November 22, 2013 11:06 AM

Allison Knipe
Vera Smirnova
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Passage: 5. The senator had only one argument in his favor: his feeling. When the heart speaks, the
mind finds it indecent to object. In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme.

This passage is not dialogue, so there is nobody speaking or being spoken to. The narrator is explaining the Senator's feelings for his children. The Senator took Sabina for a drive and brought his kids. The narrator asks, "How did the senator know that children meant happiness?" (Kundera 131). His only argument was the feeling in his heart. This relates back to the theme of body and soul. His heart was stronger than his mind. This is very significant to the novel because it shows eternal recurrence.

Posted by: Allison Knipe at November 22, 2013 11:13 AM

Matt Nicholson-Lewis, Regina Green
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and desire in literature
22 November, 2013

Question #7: Tereza’s dream reveals the true function of Kitsch: kitsch is a folding screen set up to the curtain off death.

The narrator is speaking during the quote, and the readers are being addressed. The context of the passage is humility as the people in her dream die in a humiliating way. The function of kitsch is something that leads to death. It emphasizes how she feels about the experiences of her past life.

Posted by: Matt Nicholson-Lewis, Regina Green at November 22, 2013 11:13 AM

Allison Knipe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question: 172. PART VII: When, according to the narrator, can true “human goodness, in all its purity and
freedom” come “to the fore”? What does this mean?

The narrator states that true human goodness can only come, "when its recipient has no power" (Kundera 150). This means that the true moral test is by mankind's attitude toward those who are at your mercy, he uses the example "animals". This shows true human goodness.

Posted by: Allison Knipe at November 22, 2013 11:17 AM

Dana DeLosa
Diego Pestana
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01: Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Quotation: #8 “How can it be that leftist intellectuals (because the doctor with the mustache was nothing if not a leftist intellectual) are willing to march against the interests of a Communist country when Communism has always been considered the left’s domain?” (Kundera 137).

1). Identify who is speaking, if applicable:
-The narrator is speaking
2). Identify who is being spoken to, if applicable:
-The reader is being spoken too.
3).Explicate the context of the passage:
-The passage takes place during the political display in Bangkok involving the “four hundred and seventy doctors, intellectuals, and reporters” (Kundera 136).
4). Speculate/expound on any possible meanings of the passage
-The meaning of this quotation is to reveal the political contradictions in novel. The leftists which classically support communism, “are willing to march against the interests of a Communist country” (Kundera 137).
5). Speculate/expound on any significance to the overall narrative, thus far.
-This passage reflects on the political theme which has been prominent throughout the novel. All the characters have been persecuted for their political beliefs, particularly Tomas. This quotation shows that the present political system is contradictory because there the leftists do not support their own political regime.

Posted by: Dana DeLosa at November 22, 2013 11:32 AM

Dana DeLosa
Dr Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01: Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question: “PART VI: The narrator says that people “all need someone to look at” them and that everyone “can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under.” Identify and summarize the FIRST category, spoken of by the narrator. In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.”

Answer: Individuals who desire the “look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes” compose the first category (Kundera 141). A person from the first category can best be equated with the people who constantly desire to be in the limelight. These individuals are obsessed with constantly being followed by the paparazzi and being a household name.

Posted by: Dana DeLosa at November 22, 2013 11:48 AM

Jocelyne Hilary & Jen Schubin
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature

22nd November 203

Question: Part VI: “We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under.” Discuss & explain the third category.

Answer:The third category describes being the center of attention in your beloved’s eyes. It can be rooted from feeling of insecurity, which in the case of this novel Tereza has inner conflict in regards to her self body image. The narrator mentions that Tereza and Tomas both belong to the third category, it is mentioned that this category is dangerous because one day you may no longer be “constantly before the eyes of the person (pg 41)” you love. The fear of this is unfortunately inevitable for Tereza, since Tomas does close his eyes on their relationship through his cheating and attempts to get rid of her.

Posted by: jocelyne Hilary at November 22, 2013 12:04 PM

Monica Guirguis
Aye Kendria
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013
Group # 6
Question:
Those who live in society where various political tendencies exist side by side and competing influences cancel or limit one another can manage more or less to escape the kitsch inquisition: the individual can preserve his individuality; the artist can create unusual works. But whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch.

Answer: The person speaking is the narrator talking about the kitsch and he is speaking to the reader and its being spoken to Sabina. The explicate context of the passage is that power is the key in kitsch and the enemy of kitsch is beauty. The possible meanings that could be given in this passage is that there is an enemy of someone in the government or even something that is just ugly to everyone in society. The significance of the overall novel is that all have the enemy of kitsch in inside of them weather its a person or an object. whenever something gains power it instantly becomes totalitarian kitsch meaning that the power is good while the rest becomes nothing(shit).

Posted by: Monica & Aye'Kendria at November 22, 2013 12:16 PM

Rache Robinson and Jasmine Charlton
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

8. How can it be that leftist intellectuals (because the doctor with the mustache was nothing if not a leftist intellectual) are willing to march against the interests of a Communist country when Communism has always been considered the left’s domain?

Answer: Since the Soviet Union became too scandalous, it gave leftist intellectuals two choices: to spit on their former lives and stop marching or to reclassify the Soviet Union as a threat to the Grand March (Kundera 261). The reason why they do it is because what makes a leftist intellectual is their absolute denial of the Grand March or like the text states “the kitsch of the Grand March”(Kundera 261). Another reason they go against the Grand March is because left intellectuals’ identity has nothing to do with politics, but instead images, metaphors, and vocabulary (Kundera 261).

Posted by: Rache Robinson at November 22, 2013 12:19 PM

Joe Rulli, Stephanie Gilbert
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question 3: (Feces) is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man's crimes. The responsibility for (feces), however, rests entirely with Him, the Creator of man.

Answer: Kundera is speaking to the reader in this passage in part 6 chapter 3. What Kundera is trying to get through to the reader is this: should we accept the fact that God is perfect or is he just like us in a way, and not perfect. If God has a mouth, he has intestines, then he also poops, so why is He more powerful than us? And if he is not more powerful than us, are we the same as him and should not praise him? Kundera makes a good point, but this is also all just speculation.

Posted by: Joe Rulli at November 22, 2013 12:36 PM

Morgan Salter and Cheyenne DeMaggio
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
2 December 2013

Question: Sabina’s initial inner revolt against Communism was aesthetic rather than ethical in character

Answer: The narrator of the story is the person speaking in the following excerpt: “Sabina’s inner revolt against Communism was aesthetic rather than ethical in character” (Kundera 130). In this quotation, the narrator is addressing the reader, giving insight into Sabina’s character and feelings toward the Communist government. The passage is identifying Sabina’s internal hatred for the government, not for their policies and action they are taking, but due to the façade they display for society. She revolts against the institution because they paint a picture of a perfect society when in reality, life is just the opposite. In a way, this system of illusion is a “Communist kitsch”. This passage could possibly be meant to give a deeper comprehension of Sabina’s true nature, while simultaneously highlighting the irony in her infatuation with betrayal and hatred of being betrayal and lied to by the government.

Posted by: Morgan Salter Cheyenne DeMaggio at November 22, 2013 02:57 PM

Morgan Salter
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
2 December 2013

Question: Why, according to the narrator, did Tereza feel “abandoned” at the thought of “a future without Karenin”? What specific concept/s did Karenin represent for her (discussed previously by the narrator)? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: According to the narrator, Tereza felt abandoned at the thought of a future without Karenin because her dog was the only being that she had grown to truly care for. Tereza’s love for Karenin was entirely selfless, never expecting anything in return from the animal but company and companionship. Tereza was also able to accept Karenin at face value, “she did not try to make him over in her image; she agreed from the outset with his dog’s life, did not wish to deprive him of it, did not envy him his secret intrigues” (Kundera 156). Instead, Tereza sought to mutually communicate and live together. She also felt uniquely attached to the animal because no person had ever forced Tereza to love Karenin like they had demanded she love and respect her family growing up, it was an action of pure independence. Lastly, and most importantly, Tereza’s relationship with Karenin represented the gift of heaven believing that animals were the only beings never to be rejected from Paradise. Tereza felt that the love existing between her and Karenin was perfect, never having disagreements or conflict. In essence, loving Karenin was the simplest and purest thing Tereza ever did in her lifetime.

Posted by: Morgan Salter at November 22, 2013 03:55 PM

Jasmine Charlton
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
22 November 2013

Question: Part VII: If you don’t know who Rene Descartes is, take a minute to google him and fill in the gaps of your knowledge. In particular, be sure you are familiar with the term “machine animata.” Why, according to the narrator, has the world proven “Descartes correct”? In your answer, quote snippets form the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

Answer: In chapter, seven Descartes made a drastic step forward and according to the text he made “man maitre et proprietaire de la nature” [Kundera 288]. Descartes deemed men as master and proprietor and denied animals a soul as portrayed on page 288 of the text. The narrator said the world is proving him correct after Tereza got attached to naming the cows and shortly after the village turned into a large collective factory, and the cows were treated like machines or tools instead of animals like Descartes claimed.

Posted by: jasmine Charlton at November 22, 2013 10:56 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question 178: What humorous thing did Tereza do to Karenin when he [she] had his [her] monthly cycle? In this part, the narrator asks the question, “Why is it that a dog's menstruation made her lighthearted and gay, while her own menstruation made her squeamish?” What is the narrator’s answer to this question?

Answer: During Karenin's period, Tereza make a menstruation pad with a "wad of absorbent cotton between his legs and pull a pair of old panties over it, skillfully tying them to his body with a long ribbon" (296). Karenin does not know about the soul or body; thus she has "no concept of disgust" (297). The dog is innocent of human failings.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at November 23, 2013 12:03 AM

Stephanie Gilbert
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210-CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
24, November 2013


Part VII: What is a “priori”? This is a course about love and we save most of the discussion about man’s love for other species for this particular novel. According to the narrator how was the love between Terza and Karnin different than the love between her and Thomas? Which one was better? Which one was bigger? (Two separate questions) Why (for each)? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence but explain in your own words.

The love between Tereza and Kernin was different in that they both not only could in a way relate to one another, but they also had a mutual respect, as well, for one another. Tereza and Thomas did not have that mutual respect, therefore, it not only was there downfall but hurt their relationship through the body and soul. I think that Kernin’s love for Tereza was a better relationship not only for Tereza but for Kernin, as well. I could tell that there was a big difference between the two relationships because Kundera made a point about pointing out the fact that Tereza immediately starts digging a grave after Kernin her dog dies. I think that Thomas’s love for Tereza was less because they did not have mutual respect for one another.

Posted by: Stephanie Gilbert at November 24, 2013 10:48 AM

Stephanie Gilbert
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210-CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
24, November 2013


Part VII: What is a “priori”? This is a course about love and we save most of the discussion about man’s love for other species for this particular novel. According to the narrator how was the love between Terza and Karnin different than the love between her and Thomas? Which one was better? Which one was bigger? (Two separate questions) Why (for each)? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence but explain in your own words.

The love between Tereza and Kernin was different in that they both not only could in a way relate to one another, but they also had a mutual respect, as well, for one another. Tereza and Thomas did not have that mutual respect, therefore, it not only was there downfall but hurt their relationship through the body and soul. I think that Kernin’s love for Tereza was a better relationship not only for Tereza but for Kernin, as well. I could tell that there was a big difference between the two relationships because Kundera made a point about pointing out the fact that Tereza immediately starts digging a grave after Kernin her dog dies. I think that Thomas’s love for Tereza was less because they did not have mutual respect for one another.

Posted by: Stephanie Gilbert at November 24, 2013 10:49 AM

Kaitlin Millner and McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire
22 November 2013

Group Work Question #2

Question: Spontaneously, without any theological training, I a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and [feces] and thus came to question the basic thesis of Christian anthropology, namely, that man was created in God’s image.
Answer: The narrator in part six question two is the narrator talking to the readers. The main plot of this section is whether or not God is created in one mans image. The narrator does not understand if man was created in God’s image or if God is the human figure. He wants s clear image of who God is because according to the reading, “ Either/or: either man was created in God’s image- and God had intestines! Or God lacks intestines and man is not like Him.”

Posted by: kaitlin Millner at November 24, 2013 02:58 PM

Kaitlin Millner and McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire
22 November 2013

Group Work Question #2

Question: Spontaneously, without any theological training, I a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and [feces] and thus came to question the basic thesis of Christian anthropology, namely, that man was created in God’s image.
Answer: The narrator in part six question two is the narrator talking to the readers. The main plot of this section is whether or not God is created in one mans image. The narrator does not understand if man was created in God’s image or if God is the human figure. He wants s clear image of who God is because according to the reading, “ Either/or: either man was created in God’s image- and God had intestines! Or God lacks intestines and man is not like Him.”

Posted by: kaitlin Millner at November 24, 2013 02:58 PM

Vanessa Parkin
Zarin Hamid
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
24 November 2013

Question 4) Sabina’s initial inner revolt against Communism was aesthetic rather than ethical in character.

On page 248, the narrator is speaking to the reader. The passage explains the reasoning behind Sabina’s rebellious ways against Communism. Sabina is following a trend rather than revolting against Communism. She is not rebelling for her own person moral standards, “ What repelled her was not nearly so much the ugliness of the Communist world ( ruined castles transformed into cow sheds) as the mask of beauty it tried to wear – in other words, Communist Kitsch.” (Kundera 248) The significance of the passage makes an example of Sabina by explaining how she is a follower of the crowd.

Posted by: Vanessa Parkin at November 24, 2013 05:29 PM

Salvatore Christlieb and Destiny Hubbard
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
Dr. Hobbs
24 November 2013

Question: If rejection and privilege are one and the same, if there is no difference between the sublime and the paltry, if the Son of God can undergo judgment for [feces], then human existence loses its dimensions and becomes unbearably light.

Answer: It is clear that the narrator is speaking as no character name is mentioned within this close reading passage. Furthermore, no character is being spoken to. This passage explains that everything is equal, it is bad. Without dichotomy or dimensions, feces hit the fan. This passage referred to “Stalin’s son” (Kundera Loc 2943). It was leading in to how Stalin’s son committed suicide and compared him to Christ. Stalin’s son in the heavenly Soviet Union was treated like Christ but, committed a terrible act instead. In this light, Stalin’s son’s suicide can be argued as good or bad but, it was crazy for the Soviet citizens to hear about. So when news got around, everyone in the world was shocked because the dimensions of the Soviet Union were broken down. It seems that the narrator is bringing reality to this novel because no one is better than anyone else in this novel. That is how this passage pertains to the rest of this text and without this passage, the story would never be able to end because a side would be chosen for the characters.
References
Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

Posted by: Salvatore Christlieb at November 24, 2013 08:10 PM

Kaitlin Millner and McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire
22 November 2013

Group Work Question #2

Question: Spontaneously, without any theological training, I a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and [feces] and thus came to question the basic thesis of Christian anthropology, namely, that man was created in God’s image.
Answer: The narrator in part six question two is the narrator talking to the readers. The main plot of this section is whether or not God is created in one mans image. The narrator does not understand if man was created in God’s image or if God is the human figure. He wants s clear image of who God is because according to the reading, “ Either/or: either man was created in God’s image- and God had intestines! Or God lacks intestines and man is not like Him.”

Posted by: kaitlin Millner at November 25, 2013 08:22 AM

Kaitlin Millner and McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire
22 November 2013

Group Work Question #2

Question: Spontaneously, without any theological training, I a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and [feces] and thus came to question the basic thesis of Christian anthropology, namely, that man was created in God’s image.
Answer: The narrator in part six question two is the narrator talking to the readers. The main plot of this section is whether or not God is created in one mans image. The narrator does not understand if man was created in God’s image or if God is the human figure. He wants s clear image of who God is because according to the reading, “ Either/or: either man was created in God’s image- and God had intestines! Or God lacks intestines and man is not like Him.”

Posted by: kaitlin Millner at November 25, 2013 08:22 AM

Kaitlin Millner and McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire
22 November 2013

Group Work Question #2

Question: Spontaneously, without any theological training, I a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and [feces] and thus came to question the basic thesis of Christian anthropology, namely, that man was created in God’s image.
Answer: The narrator in part six question two is the narrator talking to the readers. The main plot of this section is whether or not God is created in one mans image. The narrator does not understand if man was created in God’s image or if God is the human figure. He wants s clear image of who God is because according to the reading, “ Either/or: either man was created in God’s image- and God had intestines! Or God lacks intestines and man is not like Him.”

Posted by: Kaitlin Millner at November 25, 2013 08:23 AM

Kerriann Salatti
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
25 November 2013

Question: 182. According to Tereza what conclusion does she reach about the meaning/definition of happiness?

Answer: “In any case, Tereza was happy and felt that she had at last reached her goal: she and Thomas were together and alone.” (282)
“It is a completely selfless love: Tereza did not want anything of Karenin.” (297)
“Yes, happiness is the longing for repetition.” (298)
Tereza seems to go back and forth in her belief for love and happiness. She wanted to have control over Tomas and have him to herself. She realizes that that is not love, she find love with her dog Karenin who she shows selfless love towards and from. Happiness comes from repetition and knowing that things are going to happy and finding security in that.

Posted by: Kerriann Salatti at November 25, 2013 09:25 AM

Connor Schaefer
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL- CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question: Explain why “the remains of Old Town hall” reminded Tereza of her mother. What does one have to do with the other? Why is the information that is revealed in this comparison, significant for the readers’ understanding of Tereza’s character?

Answer: Seeing the ruins of the town hall reminded Tereza of her mother. The town decided to leave the ruins of the building there because they did not want any Pole or German to think they did not suffer from the war. The town was asking for attention by leaving the ruins of the town hall. They wanted people to see the building. This is what reminded Tereza of her mother. She thinks her mother is the same way because she always tried to stick out and get people’s attention. Kundera states, “Gazing at the remains of Old Town Hall, Tereza was suddenly reminded of her mother: that perverse need one has to expose one’s ruins, one’s ugliness, to parade one’s misery, to uncover the stump of one’s amputated arm and force the whole world to look at it”(136). This quote explains what Tereza see the town hall as. She thinks her mother acts the same way as in the sense of she wants people to notice her. This shows that Tereza’s character has trouble letting go of the past. It also shows how she is judgmental. She needs to let her experiences with her mother go. Overall, the old town hall reminds Tereza of her mother.

Posted by: Connor Schaefer at November 26, 2013 03:50 PM

Jennifer Schubin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
November 26, 2013

Question: What is “conjugal”? Why did Franz consider Sabina’s refusal to go with him to a foreign city, “a self-inflicted punishment”? What things are symbolic for Franz and why are they “inviolable”? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Franz thinks that Sabina is punishing him “for having married another woman” (Kundera, 83). In Franz eyes, conjugal means the bed and home he shares with his wife. Franz is saying that the word means respect. The book states, “That was why he wished to separate the bed he slept in with his wife as far as possible in space from the bed he made love in with his mistress” (Kundera, 84). This shows that Franz does not consider the relations between him and Sabina to be not conjugal. The “misunderstood word darkness” symbolizes Franz because he would close his eyes while making love to Sabina as though to shut her out of his thoughts.

Posted by: Jennifer Schubin at November 26, 2013 05:52 PM

Erica Bodden
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
26 November 2013


Question: In your own words, paraphrase or summarize Tereza’s dream. What did the dream cause Tomas to recall the next day?

Answer: The terrifying nightmare Tereza had involved watching Tomas and his lover Sabina makes love. This dream was invoked from the letters she previously found in Tomas possessions. Like any curious girlfriend, snooping is to be expected. What Tereza found was something that would break any girls heart; love letters from another woman. In the letter the words “I want to make love to you in my studio”(Kundera, 16) was more than an answer for Tomas’s infidelity. After his denial of the letters he finally confesses. He then decides to lessen the amount of sexual partners while intoxicated.

Posted by: Erica Bodden at November 27, 2013 12:28 AM

Erica Bodden
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
26 November 2013


Question: In your own words, paraphrase or summarize Tereza’s dream. What did the dream cause Tomas to recall the next day?

Answer: The terrifying nightmare Tereza had involved watching Tomas and his lover Sabina makes love. This dream was invoked from the letters she previously found in Tomas possessions. Like any curious girlfriend, snooping is to be expected. What Tereza found was something that would break any girls heart; love letters from another woman. In the letter the words “I want to make love to you in my studio”(Kundera, 16) was more than an answer for Tomas’s infidelity. After his denial of the letters he finally confesses. He then decides to lessen the amount of sexual partners while intoxicated.

Posted by: Erica Bodden at November 27, 2013 12:28 AM

Erica Bodden
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
26 November 2013


Question: What did the narrator mean when s/he wrote, that the “bowler hat was a motif in the musical composition that was Sabina's life.” How might this, in any way, be connected to the idea of eternal recurrence already introduced in Part One

Answer: The Bowler hat was a symbol of reoccurrence. The bowler played significant role in Sabina’s life, “It had returned again and again each time with a different meaning”(Kundera, 88). The first appearance of the bowler is from Sabina’s grandfather. The hat then moved into her love life with Tomas. She used it as a sex toy. Each time the hat retuned with another meaning and another purpose. Ultimately the hat came to symbolize Sabina’s love for betrayal.

The bowler hat is connected to the eternal reoccurrence in the same manner in which we have no control of what happens or what fate awaits us. Everything happens and continues to happen. Therefore is there any way to escape our destined fate.

Posted by: Erica Bodden at November 27, 2013 12:46 AM

Erica Bodden
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
26 November 2013


Question: Explain the bizarre situation with the crow that Tereza found? What was happening when she arrived at the scene. How did this little subplot play out? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.


Answer: Upon walking home from shopping Tereza and her dog found a wounded crow. The crow had suffered a major attack from some very bad children. The crow had been pelted with rocks leaving it with an injured wing. Tereza pulls the bird from the ground, “ She knelt down and scratched away at the dirt. At least she succeeded in pulling the crow out of its grave”(Kundera, 159). Tereza recused the crow because she saw herself in it. Like the injured bird she was also weak and alone. As she watched the crow, “She saw a reflection of her own fate, and she repeated several times to herself, I have no one left in the world but Tomas”(Kundera,159).

Posted by: Erica Bodden at November 27, 2013 01:14 AM

Erica Bodden
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
26 November 2013


Question: Stalin’s son suffered, apparently, from both rejection and privilege, says the narrator. If the two seemingly different concepts are, as the narrator suggests, “one and the same,” then what follows? What are the consequences for this line of reasoning? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: If privilege and rejection are one of the same then Death only follows. These two are contradictory concepts. Like oil and vinegar the two don’t mix. The narrator states “Rejection and privilege, happiness and woe- no one felt more concretely than Yakov how interchangeable opposites are”(Kundera,244). Stalin’s son was privilege because he was the son of Stalin. However he was not loved or respected only tolerated because of his status. After being captured by the Germans young Stalin’s life changed. He was still highly regarded but even his status had a price because no one liked him. Young Stalin killed himself over shit. Being of higher status he felt his shit should be endured by everyone but that ended up costing him his life.

Posted by: Erica Bodden at November 27, 2013 01:25 AM

Erica Bodden
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
27 November 2013


Question: What is a “premonition”? What was the “little article” that Tereza read about and why, according to the narrator, was it “a premonition of things to come? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words


Answer: A premonition is a strong feeling that something is about to happen. The narrator tells the story of Genesis. He explains how man was created with dominion over animals. Descartes stated man as the owners of the earth and animals as just vessels to control, “Man is master proprietor, says Descartes, and whereareas the beast is merely an automaton, animated machine”(Kundera, 288). These words are like a premonition for Tereza. She remembered reading that all the dogs in Russian cities had been shot. The Russians seized the opportunity to use this as a source of power. They allowed animals to be practice tools in order to gain strength.

Posted by: Erica Bodden at November 27, 2013 08:45 PM

Vera Smirnova
Dr. Hobbs
ENG CL-210 Love and Desire in Literature-CA01
28 November 2013

Question #22: What does the word “cat” mean in Czech slang? What does this have to do with Tereza? Working with this “cat” theory, how does the narrator claim that Tereza’s dreams should be interpreted, and why?

Answer: In Czech slang, the world cat means a pretty woman. In Tereza's dream cats were jumping at her and scratching her skin. It is a dichotomy of soul and body that plays an important role in a portray of Tereza's character. Tereza's mother was convincing her that all bodies are the same. As she fell in love with Tomas, she tried to feel like her body is unique and different, but he would cheat on her and make her feel as her mother did. Cats represent other women, which she sees as prettier women. They jump on her body. They wound her body. She feels wounded and powerless in real life.

Posted by: Vera Smirnova at November 28, 2013 03:36 PM

Vera Smirnova
Dr. Hobbs
ENG CL-210 Love and Desire in Literature -CA01
28 November 2013

Question #27: When, according to the narrator, did “the body” start giving mankind less trouble? Why, exactly?

Answer: Long time ago, people did not know much about their bodies. "Ever since man has learned to give each part of the body a name, the body has given him less trouble". (Kundera 40)

Posted by: Vera Smirnova at November 28, 2013 03:42 PM

Vera Smirnova
Dr. Hobbs
ENG CL-210 Love and Desire in Literature-CA01
28 November 2013

Question #74: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “CEMETERY” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: "For Franz a cemetery was an ugly dump of stones and bones" (Kundera 104). For Sabina the cemetery is a place to go when she felt low. She loved Prague's cemeteries. In France she did not like them so well though. After Tomas and Tereza died she went to the cemetery in France. She was frustrated and scared of the way they bury the dead with stones. They both saw it in a different way. Franz thought of music as his help through the hard time, but Sabina loved silence more. The cemetery is a silent place where she would come for consolation.

Posted by: vera.smirnova at November 28, 2013 03:52 PM

Ashley Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
29 November 2013
Question 121
PART V: What is tragicomedy? What is the tragicomic “fact” mentioned by the narrator, and why is it tragicomic? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer:
A tragicomedy is a drama that contains both comedy and tragedy. The narrator states, “It is a tragicomic fact that our proper upbringing has become an ally of the secret police.” (Kundera 96) This means that because people were brought up not to lie but to tell the truth they end up with the inability to lie and if they do lie, they feel guilty about it.

Posted by: Ashley Johnson at November 29, 2013 04:14 PM

Jocelyne Hilary & Jen Schubin
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature

29th November 203

Question: Part VII: Why according to the narrator’s understanding of Descartes, is an animal not really lamenting when it appears to be lamenting? What does this have to do with Karenin, the cows, and the story thus far?

Answer: The narrator uses Decartes’ idea that since man is in charge of nature, he is superior to animals. Descartes did not see animals as our equivalent. Furthermore, it is mentioned that animals don’t have souls and for this reason they should be grieved over. Thus, we have no reason to grieve for a dog being carved up alive in the laboratory (pg 149).”In relation to Karenin, this is significant, because Tereza loved Karenin. On the contrary she thought that animals especially her dog portrayed a purer love than any human is capable of. The love between Tereza and Karenin is a contrast to hers and Tomas’ love.

Posted by: Jocelyne Hilary at November 29, 2013 11:19 PM

Vera Smirnova
Dr. Hobbs
ENG CL-210 Love and Desire in Literature-CA01
28 November 2013

Question #122: What “offer” did the man from the Ministry make to Tomas regarding the loss of his job? Why did the offer seem worse to Tomas than that which was made to him by the chief surgeon, two years earlier? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: A man from the Ministry gave Tomas a paper to sign. It was an explanation to his article about Communists and Oedipus. "Tomas read what was in it and panicked. It was much worse than what the chief surgeon had asked him to sign two years before" (Kundera 190). In that paper there where words of love for the Soviet Union. He understood that they needed him not for the public explanation, but to get something against editors of the magazine that published Tomes' article. Tomas did not want to put anyone in danger.

Posted by: vera.smirnova at November 30, 2013 11:42 AM

Kelly Scott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
6 November 2013

Question: Explain Tomas’ “rule of threes.” For what reason did Tomas implement this rule? What is its purpose?

Answer: Tomas’ rule of threes is, “Either you see a woman three times in quick succession and then never again, or you maintain relations over the years but make sure that the rendezvous are at least three weeks apart” (Kundera, 12). He constructed this rule to be sure that his “erotic flings” never transformed into a love relationship. Following this method, Tomas could engage in unmarried love affairs with woman while engaging in many other short affairs with several women at the same time.

Posted by: Kelly Scott at November 30, 2013 11:45 AM

Kelly Scott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 November 2013

Question: What, according to the narrator, is Tereza’s “secret vice”? Why is it a vice? How does it hurt her? How does it help her? What is her chief conflict when it comes to the root issue behind this vice?

Answer: In Part II, Tereza’s vice is described as, “Tereza tried to see herself through her body. That is why, from girlhood on, she would stand before the mirror so often. And because she was afraid her mother would catch her at it, every peek into the mirror had a tinge of secret vice” (Kundera, 41). This is a vice because it is a battle with her mother. Her mother was crude, self-loving, and shameless.

Posted by: Kelly Scott at November 30, 2013 11:47 AM

Jalisa Lowe
Ashely Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: [Feces] is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man’s crimes. The responsibility for [feces], however, rests entirely with Him, the Creator of man.

Answer: The narrator is speaking to the reader/audience about the existence about God. The narrator states that, as a young boy, he saw pictures of God, “he was an old man with eyes, nose, and a long beard, and I would say to myself that if He had a mouth, He had to eat. And if He ate, He had intestines” (Kundera 245). Since God eats and drinks, does that mean he is human since he has to poop? If God gets hungry does that mean, he is not perfect. God gave man free will as they please, but is feces something we can control. So is feces fate or free will? I believe these are the all the questions that the narrator are looking for answers to. All throughout the novel it says we are body and soul, so if humans were created in Gods image is he also body and soul. How is God just soul if humans are not? Either God is not just soul, or humans were not created in his image.

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at November 30, 2013 06:20 PM

Jalisa Lowe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Why, according to the narrator, did Tereza come to the conclusion that there is “no particular merit in being nice to one’s fellow man”? Why did she do so, anyway? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

Answer: While Tereza was rubbing Karenin, she concluded, “there is no particular merit in being nice to one’s fellow man” (Kundera 289). In order to live comfortable Tereza is nice and respects other people. She respects the people in her village in order to continue to live there. She is also nice to Tomas because she needs him in her life. She has no one besides Tomas and Karenin. The narrator states, “man-kind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals” (Kundera 289). Human’s true test is not to respect each other, but animals. Humans true reward is not with each other, but with animals.

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at November 30, 2013 06:28 PM

Kelly Scott
Paula Pion
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 November 2013

Question: Identify who is speaking, identify who is being spoken to, explicate the context of the passage, speculate any possible meanings of the passage, and speculate on any significance to the overall narrative. “The senator had only one argument in his favor: his feeling. When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object. In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme.”

Answer: The narrator is “speaking” to the reader in this passage. Sabina is one who more clearly relates to individualism. Kitsch is her enemy. She is true to her feelings, and listens to her heart, which is most supreme. Sabina sees this when the senator smiles at the children. The senator stated, “’Just look at them.’ And describing a circle with his arm, a circle that was meant to take in stadium, grass, and children, he added, ‘Now, that’s what I call happiness’” (Kundera, 250). The narrator then questions how the senator knew the children meant happiness and if he could see into their souls. It is then stated that he has in favor of his argument his feelings. The mind does not interfere with the heart when it speaks. In kitsch, the heart dictates and “reigns supreme.” Kitsch is explained as, “Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see the children running on the grass! The second tears says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass” (Kundera, 251). Kitsch is shown in the second tear, and is also described as “Kitsch is the aesthetic ideal of all politicians and all political parties and movements” (Kundera, 251). This is why individualistic people are opposed to a “kitsch lifestyle.”

Posted by: Kelly Scott at November 30, 2013 09:19 PM

Kelly Scott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
12 November 2013

Question: The narrator writes, “Though a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, she was not allowed
to paint like Picasso.” For this question, (a.) Who is the “painter” that the narrator is referring to?
(b.) Why couldn’t the painter paint in a cubist or non-objective way?

Answer: The painter is Sabina. She was not allowed to paint like Picasso because, “It was a period when so-called socialist realism was prescribed and the school manufactured portraits of Communist statesmen” (Kundera, 91). The way the government ruled, Sabina was not allowed to paint in the manner she wanted to. In her case, she wanted to paint as a cubist or non-objective style.

Posted by: Kelly Scott at November 30, 2013 09:37 PM

Kelly Scott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
13 November 2013

Question: What did Tomas do to gain “a bit of time” with the secret police and their insistence that he submit a retraction? Why did he want more time? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: In part five, the narrator states, “By giving the police the hope that he would write a text of his own, he gained a bit of time” (Kundera, 192). Tomas did not want the newspaper to publish a statement with his name that was not written by him. He knew that people of the town thrived off of humiliation of others. Therefore, he did not want others to feel as if a statement was genuine if it was not in fact written by himself. He did not want to be humiliated in front of everyone.

Posted by: Kelly Scott at November 30, 2013 09:53 PM

Kelly Scott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
22 November 2013

Question: What is an “idyll”? How does the narrator explain the concept? Why, according to the narrator, can no “one give anyone else the gift of the idyll”?

Answer: Idyll was explained as, “Raised as we are on the mythology of the Old Testament, we might say that an idyll is an image that has remained with us like a memory of Paradise: life in Paradise was not like following a straight line to the unknown; it was not an adventure. It moved in a circle among known objects. It’s monotony bred happiness, not boredom” (Kundera, 295). Idyll is an extraordinary place that seems somewhat unattainable because of how perfect it is. The narrator explains that no one can give the gift of the idyll except for animals. People are not forced to love animals, rather that love is voluntary. For example, Tereza followed the imperative to love her father and mother, but she voluntarily loved Karenin. Animals were the only creatures that were not “expelled” from the idyll, or Paradise. There are never problems in the love that animals share with people, and that itself is idyllic.

Posted by: Kelly Scott at November 30, 2013 10:30 PM

Kelly Scott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
15 November 2013

Question: What, according to the narrator, truly “makes a leftist a leftist”? What does this have to do with Franz?

Answer: In part six, the narrator states, “What makes a leftist a leftist is not this or that theory but his ability to integrate any theory into the kitsch called the Grand March” (Kundera, 257). Franz was enthralled with the idea of the Grand March. The narrator also explains, “The fantasy of The Grand March that Franz was so intoxicated by is the political kitsch joining leftists of all times and tendencies” (Kundera, 257). It is believed that the Grand March will lead to happiness and serve as a unity to brotherhood. Franz was not devoted to kitsch. Franz did not vote for a political party, rather he spent his time hiking in the mountains dreaming of The Grand March. He never gave up on that idea.

Posted by: Kelly Scott at November 30, 2013 10:54 PM

Kaitlin Millner
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL-Love and Desire in Literature
1 December 2013

18. PART I: Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. What does “corpus delicti” mean? Explain what the narrator means when he writes, speaking of Tomas, that “spending the night together was the corpus delicti of love.”

Answer: He wanted to be able to watch over her, protect her, enjoy her presence, but felt no need to change his way of life. He was an insomniac and found it impossible to fall sleep in close proximity to another person. He wanted to keep Tereza a secret mistress. (Part 1 Chapter6).

Posted by: kaitlin.millner at December 1, 2013 05:34 PM

Kaitlin Millner
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL-Love and Desire in Literature
1 December 2013

18. PART I: Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. What does “corpus delicti” mean? Explain what the narrator means when he writes, speaking of Tomas, that “spending the night together was the corpus delicti of love.”

Answer: He wanted to be able to watch over her, protect her, enjoy her presence, but felt no need to change his way of life. He was an insomniac and found it impossible to fall sleep in close proximity to another person. He wanted to keep Tereza a secret mistress. (Part 1 Chapter6).

Posted by: kaitlin.millner at December 1, 2013 05:34 PM

Kaitlin Millner
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL-Love and Desire in Literature
1 December 2013

18. PART I: Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. What does “corpus delicti” mean? Explain what the narrator means when he writes, speaking of Tomas, that “spending the night together was the corpus delicti of love.”

Answer: He wanted to be able to watch over her, protect her, enjoy her presence, but felt no need to change his way of life. He was an insomniac and found it impossible to fall sleep in close proximity to another person. He wanted to keep Tereza a secret mistress. (Part 1 Chapter6).

Posted by: Kaitlin Millner at December 1, 2013 05:34 PM

Kaitlin Millner
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL-Love and Desire in Literature
1 December 2013

30. PART II Body and Soul: Explain the concept of shame in Tereza’s childhood home? Did it exist? Why, or why not? Who did it exist for and why? Who did it NOT exist for and why?

Answer: The concept of shame in Tereza’s childhood home is very poor memories. Tereza's mother who was a cruel and vulgar woman, was a beauty in her youth but married early because of pregnancy. She left her husband and young daughter to live with a scoundrel; after Tereza's father got into political trouble, Tereza was sent to live with her mother and stepfather. Her mother's beauty faded with three more children and the misery of her life, and she took out all of her frustration on her eldest daughter. Tereza's mother took pleasure in embarrassing and torturing the shy, unhappy girl. Tereza dropped out of high school early to take care of her mother and younger half-siblings. Her mother, attempting to combat the reality of her own faded beauty, paraded about the house naked, spoke in public about her sex life, and refused to allow Tereza to lock the bathroom door, to demonstrate that all human bodies were equal and natural

Posted by: Kaitlin Millner at December 1, 2013 05:45 PM

Kaitlin Millner
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL-Love and Desire in Literature
1 December 2013

108. PART V: What basic truth is overlooked by anyone “who thinks that the Communist regimes of Central Europe are exclusively the work of criminals”? Explain. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Tomas compared the Czech Communists to Oedipus. Like Oedipus, the Communists claim they did not know what they were doing, and could not foresee the consequences of their actions. Unlike Oedipus, however, t he Communists use their ignorance to absolve themselves of guilt, and remain in power. Tomas praised Oedipus for accepting responsibility for his actions, and faulted the Communists for using lack of knowledge to explain away wrongdoing

Posted by: kaitlin Millner at December 1, 2013 05:51 PM

Kaitlin Millner
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL-Love and Desire in Literature
1 December 2013

68. PART III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “MUSIC” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: According to the novel the word “compassion” means we cannot look on coolly as other suffer. In other words, I believe this word meaning is feeling bad for someone who is suffering.

Posted by: Kaitlin Millner at December 1, 2013 06:28 PM

Kaitlin Millner
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL-Love and Desire in Literature
1 December 2013

135. PART VI: If, as the Old Testament claims, “man was [literally] created in God’s image,” what problematic issues does the narrator run into when trying to imagine the nature of God? How can excrement and the Deity be incompatible? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The problem with knowing if man was created in God’s image is if man was created in God’s image then are we part God? Who and what is God? This always can relate back to part one chapter one “ everything recurs for a reason.” Does everything happen for a reason because God plans on doing things.

Posted by: kaitlin Millner at December 1, 2013 06:40 PM

Ashley Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
1 December 2013

Question 178
PART VII: What humorous thing did Tereza do to Karenin when he [she] had his [her] monthly cycle? In this part, the narrator asks the question, “Why is it that a dog's menstruation made her lighthearted and gay, while her own menstruation made her squeamish?” What is the narrator’s answer to this question? Explain. In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
In order from keeping Karenin from messing up the place with his monthly cycle, “Tereza
would put a wad of absorbent cotton between his legs and pull a pair of old panties over
it.”(Kundera 154) Tereza would laugh because Karenin would be walking around with a pair of old panties on for two weeks. The narrators answer to the question was that animals weren’t expelled from the kingdom of god. Therefore, Karenin being a dog had no need to feel disgusting during his cycle; he “had no concept of disgust.” ( Kundera 155)

Posted by: Ashley Johnson at December 1, 2013 07:54 PM

Matt Nicholson-Lewis
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and desire in literature
26 November, 2013


Question #34: What, according to the narrator, were books emblematic of? What did they represent to her? Explain the metaphor and what it has to do with Tomas.

Tereza thought books were emblematic of a “secret brotherhood” (Kundera 47), which automatically put people higher in her estimations. This was why she was immediately drawn to Tomas. She also liked books as props to. She thought “It differentiated her from others” (Kundera 48). This quote shows the importance of books through Kundera’s eyes, she does not only think that they are great to read, but she also thinks that just carrying one around make you look different to others in a good way.

Posted by: Matt Nicholson-Lewis, Regina Green at December 1, 2013 08:01 PM

Rache Robinson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
1 December 2013

Question: A character says, “. . . If it wasn't your choice, we can’t do it. We haven’t the right.” In this quotation, (a.) who is speaking to whom and (b.) to what is the speaker referring? Be specific and explain in your own words.

The speaker is a man with the rifle who is speaking to Teresa about her death. This quote means that the man is not allowed to kill her unless she decided that this was what she truly wanted. However, Teresa did not want this to happen, but Tomas wanted her to go to Petrin Hill. In Part IV, Tomas tells Teresa, “I understand you. I know what you want. I have taken care of everything. All you have to do is climb Petrin Hill” (Kundera 75). Teresa had no clue as to what Petrin Hill was, but Tomas assured her that she would find out once she arrived there. Little did she know that Petrin Hill was a place that people go to die by giving the permission of another individual to kill them.

Posted by: Rache Robinson at December 1, 2013 08:03 PM

Matt Nicholson-Lewis
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and desire in literature
26 November, 2013

Question #76: The narrator writes, “Marie-Ann began whistling a tune. The painter was speaking slowly and with great concentration and did not hear the whistling.” For this question (a.) Identify WHO Marie-Ann is and (b.) Why she was whistling.

Marie-Ann is the daughter of Franz, shown in the quote “Franz heard his eighteen-year-old daughter, Marie-Ann” (Kundera 106). She is whistling “Because I don’t like to hear people talk about politics” (Kundera 106), This is saying that she is bored with the conversation that she is having because she finds the topic rather dull.

Posted by: Matt Nicholson-Lewis, Regina Green at December 1, 2013 08:04 PM

Rache Robinson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
1 December 2013

Question:The end of part six compares and contrasts the deaths of two individuals. First, answer this question: What was the inscription that Marie-Claude had inscribed on her husband’s
tombstone? Then, answer this follow-up question: What was the meaning of the expression and
what was Marie-Claude’s reasoning for using it? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as
your evidence, but, explain in your own words.


The inscription that Marie-Claude had inscribed on her husband’s tombstone was, “A return after long wanderings.” The meaning of the expression is Franz came back to his wife’s side after straying away from his marriage. Marie-Claude’s reason for using it is that she knew of his infidelity and was happy when she thought Franz requested her at his bedside. In Part VI, Marie-Claude says, “And that pitiful little girl who caught him in her net! Why, she wasn't even pretty! (Did you see those enormous glasses she tried to hide behind?)” (Kundera 145). Marie-Claude also thought that Franz sought out death because of oppression of a mid-life crisis. The death of a human brings that individual back to the arms of God, which the religious meaning is of the inscription. In Part VI it states, “A RETURN AFTER LONG WANDERINGS was the inscription adorning the stone above Franz's grave. It can be interpreted in religious terms: the wanderings being our earthly existence, the return our return to God's embrace” (Kundera 144).

Posted by: Rache Robinson at December 1, 2013 08:04 PM

Matt Nicholson-Lewis
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and desire in literature
26 November, 2013

Question #148: What is “mawkish”? What, according to the narrator, “occasionally make its way into” Sabina’s “unbearable lightness of being” and where did it come from? How did it affect Sabina?

Mawkish is when you are overly sentimental about something. In this context it is about a song “about two shining windows” (Kundera 256). Sabina is touched by the song but thinks nothing of it as “She knew only too well that the song was a beautiful lie” (Kundera 256) Showing that once kitsch is recognized it “moves into the context of non-kitsch” which means, in this case, that it loses its power over the Sabina.

Posted by: matt Nicholson-Lewis, Regina Green at December 1, 2013 08:04 PM

39) Who is Francis of Assisi? What is a fortuity? What does the narrator mean when s/he writes "If a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi's shoulders." What is the narrator reffering to exactly?

Francis of Assisi was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone in 1182. Although he was never truly ordained, he is viewed as one of the most recognizable and respected religious figures in history. A fortuity is a chance occurrence. The narrator is saying that for a love to be considered a true love it has to take you by surprise. It is completely unexpected and knocks the wind out of you when you are with this person. It is all by chance and none of it is planned; only can that be a truly unforgettable love.

Posted by: Hector M. Rosario at December 1, 2013 10:58 PM

Hector M. Rosario
Professor B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
1 December 2013

39) Who is Francis of Assisi? What is a fortuity? What does the narrator mean when s/he writes "If a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi's shoulders." What is the narrator reffering to exactly?

Francis of Assisi was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone in 1182. Although he was never truly ordained, he is viewed as one of the most recognizable and respected religious figures in history. A fortuity is a chance occurrence. The narrator is saying that for a love to be considered a true love it has to take you by surprise. It is completely unexpected and knocks the wind out of you when you are with this person. It is all by chance and none of it is planned; only can that be a truly unforgettable love.

Posted by: Hector M. Rosario at December 1, 2013 10:59 PM

Hector M. Rosario
Professor B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
1 December 2013

58) What are "cupolas?" Explain the narrator's metaphor of cannonballs "suspended" in the air. What connection might the author be making here about the metaphor about lightness and weight?

A cupola is a small, dome-like structure on top of a building that is mainly used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air. The cannonballs "suspended" in the air relates to the metaphor because the narrator discussed lightness being a key factor. The lightness of weight causes the cannonballs to be "suspended" in the air.

Posted by: Hector M. Rosario at December 1, 2013 11:10 PM

Hector M. Rosario
Professor B. Lee Hobbs
ENG210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
1 December 2013

81) The narrator writes, "One might say that it is behavior leading another to believe that sexual intimacy is possible, while preventing that possibility from becoming a certainty. In other words, [this concept], is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee." What word or concept is the speaker here defining or referring to?

The speaker is defining the idea of flirting/flirtation. It is the only concept that lead on the idea of intimacy without promise of intimacy. It is a significant idea because of the role it plays in love. Flirting can be an inner call of desire or a play on the idea of love. It is oxymoronic yet hopeful for success.

Posted by: Hector M. Rosario at December 1, 2013 11:18 PM

Hector M. Rosario
Professor B. Lee Hobbs
ENG210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
1 December 2013

169) Who is Rene Descartes? What does the term :machine animata" mean? Why, according to Descartes, is an animal not really lamenting when it appears to be lamenting? What does this have to do with Karenin, the cows, and the story thus far?

Rene Descartes was born March 31, 1596 and is commonly known as the "Father of Modern Philosophy." He laid the foundation for rationalism and refused to adhere to previous philosophers authority. The term "machine animata" refers to an "animated machine" which is applied to soul less animals. The narrator's understanding of Descartes' "machine animata" is shown by his undermining of Descartes' extension of the Book of Genesis. He specifically refers to the line stating "man shall have dominion over animals." He uses this line to emphasize his idea that animals have no soul. It relates to the story because (for this example we will use the case of Tomas) women are viewed as nothing but pleasures and shall be thrown away when done with.

Posted by: Hector M. Rosario at December 1, 2013 11:31 PM

Alexia Chambers
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and desire in literature CA02
1 December 2013
Question:
167. PART VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What were the “words” used by the neighbor that struck Tereza “as less than friendly,” and why did she answer “without protest”? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer:
The neighbor notices there something wrong with the dog when Tereza tells her it has cancer and is about to cry she gets mad and yells “Don't tell me you're going to bawl your head off over a dog!” Tereza takes it as they find it weird to be sad over an animal but I can relate because I have two cats that I love and I would also be upset if someone said that to me

Posted by: Alexia Chambers at December 2, 2013 12:43 AM

Connor Schaefer
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CL- CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question: According to the narrator, who was the son of Stalin, and how did he die? When was it that Czechs were able to find out this information? What does the narrator mean when s/he says, “how short the step from one pole of human existence to another”? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

Answer: The son of Stalin’s name was Yakov. During World War II, Yakov was captured by German soldiers and was places in a camp with British soldiers. He died by killing himself. He jumped into an electrified barbed-wired fence that surrounded the camp. The narrator states how Yakov killed himself. S/he says, “Crying out to heaven in the most terrifying of Russian curses, he took a running jump into the electrified barbed-wired fence that surrounded the camp” (243). This quote explains how he died. After he jumped into the wires, his body just hung there attached to the barbed-wired. He killed himself because he refused to listen and take orders from the Germans. Some of the orders were as simple as cleaning up after himself. When the narrator says, “how short the step from one pole of human existence to another” s/he is simple stating that there are different types of humans and in the text there is nothing that separates the two. In the novel, Yakov is the son of the most powerful man in the world, but he is still imprisoned with average British Soldiers.

Posted by: Connor Schaefer at December 2, 2013 03:38 AM

Blake Holtzhower
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
02 December 2013
66. Part III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your own words, what the concept “Fidelity and Betrayal” means to both Sabin and Franz, and why it is a misunderstood word?
Answer: Franz tries to use fidelity to appeal to Sabina, however Sabina does not like fidelity. The reason she is not attracted to fidelity is because it reminds her of her father that was too strict to her and did not give her enough freedoms. This is why she likes betrayal, because she rebelled and betrayed her father for revenge against him. She then realizes that betrayal is a dark, unforgiving action, and she begins to go against her own betrayal of her father to try and repair it. Kundera writes, “The first betrayal is irreparable. It calls forth a chain reaction of further betrayals, each of whick takes us farther and farther away from the point of our original betrayal (Kundera 92).” The words are misunderstood because Franz does not realize that Sabina is not attracted to fidelity.

Posted by: Christopher Holtzhower at December 2, 2013 12:29 PM

Blake Holtzhower
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
02 December 2013
94. Part IV: What does “corpus delicti” mean? What does it have to do with the photograph spoken by the old man who was speaking to the ambassador? What was Tereza’s intent for taking the photographs that she did? Why did Tereza suspect that what she had been doing as a photographer might have been, ironically, more hurtful than it was helpful?
Answer: Corpus delicti means “body of crime.” This relates to the photograph that they were discussing because it was the only evidence they had to arrest the old man’s son. “This photograph was the only corpus delicti. He denied it all until they showed it to him (Kundera 141).” Tereza’s intent for taking photographs was to help her country, however she then realizes that she was just helping the Russian police, and thus she was doing more harm than help.

Posted by: Christopher Holtzhower at December 2, 2013 12:30 PM

Blake Holtzhower
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
02 December 2013
143. Part VI: What does the narrator mean when he/she said, “whenever a single political movement corners powers, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch?” To correctly answer this question you need to be sure you understand what the narrator’s understandings of the words “kitsch” and “totalitarian.” In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer: The narrator is meaning that the government does not want difference, or originality. The government wants everything to be nearly equal, so nobody is better or worse than each other. “…what I mean is that everything that infringes on kitsch must be banished for life: every display of individualism (because a deviation from the collective is a spit in the eye of the smiling brotherhood); every doubt (because anyone who starts doubting details will end by doubting life itself; all irony (because in the realm of kitsch everything must be taken quite seriously…(Kundera 252).” This quote supports the claim that the meaning of the quote in the question’s meaning is that of keeping everyone equal.

Posted by: Christopher Holtzhower at December 2, 2013 12:32 PM

Paula Pion
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02
3 December 2013

Question #13 Part I: “Einmal ist keinmal” what does Tomas mean by this?

Answer: When Tomas says to himself “einmal ist keinmal,” he means there is no point in living if you can only live once. At the end of chapter 3, it reads, “If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all” (Kundera 8).

Posted by: Paula Pion at December 3, 2013 10:28 AM

Paula Pion
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02
3 December 2013

Question #41 Part II: How does the narrator define “coincidence” and what does it have to do with the back story of Tereza and Tomas?

Answer: The narrator defines “coincidence” as and “accidental meeting” or “…two events unexpectedly happen at the same time,” (Kundera 51). The relevance of a “coincidence” to Tereza and Tomas’ story is that if it were not for the coincidence of Beethoven playing on the radio after Tereza took Tomas’ drink order, it would not have been love at first sight. Beethoven is significant to Tereza because it was “…her image of the world on the other side, the world she yearned for,” and meeting Tomas gave her this feeling (Kundera 49). In chapter ten of part two, Tereza also tells herself it is a coincidence Tomas’ room number is six which the same number of the house she lived in at “Prague before her parents divorced,” (Kundera 50). Therefore, if it were not for the coincidence Tereza would have never fallen “in love” with Tomas.

Posted by: Paula Pion at December 3, 2013 10:54 AM

Paula Pion
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02
3 December 2013
Question #69 Part III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your word, (1.) what the concept “LIGHT AND DARKNESS” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: In the “Misunderstood Words” section of the novel, “LIGHT AND DARKNESS” is a concept both Sabina and Franz interpret differently. To Sabina, “light and darkness” is the way she views things with her eyes and she either likes or dislikes whatever she is looking at. She feels “light and darkness” are two extremes of seeing, “strong light, which blind, and total darkness,” (Kundera 94). As for Franz, his concept of light is the illumination that is given off by a source or “the source of light itself.” Franz prefers darkness over light because according to Franz, darkness is “pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless…” and “infinite,” (Kundera 94). “Light and darkness” are misunderstood words because between the two, Franz and Sabina, the words have different meaning to each of them (Kundera 89).

Posted by: Paula Pion at December 3, 2013 12:04 PM

Vera Smirnova
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
03 December 2013

Question #137: PART VI: What does the word “onerous” mean? Why, according to the narrator, is excrement “a more onerous theological problem” that evil is? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
Onerous is a synonym of burdensome. According to narrator, "shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil" (Kundera 246). Author means that God created us in his image, therefore he created shit. Humans are responsible for their own crimes, not God, but we are not responsible for shit.

Posted by: Vera Smirnova at December 3, 2013 05:27 PM

Vera Smirnova
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
03 December 2013

Question#170: What is a “premonition”? What was the “little article” that Tereza read about and why, according to the narrator, was it “a premonition of things to come? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
Word premonition can be defined as a feeling of something that is going to happen in a future. Tereza read an article about the dogs that were summarily shot in Russia. She had a feeling that shooting dogs is a beginning of a blind aggression, which primarily goal was people. "Only after a year did the accumulated malice (which until then had been vented, for the sake of training, on animals) find its true goal: people" (Kundera 289).

Posted by: vera.smirnova at December 3, 2013 05:50 PM

Vera Smirnova
Regina Green
Dr. Hobbs
03 December 2013

Group Discussion

Question #8. What is the significance of the "myth" that Tomas used as an analogy for the Communists' folly in Czechoslovakia? Explain. Provide details.

Answer:
The myth of Oedipus plays an important role in a story. Tomas is doubting whether a person is innocent if he or she does not know what they are doing. He writes an article to the magazine contrasting Communists' with the myth. The myth's main theme is fate. The question is whether we can change our fate or not. His article was a critique but was changed to aggressive note about regime. Oedipus blinded himself for killing his father and marrying his mother, even though he did not know what he was doing. Editors interpreted it as Tomas wanted to blind all communists.

Posted by: vera smirnova at December 3, 2013 06:10 PM

Maria Benkirane

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 210 CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature

3 Decembre 2013

Question: Now, that you've read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Why, according to the narrator, did "village life no longer fit the age-old pattern, "under communism? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Even though the Church was close, no one went there at all. The place where men used to meet to drink, was also closed and made into business offices, and young people did not have anymore to go party. No one was allowed to do church holidays, and everything was far from them. Kundera explains people lives by saying, "So at the end of a day's work filled with boisterous shouting, they would all shut themselves up within their four walls [ . . . ] They all dreamed of moving into town" (283). The village life offered nothing interesting for the people, and the farmers were not allowed to own their own land.

Posted by: maria benkirane at December 3, 2013 07:06 PM

Diana Shoemaker
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
28 November 2013

Question: 146. Part VI: Why did Sabina protest the depiction of her in a West German catalogue about her art work? Why did the Germans who created the catalogue “not understand her”? Explain the dispute but, understand, that to correctly answer this question, you need to be absolutely SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Sabina protested the depiction because it was essentially not allowing her to be the unique individual she always aimed to be. According to the novel, the Germans asked “Do you mean that modern art isn't persecuted under Communism” (Kundera 133)? The Germans did not understand because they couldn’t see why Communism was her enemy, but it was kitsch that made her angry. It essentially looks as though Sabina is conformed which is taking away her individualism that is important to her. According to the novel, “it was all merely a desperate attempt to escape the kitsch that people wanted to make of her life” (Kundera 133). Essentially everyone wanted Sabina to conform to everyone else. Sabina did not want to conform, she did not want her art to be mass produced, she wanted to be an individual and be true to herself. Sabina did not want people telling her whom she is.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at December 3, 2013 07:28 PM

Diana Shoemaker
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
28 November 2013

Question: 146. Part VI: Why did Sabina protest the depiction of her in a West German catalogue about her art work? Why did the Germans who created the catalogue “not understand her”? Explain the dispute but, understand, that to correctly answer this question, you need to be absolutely SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Sabina protested the depiction because it was essentially not allowing her to be the unique individual she always aimed to be. According to the novel, the Germans asked “Do you mean that modern art isn't persecuted under Communism” (Kundera 133)? The Germans did not understand because they couldn’t see why Communism was her enemy, but it was kitsch that made her angry. It essentially looks as though Sabina is conformed which is taking away her individualism that is important to her. According to the novel, “it was all merely a desperate attempt to escape the kitsch that people wanted to make of her life” (Kundera 133). Essentially everyone wanted Sabina to conform to everyone else. Sabina did not want to conform, she did not want her art to be mass produced, she wanted to be an individual and be true to herself. Sabina did not want people telling her whom she is.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at December 3, 2013 07:36 PM

Diana Shoemaker
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
28 November 2013

Question: 160. Part VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Why, according to the narrator, was Tereza “happy to abandon the city”? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Tereza was “happy to abandon the city” because she was sick of repeatedly going through all of the situations that made her upset. A few of the reasons she was happy to leave is because she no longer had to smell a woman in Tomas’s hair and she didn’t have to worry so much about her situation with the engineer. The novel states “Tereza was happy and felt that she had at last reached her goal: she and Tomas were together and alone” (Kundera 146). Even though Tomas and Tereza were not technically “alone”, they were alone in the sense of cutting ties with every person they have ever known. Tereza did not have to worry so much about all of the things that made her upset while in that city.

Posted by: Diana Shoemaker at December 3, 2013 07:40 PM

McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 201 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
3 December 2013

Question 105 Part IV: In this question, explain (a.) What the Czechs did to the all of their street signs after the Soviets invaded their country, and why, and (b.) what the Soviets did in response.

Answer: (a.) All the street signs were taken down when the Soviets invaded. "Every city and town had pulled down the street signs; sign posts had disappeared" (Kundera 166.)(b). In response the Soviets "searched for newspaper offices, for television and radio stations to occupy, but could not find them" (Kundera 166). They could not find their way around and asked people for directions and they just shrugged their shoulders, or gave them wrong directions.

Posted by: McKenzie Burns at December 3, 2013 08:55 PM

McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 201 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
3 December 2013

Question #141 Part VI: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, "In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme"? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator's understanding of the word "kitsch" is (consider the context of this passage).

Answer: The narrator means that everybody shits and since we, as humans, do that then we were created in an unacceptable manner. "In the realm of the kitsch" means that in the society of the kitsch, if the heart reigned supreme then the world would be ran by the emotions of people. That is the only thing that a person would be, nothing physical, just emotions.

Posted by: McKenzie Burns at December 3, 2013 09:43 PM

Jalisa Lowe
Ashely Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: [Feces] is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man’s crimes. The responsibility for [feces], however, rests entirely with Him, the Creator of man.

Answer: The narrator is speaking to the reader/audience about the existence about God. The narrator states that, as a young boy, he saw pictures of God, “he was an old man with eyes, nose, and a long beard, and I would say to myself that if He had a mouth, He had to eat. And if He ate, He had intestines” (Kundera 245). Since God eats and drinks, does that mean he is human since he has to poop? If God gets hungry does that mean, he is not perfect. God gave man free will as they please, but is feces something we can control. So is feces fate or free will? I believe these are the all the questions that the narrator are looking for answers to. All throughout the novel it says we are body and soul, so if humans were created in Gods image is he also body and soul. How is God just soul if humans are not? Either God is not just soul, or humans were not created in his image.

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at December 3, 2013 09:58 PM

Jalisa Lowe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Why, according to the narrator, did Tereza come to the conclusion that there is “no particular merit in being nice to one’s fellow man”? Why did she do so, anyway? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

Answer: While Tereza was rubbing Karenin, she concluded, “there is no particular merit in being nice to one’s fellow man” (Kundera 289). In order to live comfortable Tereza is nice and respects other people. She respects the people in her village in order to continue to live there. She is also nice to Tomas because she needs him in her life. She has no one besides Tomas and Karenin. The narrator states, “man-kind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals” (Kundera 289). Human’s true test is not to respect each other, but animals. Humans true reward is not with each other, but with animals.

Posted by: Jalisa Lowe at December 3, 2013 09:59 PM

McKenzie Burns
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
3 December 2013

Question #183 Part VII: What is the meaning of the title of this part of the novel: "Karenin's Smile"? Can dogs smile? Did Karenin smile? If so, when, and, why? This is a "recurrent" moment. What significance might/does it have for this part?

Answer: Karenin is always happy no matter what. "He was definitely the happiest of the three" (Kundera 284). I believe dogs can smile and show emotion. Yes Karenin smiled "look, he's still smiling" (Kundera 301). He is smiling when Tomas came back in to the room from the kitchen preparing the injection. He is still smiling because he still had a love for Tomas and Tereza, he was still the happiest of the three. This is significant because Kundera is always talking about recurrence and how everything in life is already written out.

Posted by: McKenzie Burns at December 3, 2013 10:09 PM

Kaitlin Millner
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire
3 December 2013

163. PART VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What
tragedy struck Karenin, and what was done about it? What was the result? In your answer, quote
snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:Tereza's dog Karenin develops a wound on his leg which turns out to be cancer. Tereza is heartbroken, and thinks how much she prefers animals to people. She considers various moments of mass cruelty to animals, some of which cruelties were institutionalized under the Soviet regime. "True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only ...towards those who are at its mercy: animals."

Posted by: Kaitlin Millner at December 3, 2013 10:17 PM

Lauren Rhodes
Ashley Johnson
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: What is the significance of the boy who flirts with Tereza? Explain. Provide details

Tereza explains that she has no idea how to flirt. However, Tereza is flirting with the young boy in the bar. "For some women flirting is second nature, insignificant, routine, for Tereze it had developed into an important field of research with the goal of teaching her who she was and what she was capable of." (143)

Posted by: Lauren Rhodes at December 3, 2013 10:54 PM

Lauren Rhodes
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: According to the narrator, how are characters born? What, according to the author, gave birth to Tomas? To Tereza? Why?

The narrator believes the main characters are born to the soul. "The body was a cage, and inside that cage, and inside that cage was something which looked, listened, feared, thought, and marveled; that something, that remainder left over after the body had been accounted for, the soul." (40)

Posted by: Lauren Rhodes at December 3, 2013 11:02 PM

Lindsey Thilmony & Kylie Fagan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
3 December 2013

Question: “We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under.” Discuss & explain the SECOND category.

Answer: “The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes” (Kundera 170). These types of people are compared to hosts at parties or dinners. When they go unnoticed, they feel as if their candle has burned out and the spotlight is no longer on them anymore. But in the end, these people always find the eyes they are searching for.

Posted by: Lindsey Thilmony at December 3, 2013 11:15 PM

Lindsey Thilmony
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
3 December 2013

Question: What does the word “vertiginously” mean? This is a contextual question: What does the narrator mean s/he asks, were “the very highest of drama and the very lowest so vertiginously close?” and “Can proximity cause vertigo?” ? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your words.

Answer: First, vertiginously is a word pertaining to vertigo. Spinning, whirling, dizzy, and unstable are some examples. Can proximity cause vertigo? Yes it can! The narrator explains, “When the north pole comes so close as to touch the south pole, the earth disappears and man finds himself in a void that makes his head spin and beckons him to fall” (Kundera 244). I find this quite similar to standing on the edge of a stage and feeling the vertigo dizziness, I would assume it is similar to the quoted passage from the book.

Posted by: Lindsey Thilmony at December 3, 2013 11:16 PM

Lauren Rhodes
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: What is a "lexicon"? For what reason did the narrator say that s/he could compile one? Who and what would t be based on, and why?

A lexicon is the language of a person, and their branch of their knowledge. To me, I feel the narrator was talking about Sabrina and Franz."It was a perfectly innocent form of infidelity and one eminently suited to Franz, who would never have done his bespectacled student-mistress any harm. He nourished the cult of Sabina more as religion than as love." (66)
"We have only to recall the dictionary of
misunderstood words and the long lexicon of misunderstandings!"(66)

Posted by: Lauren Rhodes at December 3, 2013 11:16 PM

Lindsey Thilmony
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
3 December 2013

Question: What does the word “vertiginously” mean? This is a contextual question: What does the narrator mean s/he asks, were “the very highest of drama and the very lowest so vertiginously close?” and “Can proximity cause vertigo?” ? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your words.

Answer: First, vertiginously is a word pertaining to vertigo. Spinning, whirling, dizzy, and unstable are some examples. Can proximity cause vertigo? Yes it can! The narrator explains, “When the north pole comes so close as to touch the south pole, the earth disappears and man finds himself in a void that makes his head spin and beckons him to fall” (Kundera 244). I find this quite similar to standing on the edge of a stage and feeling the vertigo dizziness, I would assume it is similar to the quoted passage from the book.

Posted by: Lindsey Thilmony at December 3, 2013 11:16 PM

Lauren Rhodes
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: According to the narrator, why did the citizen of Prague leave their Old Town Hall "in ruins"? What was the point? What does this say about the collective character of the citizens of Prague?

The narrator explains, "The people of Prague
had an inferiority complex with respect to these other cities. Old Town Hall was the only monument of note destroyed in the war, and they decided to leave it in ruins so that no Pole or German could accuse them of having suffered less than their share." (70)
The people of Prague didn't want anyone thinking they suffered any less than what they really did. They destroyed everything but that monument as a symbol.

Posted by: Lauren Rhodes at December 3, 2013 11:41 PM

Regina Green
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
3 December 2013

Question: The narrator says that, to him, "Tereza appears to [to be] a continuation of the gesture by which her mother cast off her life as a young beauty." What does the narrator mean by this? Explain.

Answer: What Kundera is saying in this quote is Tereza lives in the shadow of her mother. He continuously says her mother follows her everywhere. He says, "I sometimes have the feeling that her entire life was merely a continuation of her mother's" (Kundera, 41). No matter how hard Tereza tries to get away she is reminded of her mother everywhere she goes, even when she looks in the mirror.

Posted by: Regina Green at December 3, 2013 11:46 PM

Regina Green
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
3 December 2013

Question: The narrator writes, "Though a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, she was not allowed to pain like Picasso." For this question, (a.) Who is the "painter" that the narrator is referring to? (b.) Why couldn't the painter paint in a cubist or non-objective way?

Answer: The painter being referred to is Sabina. She was not able to paint in a cubist or non-objective way because "it was the period when so-called socialist realism was prescribed and the school manufactured portraits of Communist statesmen" (Kundera, 91). They were being limited to what they were allowed to paint.

Posted by: Regina Green at December 3, 2013 11:53 PM

Regina Green
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
3 December 2013

Question: A chapter says, "When I was fourteen, I kept a secret diary. I was terrified that someone might read it, so I kept it hidden in the attic." For this question, (a.) Who is speaking in this quotation and (b.) what happened to this person's diary?

Answer: Tereza is the one speaking. Tereza's mother ends up finding it and reading it to her friends one day at dinner. Tereza says, "And after every sentence, she burst out laughing. They all laughed so hard they couldn't ear" (Kundera, 134). The had no respect for her privacy or her personal thoughts.

Posted by: Regina Green at December 4, 2013 12:03 AM

Lauren Rhodes
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: What does the word "Onerous" mean? Why, according to the narrator, is excrement "a more excrement "a more onerous theological problem" that evil is?

The narrator explains, "Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man's crimes. The
responsibility for shit, however, rests entirely with Him, the Creator of man."(129)
Onerous means stressful. The narrator is trying to explain that if God gave the man freedom, then we can't hold "Him" accountable to what man chooses to do with that said freedom.

Posted by: Lauren Rhodes at December 4, 2013 12:03 AM

Erica Esqueda
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
3 December 2013

Question: 50: Part III: For what reason did Franz never make love to his lover “in her Geneva studio”? What “crime” was he avoiding by doing this? Does this somehow make Franz a decent person? Is this hypocritical? Why or why not?

Franz never made love to his lover in her Geneva studio because he felt that it disrespected the honor of his wife, since he would make love to his mistress in the same city his wife was living in. Franz said, “he would be going from the bed of one woman to the bed of another in the space of several hours; and that, he felt, would humiliate both mistress and wife,” (Kundera 40). Not wanting to make love to his mistress because he is in the same city as his wife does not make him a decent person. He is hypocritical because although he is thinking of her feelings, he is still making love to his mistress elsewhere. If he cared about not humiliating his wife, he would not have a mistress at all.

Posted by: Erica Esqueda at December 4, 2013 12:04 AM

Lauren Rhodes
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question: Now, that you've read part seven, the entire novel, answer the following: What tragedy struck Karenin, and what was done about it? What was the result?

At the end of the book we learn that Karenin has cancer. "The woman stopped long enough to ask, What's wrong with the dog? It seems to be limping. He has cancer, said Tereza." (149) We later learn that they have to put the dog down because there is nothing they could do to help him.

Posted by: Lauren Rhodes at December 4, 2013 12:11 AM

Julia Della Penna
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
22 November 2013

PART VI-Question 155: The narrator says that people “all need someone to look at” them and that everyone “can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under.” Identify and summarize the FOURTH category, spoken of by the narrator. In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer: The fourth category the narrator speaks of is the rarest category of people. The narrator states the fourth category of people is the ones who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present (Kundera, 141). What I believe the narrator means is that these people are dreamers who live in a fashion as they were being watched by the one they wish was there. The narrators uses Franz and Simon for examples of this fourth category as Franz dreams to be seen by Sabina and Simon wishes to be seen by Tomas, his father. “Franz travels to the borders of Cambodia only for Sabina… he could feel her eyes fixed on him in a long stare” (Kundera, 141). “When he learned that Tomas, too, was living in the country, he was thrilled… He only wanted him to focus his eyes on his life” (Kundera, 141).

Posted by: Julia Della Penna at December 4, 2013 12:54 AM

Erica Esqueda
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
3 December 2013

Question: 127: Part V: What, according to the narrator, was the true story behind Beethoven’s famous Muss es sien? Es muss sein! Motif” that s/he doubted if Tomas knew? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

The true story behind Beethoven’s Es muss sein motif that Tomas doubtfully knew about was that Tomas was looking to turn his weights into something light, yet he did not fully understand why or how he was to accomplish that. Tomas “harbored a deep desire to follow the spirit of
Parmenides and make heavy go to light,” (Kundera 101). The narrator realizes that Tomas has that yearning; however, he is still discovering the ways in which he can complete the transition from heavy to light.

Posted by: Erica Esqueda at December 4, 2013 01:25 AM

Julia Della Penna
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
22 November 2013

PART VII-Question 177: When the narrator discusses “Adam,” to whom, exactly, is he referring? Why does the narrator say that “Adam was like Karenin”? What does s/he mean? Explain. In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer: When the narrator discusses “Adam” he is referring to Adam from the Bible’s story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He says that Adam was like Karenin because she wanted Karenin to look at his reflection in the mirror, but he never recognized himself. Just like how when Adam looked at himself in the well and did not realize he was looking at himself. When Tereza looked at herself in the mirror, she recognized her body but did not see her soul. “Adam, leaning over a well, did not yet realize that what he saw was himself…Adam was like Karenin. Tereza made a game getting him to look at himself in the mirror, but he never recognized his image” (Kundera, 154).

Posted by: Julia Della Penna at December 4, 2013 01:41 AM

Erica Esqueda
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
3 December 2013

Question: 150: Part VI: Why, according to the narrator, did Franz have the sudden feeling that the Grand March was coming to an end”? To correctly answer this question, you need to be sure you understand what the narrators understanding of the “Great March” is (consider the context of this passage). The idea is discussed, in some detail, in earlier places of the novel. In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

Franz felt that the Grand March was coming to an end when they received nothing more than a silent response from the Cambodians. Franz knew the intentions of the March were to aid the people of Cambodia, however, he realized that they would get nowhere without the cooperation of the other party. The silence they received made some lose hope in reaching their goal however, Franz knew that “the Grand March goes on, the world's indifference notwithstanding,” (Kundera 139).

Posted by: Erica Esqueda at December 4, 2013 01:54 AM

Erica Esqueda
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
3 December 2013

Question: 182: Part VII: According to Tereza, what conclusion does she reach about the meaning/definition of “happiness?” Why does she use this definition to explain it?

In the end, Tereza decides that “happiness is the longing for repetition,” (Kundera 156). What helped her come to this conclusion was reminiscing about her relationship with Tomas and Karenin. With Karenin, she had that constant repetition of affection, affection that was there no matter what, every day. With Tomas, she felt that she constantly had to try to change his way of being in order to get him to truly love her. Karenin brought her true happiness that was a result of an effortless relationship, while Tomas brought her restlessness and uncertainty because she was often uncertain of whether or not he loved her back.

Posted by: Erica Esqueda at December 4, 2013 02:10 AM

Regina Green
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
3 December 2013

Question: What does the word "condescending" mean? How, according to the narrator (or, perhaps Tereza) might "non-man" define "man in his zoology books" and, why may we "treat this definition as a joke and dismiss it with the condescending laugh"? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Condescending means to talk down to someone or to speak to someone in a demeaning manner. The "non-man" defines man as "man the cow parasite" (Kundera, 287) in zoology books. They laugh at it because they do not believe it is true. To them they are just using their recourses, not sucking the life out of another living thing. Kundera says, "Even though Genesis says that God gave man dominion over all animals, we can also construe it to mean that He merely entrusted them to man's care" (288). In other words, God put man on this Earth to live among other living things and no only use what is necessary. Humans use so much more than we actually need. That is why man is being referred to as a parasite.

Posted by: Regina Green at December 4, 2013 04:16 AM

Regina Green
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
3 December 2013

Question: What according to the narrator, is the "real" enemy of Sabina, according to her own statements? Why is that her enemy, instead of what the West Germans thought it would be? To correctly answer this question, you need to be absolutely SURE you understand what the narrator's understanding of the word "Kitsch" is (consider the contest of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The real enemy of Sabina is kitsch. When she moved to America, "It was all merely a desperate attempt to escape the kitsch that people wanted to make of her life" (Kundera, 254). She was tired of people making up a life for her instead of living a life of her own. She was tired assuming what her life was like without having lived it themselves.

Posted by: Regina Green at December 4, 2013 04:35 AM

Vanessa Parkin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
9 November 2013

12. PART I: The narrator says that, in Part I of the novel, Tomas “was vacillating and therefore depriving the most beautiful moments he had ever experienced.” First, explain what the word “vacillate” means. Then, explain just what it was that Tomas was vacillating between/about, according to what the narrator has revealed to the reader, thus far.

Answer) Vacillate means to contemplate or be indecisive. The narrator explains, “… he was distressed that in a situation where a real man would instantly have known how to act, he was vacillating and therefore depriving the most beautiful moments he has ever experienced of their meaning. Tomas has come to the realization that he loves Tereza. Yet, he does not fully understand what he wants. He contemplates asking her back to Prague for good, because he fears responsibility. The narrator then goes into greater detail, “we can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.” ( Kundera 8). There is no possible way of testing, or comparing, which decision is the right one. This explains the burden of weight and responsibility.

Posted by: Vanessa Parkin at December 4, 2013 06:35 AM

Vanessa Parkin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
9 November 2013

12. PART I: The narrator says that, in Part I of the novel, Tomas “was vacillating and therefore depriving the most beautiful moments he had ever experienced.” First, explain what the word “vacillate” means. Then, explain just what it was that Tomas was vacillating between/about, according to what the narrator has revealed to the reader, thus far.

Answer) Vacillate means to contemplate or be indecisive. The narrator explains, “… he was distressed that in a situation where a real man would instantly have known how to act, he was vacillating and therefore depriving the most beautiful moments he has ever experienced of their meaning. Tomas has come to the realization that he loves Tereza. Yet, he does not fully understand what he wants. He contemplates asking her back to Prague for good, because he fears responsibility. The narrator then goes into greater detail, “we can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.” ( Kundera 8). There is no possible way of testing, or comparing, which decision is the right one. This explains the burden of weight and responsibility.

Posted by: Vanessa Parkin at December 4, 2013 06:35 AM

Vanessa Parkin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
11 November 2013

42. PART II: What is “nascent”? Why did the narrator say, that Tereza’s “nascent love inflamed her sense of beauty, and she would never forget that music”? In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

Growing, developing, and blooming are synonyms for nascent. The narrator wanted to make a point of all these coincidences that Tereza has given great meaning and value to. Because of this Tereza is essentially falling in love. Due to all of these signs, Tereza experienced a moment in her life one that she would remember for years to come. If she was to hear Beethoven again she would be touched and recall those moments. The music has become sentimental, “Everything going on around her at that moment would be haloed by the music and take on its beauty”. (Kundera 51)

Posted by: Vanessa Parkin at December 4, 2013 06:37 AM

Vanessa Parkin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
16 November 2013

58. PART III: What are “cupolas”? Use Google Images to look at some Eastern European Orthodox Church buildings. Explain the narrator’s metaphor of cannonballs “suspended” in the air. Now, revisit the author’s earlier conversation about lightness (we also discussed this in class). What connection might the author be making here about the metaphor and weight? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words. Critical thinking!

The narrator refer to the golden cupolas of the Orthodox Church rising up like two gilded cannonballs kept fom imminent collapse as they suspend in the air by some invisible power. Lightness verses weight is the key dichotomy within this Novel. The cannonballs suspended in the air as if they were light. Such heavy objects seemed so weightless, and to Franz, whom is considered to be heavy, saw beauty in this. After leaving his wife, Franz no longer carries any burdens. He needs no more to feel guilty for having affairs with Sabina. For once, Franz heaviest burden is no longer lingering. He feels light for the first time, as he gases upon the Beautiful architecture. The cannonballs represent Franz in this particular time in his life when he becomes lighter than he has ever been before, “The absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being..” (Kundera 5).

Posted by: Vanessa Parkin at December 4, 2013 06:38 AM

Vanessa Parkin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
2 December 4, 2013

165. PART VII: that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What “right,” according to the narrator do those “at the top of the hierarchy” take “for granted,” and why? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

The narrator states that, ““The reason we take that right for granted is that we stand at the top of the hierarchy. But let a third party enter the game – a visitor from another planet, for example, someone to whom God says, “Thou shalt have domination over creatures of all other stars” – and all at once taking Genesis for granted becomes problematical”.” (Kundera 286) Genesis tells us that God created mankind in order to dominate.

Posted by: Vanessa Parkin at December 4, 2013 06:39 AM

Vanessa Parkin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
2 December 4, 2013

165. PART VII: that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What “right,” according to the narrator do those “at the top of the hierarchy” take “for granted,” and why? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

The narrator states that, ““The reason we take that right for granted is that we stand at the top of the hierarchy. But let a third party enter the game – a visitor from another planet, for example, someone to whom God says, “Thou shalt have domination over creatures of all other stars” – and all at once taking Genesis for granted becomes problematical”.” (Kundera 286) Genesis tells us that God created mankind in order to dominate.

Posted by: Vanessa Parkin at December 4, 2013 06:39 AM

Paula Pion
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02
3 December 2013

Question #91 Part IV: What is a “concentration camp”? Explain why living with her mother was, for Tereza, like living in a concentration camp. What does this have to do with the other? Why is the information that is reveled in this simile, significant for the readers’ understanding of Tereza’s character?

Answer: A “concentration camp” according to Tereza, is a place where “people live crammed together” all the time and there is absolutely no privacy. Tereza felt like she lived in a concentration camp when with her mother because her mother would not allow the bathroom door locked, therefore Tereza had no privacy. This helps readers’ understand Tereza’s character because it explains why she left her lving with her mother and why she has self-esteem issues (Kundera 137).

Posted by: Paula Pion at December 4, 2013 06:56 AM

Destiny Hubbard
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
4 December 2013
Question #9 Part I: Parmenides is one of the "pre-Socratic" philosophers that I spoke of in an early lecture about Plato and Socrates. What, according to the narrator, is he famous for? When did he live and what important question/s did he pose?
Answer: Parmenides lived in the early 5th century BC. He is most famous for seeing "the world divided into pairs of opposites” (Kundera 5). The important question/s that he posed were "what then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?" (Kundera 5).

Posted by: Destiny Hubbard at December 4, 2013 07:10 AM

Destiny Hubbard
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
4 December 2013
Question 71: Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “PARADES” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.
Answer: Sabina believes that Parades are simply "people marching by with raised fists and shouting identical syllables in unison" (100). She believes that this is a method of conforming that suppresses individuality. Franz, on the other hand says that Parades are a way "to
be out in the open, to be with others" (99) even though he is mostly seen as a secluded person who reads books all day, he believes that by doing this, he is a part of "the image of Europe and its history" (99). The words that Kundera chose, including that of Parades, can be seen as misunderstood because everyone would immediately have their own interpretation for what they mean.

Posted by: Destiny Hubbard at December 4, 2013 07:16 AM

Dana DeLosa
Dr Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01: Love and Desire in Literature
22 November 2013

Question: “PART VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following:
Remember Nietzsche? He’s back. What, according to the narrator, did Nietzsche purportedly do
when he witnessed a coachman beating his horse “with a whip”? What compelled him to do this?
What was the, surprising, outcome for Nietzsche? What does this have to do with Descartes,
Tereza, and the story, thus far? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence,
but, explain in your own words”

Answer: When Nietzsche witness the horse being beaten he “went up to the horse and, before the coachman’s very eye, put his arms around the horse’s neck and burst into tears (Kundera 151). He was compelled to do this because he felt that animals had souls; Tereza felt this as well because she wanted to name all the cows in her town and had a special relationship with one named Marketa (Kundera 150). This relates to Descartes because he did not believe that animals had souls and when Nietzsche cried on the horses he “was trying to apologize to the horse for Descartes” (Kundera 151).

Posted by: Dana DeLosa at December 4, 2013 08:56 AM

Zarin Hamid
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
20 November 2013
Question: How does the narrator know Thomas and Tereza? How much do we know about the narrator so far?
Answer: The narrator seems to be an unidentifiable observant speaking about all of the characters. Upon doing my research, I noticed that the narrator is said to be the voice of Kundera and it is spoken through his viewpoint. The narrator seems to know the ins and outs of both the characters. In the beging of part one the narrator introduces his thought for Thomas, “I have been thinking about Thomas for many years”, which gives the readers knowledge that he knows him on a level of friendship or higher (3).

Posted by: Zarin Hamid at December 4, 2013 09:34 AM

Zarin Hamid
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
13 November 2013
Question: What was a, seemingly, unique trait about Tereza’s mother, when it came to modesty? What did she do that Tereza found embarrassing? How did Tereza feel about this? How did Tereza’s mother (and the mother’s friends) feel about Tereza’s reaction?
Answer: Tereza’s mother thought that all bodies were equal and that there really should not be any privacy because she did not believe a body could be ugly. She would talk loudly about her sex life in public. She would walk around the house naked and she would not let Tereza lock the door to the bathroom to maintain her point that all bodies were equal. Tereza found all of this to be uncomfortable and embarrassing and started to have low self-esteem issues and hate her body and just obsesses about bodies being ugly and pretty. Tereza’s mother and friends did not like how she was embarrassed and they would want her to be open. In part two it is explained how Tereza’s reaction is, “Tereza quickly ran to pull the curtains so that no one could see her from across the street”, she wants to show that there is some class or dignity in her home (22).

Posted by: Zarin Hamid at December 4, 2013 09:46 AM

Matt Nicholson-Lewis
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and desire in literature
26 November, 2013

Question #129: Why did the narrator ask the question, “Isn’t making love merely an eternal repetition of the same?” How did s/he answer that question. Why is this significant? Quote passages from the text as evidence.

Because that is what Tomas sees it as. This is significant as it talks about his relationship with Tereza. He believes he can love Tereza and also have other women in his life. This is shown in the quote “He was trying the picture what it would be like if they did move to the country. He would have difficulty finding a new women every week” (Kundera 233). This quote shows that he is willing to move away for Tereza, but he is not willing to give up the women for her. Showing his “unbearable lightness of being”

Posted by: Matt Nicholson-Lewis at December 4, 2013 09:58 AM

Zarin Hamid
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
18 November 2013
Question: What is an “abyss”? Explain the “abyss separating Sabina and Franz” after this discussion on Heraclitus. What is/causes the abyss separating them? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer: An abyss is a deep immeasurable space. The abyss separating these two lovers is that Franz wants to get closer with Sabina and after the bowler hate incident Sabina does not care for Franz that much. The closer he tries to get with her the more Sabina is drawing back. In part three it is shown to readers how much of his infidelity was a big part of his life, “The love he bore this woman, with whom he had fallen in love several months before was so precious to him that he tried to create an independent space for her in his life, a restricted zone of purity”, the outcome of his affair was pure to him (40).

Posted by: Zarin Hamid at December 4, 2013 09:58 AM

Zarin Hamid
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature Ca02
22 November 2013
Question: What is the “millionth part” that the narrator keeps going on about in his discussion of Thomas and all the women he has slept with. Why is this “millionth part” important to Thomas?
Answer: The millionth part is something internal within Thomas. Every time he sleeps with a woman, he is giving up a part of himself or his soul to them. Since he has slept with hundreds of women it can be exaggerated to that of a million and that he has given away his millionth of parts. In part 5 we see how these things affect him,“ In the meantime, fate visited a plague on his subjects and tortured them with great pestilences.” In this instance he will be haunted by his actions and to save a part of himself or his millionth part he has some revelations to consider (88).

Posted by: Zarin Hamid at December 4, 2013 10:10 AM

Rache Robinson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
4 December 2013


Question: : Now, that you've read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Why,
according to the narrator, did “village life no longer fit the age-old pattern,” under Communism?
In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.


This quote means that since Communism started, the town isn't as lively as it use to be. Many places have been altered to fit under the Communist rule. Fun does not exist anymore for these people. In Part 7, it states, "The church
was in the neighboring village, and no one went there; the tavern had been turned into offices, so the men had nowhere to meet and drink beer, the young people nowhere to dance. Celebrating church holidays was forbidden, and no one cared about their secular replacements" (Kundera 146).

Posted by: Rache Robinson at December 4, 2013 10:19 AM

Desiree Jaramillo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 November 2013

Question 14: What “thick book” did Tereza have “under her arm”? Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. Look up a summary of this book and provide a brief synopsis (one or two sentences).

Answer: When Tereza drops her former life and arrives at Tomas’ front door, she is holding the very big novel Anna Kerenina in her arms (9). Anna is the brother of Stiva, the man who had been caught cheating on his wife. The wife, Dolly has a younger suitor and the two girls find two suitors in which they traded off at one point. The book spans over several years, and situations in which all of these people are caught up in these webs of love, desire, and life. The book is very significant because its seems to hold a foreshadowing importance to it. The audience already knows that Tereza and Tomas will become romantically involved with each other. If one were to know the plot behind Anna Kerenina, they would recognize the allusions to the similarities.

Posted by: Desiree Jaramillo at December 4, 2013 10:21 AM

Desiree Jaramillo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210Cl Love and Desire in Literature CA02
13 November 2013

Question 28: What drew Tereza to her mirror? Explain. What, according to the narrator, should we NOT confuse Tereza’s fascination with the mirror for?

Answer: Tereza is a person who despises the body. When she was younger, she would attempt to find some beauty, some good in her body. This is why she would spend so much time secretly looking into the mirror when she was younger. She became very taken aback that what she saw was her own “‘I’” (41). The narrator explains that it was not a nose, beautiful or ugly, that she was staring at. It was a part of the whole, the soul that just radiated beauty. The narrator states that she did not gaze in the mirror out of love or infatuation for herself.

Posted by: Desiree Jaramillo at December 4, 2013 10:22 AM

Desiree Jaramillo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
18 November 2013

Question 72: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “THE BEAUTY OD NEW YORK” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: Sabina secretly uses New York City as the basis for her debatable paintings. New York is a mixture of so many different people, places, and mistakes. She finds mistakes to be beautiful (102). Because Sabina runs her life with such a lightness to it, the hustle and bustle and unpredictability of the city is exactly what she wants and need. Franz, however, is a very reserved man. His life has consisted of strictly structured and safe scenarios. Being outside and seeing all the action put him out of his element and, arguably, in fear.

Posted by: Desiree Jaramillo at December 4, 2013 10:23 AM

Desiree Jaramillo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
20 November 2013

Question 84: For this question, (a.) Explain what the Czechs did to all of their street signs after the Soviets invaded their country and why and (b.) what the Soviets did in response. What is the significance of this?

Answer: When Tereza and Tomas took a walk around a little, old, small Czech town, they learned that all of the street names had been changed to resemble Russian geography. This caused Tereza to think back to the beginning of the invasions when this sort of this had first begun to happen. The Czechs rose up in defense and taken all of the replacement signs down and hid them. Nobody would admit to taking the signs and, “overnight, the country had become nameless,” (166). As a result, the Soviets were completely and utterly at a disadvantage. They did not know where they were and anybody they asked for help would either lie or act as if they did not know. In hindsight, it is quite a comical occurrence, but in a time of war and invasion, it was truly very dangerous.

Posted by: Desiree Jaramillo at December 4, 2013 10:24 AM

Desiree Jaramillo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 201CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
22 November 2013

Question 152: The narrator says that people “all need someone to look at” them and that everyone “can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under.” Identify and summarize the first category, spoken of by the narrator. In your answer quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The first category that the narrator explains is that of which one longs to be looked at by the public eye, many “anonymous eyes” so that they satisfy that natural longing for attention (269). These people are at a sudden loss when they lose this type of attention. In some ways, it becomes a sort of addiction that one does not realize they have until they have lost the constant supply. Being social creatures, it is natural for humans to strive for the attention of others.

Posted by: Desiree Jaramillo at December 4, 2013 10:50 AM

Desiree Jaramillo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
2 December 2013

Question 176: What is an “idyll”? How does the narrator explain the concept (it might differ from your dictionary definition). Why, according to the narrator (context), “was the word idyll so important for Tereza”? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: An idyll is a situation, or scene, which is very happy and comparable to paradise. The narrator highlights how the word idyll invokes a strong reaction from Tereza. The narrator states that “we,” referencing his audience and including him, were “raised” on the teachings of the Old Testament (295). He iterates that Tereza is idyllic with her closest companion, Karenin. Tereza admits to herself that the love she has for Karenin is stronger, but not bigger, than her love for Tomas. It’s stated that animals, like Karenin, do not expect anything in return, and in turn, Tereza did not expect that from her closest companion. She just truly loved her dog. Going away to the countryside with him created that idyll situation.

Posted by: Desiree Jaramillo at December 4, 2013 10:51 AM

Destiny Hubbard
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
4 December 2013

Question: What is a “flat”? Why did Tereza like seeing the Engineer’s collection of books at his
flat? What did it mean to her? Why did she take this a sign that the Engineer wa
s harmless?

Answewr: A flat is similar to a duplex/Multiplex, you're renting a portion of the building, but it tends to be just one or two rooms, with a big open floor plan. Sophocles' Oedipus is among the shelved books and Tereza thinks of it as a sign from Tomas. The stranger undresses her and the two have sex; at the point of orgasm Tereza spits in his face. She uses the toilet and feels she has been reduced to a body in the worst sense; the engineer's high-pitched voice breaks the spell, and she leaves.

Posted by: Destiny Hubbard at December 4, 2013 10:51 AM

Darius Anderson
Desiree Jaramillo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
4 December 2013

Question: 2. Spontaneously, without any theological training, I, a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and [feces] and thus came to question the basic thesis of Christian anthropology, namely that man was created in God’s image.

Answer: In this passage the narrator is speaking to the reader, and questioning the existence of a God. Can there really be a God, whom man is made in the image of that poops as humans do, “Either/or: either man was created in God’s image –and God has intestines!- or God lacks intestines and man is not like Him (Kundera 245).”

Posted by: Darius Anderson at December 4, 2013 10:53 AM

Zarin Hamid
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
15 November 2013
Question: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What, according to the narrator, is “the only thing all of mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars” and what is his/her reasoning for suggesting this (context)? In your answer, quote snippets from the texts as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer: The only thing humankind can agree on during war is love. Our human reactions to life and natural wants, needs, and desires. Part seven really sheds some light on mankind, “True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its receipt has no power”, this shows what is pure and what is not to the narrators and characters (151).

Posted by: Zarin Hamid at December 4, 2013 11:10 AM

Jennifer Schubin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
December 3, 2013
Question: What is the dispute mentioned by the narrator about the shouting matches between the accused (the Communists) and those who were accusing them? Explain. What single question did it narrow down to, in the end, according to the narrator? Explain. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The dispute mentioned by the narrator was the Communists were “responsible for [their] country’s misfortunes” this is how the Czech would show their angry. The narrowed states that the question is, “did they really now know or were they merely making believe?” (176). This plays to the idea of the Czech blaming the Russians for every bad thing that has happen in the Czech country. The narrator is saying that the Czechs really believe that the wrong-doing is the Soviet Union fault.


Posted by: Jennifer Schubin at December 4, 2013 11:31 AM

Jennifer Schubin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
December 2, 2013

Question: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, “The brotherhood of man on earth will be possible only on a base of kitsch. And no one knows this better than politicians”? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The narrator is stating the that men in the brotherhood are out of place. Kitsch according to the book is “exclude everything from its purview which essentially unacceptable in human existence” (248).

Posted by: Jennifer Schubin at December 4, 2013 11:32 AM

Jennifer Schubin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
December 2, 2013

Question: In this course, we have examined the definitions of different types of love. The narrator explains exactly what kind of love existed between Tereza and Karenin. According to his/her explanation, which of the varieties of love we’ve examined BEST fits, and why? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The narrator explains the love between Tereza and Karanin is a love that is nobody understands. The book states that, “people are indignant at the thought of someone loving a dog” (287). This means that Tereza prefers the company of animal than humans.

Posted by: Jennifer Schubin at December 4, 2013 11:33 AM

Camila Pinzon
Dr. Burgsbee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
29 October 2013
Question: PART I: Who was “Mefisto” and hwy was he important to the story? How did Karenin feel about Mfisto?

Answer: Karenin made a friend with the neighboring farmer’s pig while he lived in the country side. The pig was named Mefisto, and according to the farmer, “he raised [the pig] like a dog” (Kundera 283). After their more bonding Karenin was “preferring him to the village dogs” (Kundera 284), overall, Karenin appreciated the friendship with Mefisto.

Posted by: Camila Pinzon at December 4, 2013 11:39 AM

Lydia R Santana
Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CA01 Love and Desires in Literature
11 November 2013

Question: Those of us who live in a society where various political tendencies exist side by side and competing influence cancel or limit one another can manage more or less to escape the kitsch inquisition: the individual can perserve his individuality; the artist can create unusual works. But whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch.

Answer:This question is basically discussing individualism v. conformism, which is basically taking place in Prague. It's being conformed into Communism. The story later reveals Tereza reasoning behind leaving the country. The Russian regime is trying to erase the past of the old country before Communism. as if to make the history of the country nonexistent. Because the way kitsch is described within the story, "[T]he aesthetic ideal of the categorical agreement with being is a world in which shit is denied and everyone acts as though it did not exist"(Kundera 248). Some examples of this would be the park benches floating down the Valtava. Maybe this symbolic shows an overview of Thomas and Tereza's relationship as Thomas tries to conform Tereza's definition of love stating that love and sex have nothing to do with each other. She even believes that the engineer that she slept with was sent by Thomas to see if she could actually do what Thomas asked of her, and she tries to please Thomas wishes as best she could.

Posted by: Lydia Santana at December 4, 2013 11:56 AM

Lydia R Santana
Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CA01 Love and Desires in Literature
11 November 2013

Question: Those of us who live in a society where various political tendencies exist side by side and competing influence cancel or limit one another can manage more or less to escape the kitsch inquisition: the individual can perserve his individuality; the artist can create unusual works. But whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch.

Answer:This question is basically discussing individualism v. conformism, which is basically taking place in Prague. It's being conformed into Communism. The story later reveals Tereza reasoning behind leaving the country. The Russian regime is trying to erase the past of the old country before Communism. as if to make the history of the country nonexistent. Because the way kitsch is described within the story, "[T]he aesthetic ideal of the categorical agreement with being is a world in which shit is denied and everyone acts as though it did not exist"(Kundera 248). Some examples of this would be the park benches floating down the Valtava. Maybe this symbolic shows an overview of Thomas and Tereza's relationship as Thomas tries to conform Tereza's definition of love stating that love and sex have nothing to do with each other. She even believes that the engineer that she slept with was sent by Thomas to see if she could actually do what Thomas asked of her, and she tries to please Thomas wishes as best she could.

Posted by: Lydia Santana at December 4, 2013 11:56 AM

Lydia R Santana
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 210 CA01 Love and Desire in literature
11 November 2013

Question: Why did Thomas come this conclusion: "Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite"? What does this little bit of "wisdom" mean for Thomas?

Answer: Thomas believes that love and sex are two completely different things because when you love someone you care for them more and have a rank of importance. Thomas originally stated that he wouldn't keep a long relationship going with one woman because he didn't want the other woman to feel less in value.Thomas also states that,"Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in desire for shared sleep ( a desire limited to one woman)" (Kundera 15). Also in later chapters, Thomaas has another encounter with a young woman and he can't seem to recall her. She had an amazing and beautiful experience with Thomas and he didn't experience the encounter that same as she did because he loved Tereza. As it states in the text, "[He] had excluded her from the sphere of love" (Kundera 208).

Posted by: Lydia Santana at December 4, 2013 12:12 PM

Lydia R Santana
Dr.Hobs
ENG 210 CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
10 November 2013

Question: Part 2: Explain what the narrator means when he suggests that "human lives" are composed like music." In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to exactly?
Answer: The narrator is refering to life, and how it has a purpose and flows like music. Take for example Beethoven motif, " Muss es sein," meaning it must be. In Beethoven's opinion weight was seen as something positive. As it states in the text,"We believe that the greatness of man stems from the fact that he bears his fate as Atlas bore the heavens on his shoulders. Beethoven's hero is a lifter of metaphysical weight" (Kundera 33). Also later in the story Thomas feels that his "ES Muss Sein" is being a surgeon and that he has to find the "I" in every woman.

Posted by: Lydia Santana at December 4, 2013 12:23 PM

Lydia R Santana
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210 CA01 Love and Desires
13 November 2013

Question: Part2: What is an autodidact? Explain the narrator's understanding of the difference between "university graduate" and an "autodidact". After quoting from the text, explain what the narrator means in your owns words.
Answer: Autodidact is a self taught person and in the text it states, " The difference between the university graduate and the autodidact lies not so much in the extent of knowledge as in the extent of vitality and self-confidence" (Kundera 55). I think the narrator means that the difference between the two in the confidence of knowing what something is and having an idea of what something is and if y our a graduate from a university you just know how to defend yourself better with "confidence" than that of someone who is an autodidact.

Posted by: Lydia Santana at December 4, 2013 12:32 PM

Lydia R Santana
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love and Desires
15 November 2013

Question 57: Part 3: Use Google Images to look at some examples of a "bowler hat," For this question, you will have established context before answering. Why did the narrator say that, when Franz removed Sabina's bowler hat, it "was as though he were erasing the mustache a naughty child had drawn on a picture of the Virgin Mary."Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Well on page 85 it states, "The image in the mirror was instantaneously transformed: suddenly it was a woman in her undergarments, a beautiful, distant, indifferent woman with a terribly out-of-place bowler hat on her head, holding the hand of a man in a gray suit and tie"(Kundera). This gives the reader the idea that it was comical that Sabina even had this bowler hat on and it didn't match with her beauty. So as if to mess up the kitsch of woman beauty, thus why the narrator comparing her to Virgin Mary, by wearing that bowler hat. Therefor Franz took it off and thought of it as something silly.

Posted by: Lydia Santana at December 4, 2013 12:56 PM

Lydia R Santana
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 210CL CA01 Love and Desire in Literature
20 November 2013

Question 97: Part 4: What was Petrin Hill? Why did Tomas want Tereza to go there? What did she discover when she went there?

Answer: Petrin hill is a hill in the middle of Prague and Tomas sent Tereza there to "help her with her jealousy. As the text states, "I can't take anymore, Thomas. I know I shouldn't complain. Ever since you come back to Prague for me, I've forbidden myself to be jealous. [. . .] I suppouse I'm just not strong enough to stand up to it. Help me, please" (Kundera 146)! From the text it shows that Tereza sounded desperate and she had everything she asked of Thomas, he even moved for her. Yet wasn't enough, it was though it would never be enough, so to stop her suffering he sent her to her death. Either that or she would have to learn to conform to his ways. Which it turned out that the hill was a place of prosecution.

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment. ~ Dr. Hobbs

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Posted by: Lydia Santana at December 4, 2013 01:06 PM

Trey Griseck
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
7 April 2014

Question #4
Why does the narrator say “In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia?” What might this mean?

Answer:
In the story Unbearable lightness of being, she says the quote “In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia. She says this to imply that “nostalgia is the suffering caused by a settled desire to return” (Kundera1). This is saying that as individuals we are always worried about our past and ways that we feel we can change what has happened in the past when we know it’s not possible to do so.

Posted by: Trey Griseck at April 7, 2014 07:23 PM

Trey Griseck
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
7 April 2014

Question #33
What, according to the narrator is Tereza’s “secret vice?” Why is it a vice? How does it hurt her? How does it help her? What is her chief conflict when it comes to the root issue behind this vice?

Answer:
According to the narrator, Tereza’s vice was a reflection of lost innocence. It is a vice to Tereza because it is also a battle with her mother. “It hurts her because she resists her mother’s understanding of the body. This helps her because she wanted to be different from everyone else. She wanted to find the part of her face that revealed her soul below” (Kundera 1) Her chief conflict when it comes to the issue behind this vice is that she can never be completely different because of the idea that everyone’s body is identical in one way or another.

Posted by: Trey Griseck at April 7, 2014 07:39 PM

Marie Ryan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL: Love & Desire in Literature
7 April 2014

Question 11: How does the narrator know Tomas and Tereza? How much do we know about the narrator so far?

There is no passages that clearly states how the narrator knows Tomas and Tereza. However, in chapter 3 it the narrators says, "I saw him standing at the window of his flat looking across the courtyard at the opposite walls, not know what to do" (Kundera 6). From the way the narrator tells the story we can understand that he/she is a third person omniscient narrator.

Question 26: Accoding to the narrator, how are characters born? What, according to the author, gave birth to Tomas? To Tereza? Why (for eaach)?

Answer: According to the narrator characters are born of ideas. In support of the this the narrator says, "...they were born of a stimulating phrase or two or form a basic situation" (Kundera 39). in regards to how each character was born. The narrator says, "Tomas was born of the saying Einmal ist keinmal. Teraza was born of the rumbling of a stomach" (Kundera 39). Tereza was born like this because the first time she appeared at Tomas's flat her stomach.

Posted by: Marie Ryan at April 7, 2014 09:53 PM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Lee B. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire CA01
10 April 2014

QUESTION #9:
Part 1: Parmenides is one of the “pre-Socratic” philosophers that I spoke of in an early lecture about Plato and Socrates. What, according to the narrator, is he famous for? When did he live and what important question/s did he pose?

ANSWER:
Parmenides lived in the “sixth century before Christ” (Kundera 3). He was famous because of a question he asked. He saw the dichotomy of the world: good/evil, light/darkness, being/non-being, etc. and he associates to one pole a positive connotation and to the other pole a negative connotation. The question he asked was “Which one is positive, weight or lightness?” (Kundera 3)

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at April 8, 2014 12:12 AM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
8 April 2014

QUESTION #19:
Why was Tomas "so surprised to wake up and find Tereza squeezing his hand tightly"? What was his normal way of doing things? How was this different?

ANSWER:
Tomas was surprised by this action because usually "after making love he had an uncontrollable craving to be by himself" (Kundera 14). Usually, Tomas likes to be alone after making love, however, he desired to be with Tereza after the two of them made love. This is why he was surprised by Tereza squeezing his hand tightly.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 8, 2014 08:42 AM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
8 April 2014

QUESTION #34:
What, according to the narrator, were books emblematic of? What did they represent to her? Explain the metaphor and what it has to do with Tomas.

ANSWER:
"In Tezera's eyes, books were emblems of a secret brotherhood" (Kundera 47). To Tezera, books "not only offered the possibility of an imaginary escape from a life she found unsatisfying; they also had a meaning for her as physical objects: she loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm" (Kundera 47-48). Tezera sees this as a secret brotherhood since having a book out is considered old fashioned, so this makes Tomas one of a kind for being the first person to have a book out open in the restaurant.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 8, 2014 10:20 AM

Hosameddine Elnehmani
Dr. B. Lee Hobbes
ENG-210 Love and desire in literature CA01
09 April 2014

QUESTION #8:

Part I: what, according to the narrator, is the problem with “the absolute absence of a burden”? Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? What issues arise with this condition, according to the narrator? Is the answer, or not?

ANSWER:
Well, according to the text talks about the eternal return in which is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all their splendid lightness. The absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant (Kundera 5). Then the narrator explains how burdens affect us. “The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground” (Kundera 5).

Posted by: Hosameddine at April 8, 2014 06:12 PM

Hosameddine Elnehmani
Dr. B. Lee Hobbes
ENG-210 Love and desire in literature CA01
09 April 2014

QUESTION # 41:

Part II: How does the narrator define “coincidence” and what does it have to do with the backstory of Tereza and Tomas?

ANSWER:
According to the narrator the meaning of “Co-incidence” is that two events unexpectedly happen at the same time, they meet: Tomas appears in the hotel restaurant at the same time the radio is playing Beethoven (Kundera 51). In this situation It does have to do with Tereza and Tomas cause every time Tomas occupied had been occupied instead by the local butcher, Tereza never would have noticed that the radio was playing Beethoven. The meeting of Beethoven and the butcher would also have been an interesting coincidence. (Kundera 51).

Posted by: Hosameddine at April 8, 2014 06:13 PM

Pauline Helgesson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
8 April 2014

Part 1 Question #14

What “thick book” did Tereza have “under her arm”? Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. Look up a summary of this book and provide a brief synopsis (one or two sentences).

ANSWER:

The thick book Tereza had under her arm was the classic story “Anna Karenina” written by Leo Tolstoy.

Leo Tolstoy’s classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Tolstoy’s magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky have enthralled generations of readers.

Posted by: Pauline Helgesson at April 8, 2014 08:16 PM

Pauline Helgesson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
8 April 2014

Part 2 Question #44

Explain what the narrator means when he suggests that “human lives” are “composed like music”. In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

ANSWER:

Kundera uses the statement “human lives are composed like music" as a metaphor of music composition to describe an individual's life. Every human being composes its own music that contains different motifs during a lifetime. The motif in a person's life is an object or idea that is repeated several times in many different ways. In the book, Kundera uses the bowler hat for Sabina as an object that is repeated in many different ways.

“They are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence (Beethoven's music, death under a train) into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual's life” (Kundera, 77).

Posted by: Pauline Helgesson at April 8, 2014 08:17 PM

Christopher Lavie Mienandy
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
8 April 2014

QUESTION #3:
Part of being responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. If you do not know who Robespierre is, look him up. Who was he and why was he important? Now answer the question of why “French historians would be less proud of Robespierre if the French revolution were to recur eternally”.

ANSWER:
Maximilien Robespierre was an important character of the French revolution. He is famous for his opposition to King Louis the 16th and for establishing the reign of terror, which killed thousands of opponents to the French revolution. Robespierre is part of the French history and fought the advancement of the French revolution. However, the reign of terror cannot be forgotten and its victims as well. Nevertheless, French citizens do not fear this massacre to happen again. If the French revolution were to recur eternally, we would live under a certain fear that the reign of terror may happen again. As the French revolution will never recur eternally, historians try to remember the good actions of Robespierre and think this way, “they deal with something that will not return, the bloody years of the Revolution have turned into mere words, theories, and discussions, have become lighter than feathers, frightening no one” (Kundera 2).

Posted by: christopher lavie mienandy at April 8, 2014 08:28 PM

Christopher Lavie Mienandy
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
8 April 2014

QUESTION #48:
What does the word “vertigo” mean? Why does the narrator say that “anyone whose goal is something higher must expect some day to suffer vertigo”? In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

ANSWER:
According to the Webster dictionary, the word “vertigo” means: a feeling of dizziness caused especially by being in a very high place. I think the narrator means that people like Tereza, who expect or aim to high, compared to what they are capable of, might one day wake up and feel surprised by what happened to them: “vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us, which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” (Kundera 29).

Posted by: christopher lavie mienandy at April 8, 2014 08:29 PM

Franck Bayebanen

Dr. Bursgbee L. Hobbs

ENG 210CL CA01 Love & Desire in Literature

9 April, 2014

Question: What does the term “cat” mean in Czech slang? What does this have to do with Tereza? Working with this “cat” theory, how does the narrator claim that Tereza’s dreams should be interpreted, and why?

Answer:

After Tereza finds out about the double life of Tomas, she starts having nightmares “Tereza asleep, having terrible nightmares, and he unable to wake her.” (Kundera 121). The word “cat” is slang for a pretty woman in Czech. Tereza is terribly jealous about the relations Tomas has with other women. She starts dreaming about all those women attacking her. There is pretty much nothing to understand about Teresa dreams. The only thing we know is that her dream describes how painful they are physically and mentally.

Question: Explain what the narrator means when he suggests that “human lives” are “composed like music.” In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly? Answer:

Kundera uses the metaphor of the music to describe somebody’s life on earth. We all compose our own music to go through the difficulties of life. Therefore, that is the reason people are different and don’t react the same way to situations. He uses the example of a bowler hat “Sabina laughed for a long time at the idea. Tereza put down the bowler hat, picked up her camera, and started taking pictures.” (Kundera 33). The author compares the way our lives are shaped and the creation of an artistic piece (novel, book, music). In fact, everything has symbols and motifs “Because human lives are composed in precisely such a fashion. They are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence (Beethoven's music, death under a train) into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of a person's life. Anna could have chosen another way to take her life.” (Kundera 26).

Posted by: Franck Bayebanen at April 8, 2014 09:58 PM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Lee B. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire CA01
9 April 2014

QUESTION #43:
Part II: The narrator discusses two people named “Anna” and “Vronsky”. Who are these people? What do they have to do with Tereza and/or Tomas? Explain.

ANSWER:
Anna and Vronsky are two characters in “the novel that Tereza clutched under her arm” (Kundera 25). They are some part related to Tereza and Tomas in the sense that their story is similar to theirs. Both couples are lovers, and they both left their own country because of insecurity.

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at April 8, 2014 10:14 PM

Will Fumero
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210-cl
4/8/14

Question: In Your own words, paraphrase or summarize Tereza’s dream. What did the dream cause Tomas to recall the next day?

Answer:
Tereza dreams about being attacked by cats, (the slang Czech word for cat closely translates to “pretty lady”), and she continues to dream about being forced to perform lewd acts with Tomas, as well as dying and see her engage in an affair with Sabina (pgs.9-10). Tomas realizes that she is very insecure and intrusive of his life with her needy personality (pg. 10). However, despite her shortcomings, he realizes the love of a woman and a love of her body are two different things. He decides to stay with her and marry her.

Posted by: William Fumero at April 8, 2014 10:42 PM

Will Fumero
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210-cl
4/8/14

Question: Explain the concept of shame in Tereza’s childhood? Did it exist? why, or why not? Who did it exist for and why? Who did it not exist for and why?

Answer:
Tereza’s family life was very turbulent. Coming from a divorced household, her mother’s beauty dwindled with children and age. Shame existed when Tereza was made fun by her mother, being a timid and suppressed little girl. However, it did not exist for her mother, who would walk around naked through the house and tell her daughter to take a shower with the door open to express equality of the human body (pg.22). It may have been humiliating for Tereza in some way, but not her mother.

Posted by: William Fumero at April 8, 2014 10:54 PM

Daniella Zacarias
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature CA01
8.4.2014
Question #10

10.
Part I: Quotation: “Parmenides posed this very question in the sixth century before Christ. He saw the world divided into pairs of opposites: light/darkness, fineness/coarseness, warmth/cold, being/nonbeing. One half of the opposition he called positive (light, fineness, warmth, being), the other negative.” Review the context of this passage. What is the overarching “question” that Kundera is referring to here?
ANSWER.
I believe that the overarching question at hand is whish term is positive or negative. Parmenides defined warmth as being a positive; however does that mean the cold is beneath warmth? Or is liking colder temperatures a sign of a negative (or bad) person?
Basically, Kundera is trying to make his readers question the significance between dichotomies. He states “We might find this division into positive and negative poles childishly simple except for one difficulty: which one is positive, weight or lightness?” (Kundera 5).

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at April 8, 2014 11:48 PM

Daniella Zacarias
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature CA01
8.4.2014
Question #28

28.
Part II: What drew Tereza to her mirror? Explain. What, according to the narrator, should we NOT confuse Tereza’s fascination with the mirror for?
ANSWER.
“It was not vanity that drew her to the mirror; it was amazement at seeing her own “I.” [. . .] she thought she saw her soul shining through the features of her face.” (Kundera 41).

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at April 8, 2014 11:49 PM

Paige Fowler
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desires
9 April 2014
Question: Part 1 #20 : Why did Tomas come this this conclusion: “Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite”? What does this little bit of “wisdom” mean for Tomas? Answer:
Thomas came to this conclusion because when he was sleeping with numerous woman this was more satisfaction of a physical passion, however when Tareza slept with him this was something new, an emotional passion. This little bit of “wisdom” means that by separating the two he now know who he “thinks” is the right woman to marry and have a deeper passion with.”Making love to a woman and sleeping with a woman is two different things…” ( The unbearable Lightness of Being page 8).

Posted by: paige fowler at April 9, 2014 12:17 AM

Paige Fowler
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desires
9 April 2014
Question: Part 2 #35 What is a dandy? Why did the narrator say that, for Tereza, books “had the same significance for her as an elegant cane [had] for the dandy a century ago.” Explain the analogy/metaphor.
Answer:
Dandy is a man who is excessively concerned about his clothes and appearance. the narrator uses the elegant cane with a Dandy to show that they went hand and hand a century ago. The analogy that a dandy man is never seen with his cane because it comes with his appearance. The narrator shows the connection between Tereza and her books. “She loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm. It had the same significance for her as an elegant cane for the dandy a century ago.”(The Unbearable Lightness of Being p.24)

Posted by: paige fowler at April 9, 2014 12:18 AM

Devon Bell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
April 9, 2014

Question: # 13
There are, literally, dozens of free websites that offer free language translation. One well
know website is . Use various translators to get the gist of the German
adage “Einmal ist keinmal.” What does Tomas mean by this?


Answer:

When Tomas says the phrase Einmal ist keinmal, he is simply saying live your life. He is saying if an individual goes on living life thinking hard about something he or she wants to do, and decides not to do, there truly is no point of living. He is saying an individual should not be afraid to take chances (Kundera 5).

Posted by: Devon Bell at April 9, 2014 12:33 AM

Devon Bell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
April 9, 2014

Question: # 38
Deconstruct and the explain what the narrator means when s/he says, “Necessity knows
no magic formulae—they are all left to chance.” In the context of what has just come before this
passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

Answer:

The narrator is referring to Tereza, and what she desires in a partner. What is being said is that there is no true path of love. If an individual has a passion for love he or she must try to find it, it is all about taking chances and hoping they succeed (Kundera 24).

Posted by: Devon Bell at April 9, 2014 12:34 AM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
9 April 2014

QUESTION 6: Why, according to the narrator, did Nietzsche call “the idea of eternal return the heaviest of burdens”? Don’t just quote passages for the answer. Explain it in your own words.

ANSWER: Nietzsche does this because “In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make” (Kundera 5). The author speaks about burdens having “weight,” in fact, the author also mentions “The heaviest of burdens crush us” (Kundera 5). This shows that people are always thinking about burdens concerning what they have to keep in their mind (“the unbearable weight of responsibility”), and this allows them, in a way, to be more in touch with the ways of the world since “the heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth” (Kundera 5).

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at April 9, 2014 08:28 AM

Shamera Bryant
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
8 April 2014
Question 16: We know from our lectures in this course that Philia love is friendship and Erotic love is something else. What does Tomas mean by “erotic friendship”? Why did he feel the need to create the condition of “erotic friendship”?
Answer:
When Tomas speaks about “erotic friendship” he uses it in ways meaning relations that may involve intimacy but never love. This erotic friendship should be sexual or meaningful but never involve love. “To ensure that erotic friendship never grew into the aggression of love, he would meet each of his long term mistresses only at intervals” (Kundera 12).

Posted by: Shamera Bryant at April 9, 2014 08:55 AM

Shamera Bryant
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
8 April 2014
Question 40: What, according to the narrator, did Tereza find “odd” about Tomas’s room number? Did she really find this odd, or was she actually playing a different “game”? Explain your answer with passages from the text.
Answer:
Tereza finds it “odd” that Tomas’s room number is six because she lived in a house that once was number six. “She had suddenly recalled that the house where they had lived in Prague before her parents were divorced was number six” (Kundera 50). This is a “game” that she is playing, not quite sure but seems as if she is needing some type of attention now that was different from before. It could also have a relation to the six fortuities that the narrator previously mentioned. “He began to feel uneasy at the thought that his acquaintance with Tereza was the result of six improbable fortuities” (Kundera 48).

Posted by: Shamera Bryant at April 9, 2014 09:14 AM

Peter Grana

Love and Desire in Literature

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

8, April 2014

Question #27

Part II: When, according to the narrator, did “the body” start giving mankind less trouble? Why, exactly?

Answer:

“The body was a cage, and inside that cage was something that looked, listened, feared, thought, and marveled; that something, that remainder left over after the body had been accounted for, was the soul” (Kundera 20). The narrator establishes
that before we had learned that our bodies were functioning mechanisms of our brain in action. Giving us less trouble in getting to know the full functionality of our body and the mix up of getting to know our inner soul.

Posted by: Peter Grana at April 9, 2014 09:30 AM

Peter Grana

Love and Desire in Literature

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

8, April 2014

Question #7

Part I: What, according to the narrator, is the “heaviest of burdens”? Is it a good thing, or, a bad thing, according to the narrator? Is the answer decisive, or not?

Answer:

When the narrator describes the “heaviest of burdens” he reflects this to living an infinite number of times; “We are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross.” (Kundera 3). The narrator leaves this to believe that resurrection in living for eternity is being held to a consistent run of relentless responsibility upon the immortal being.

Posted by: Peter Grana at April 9, 2014 09:31 AM

Christopher Lavie Mienandy
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
9 April 2014

QUESTION #76:
The narrator writes, “Marie-Anne began whistling a tune. The painter was speaking slowly and with great concentration and did not hear the whistling.” For this question, (a.) identify WHO Marie-Anne is and (b.) WHY she was whistling.

ANSWER:
Marie-Anne is the daughter of Franz: “Franz heard his eighteen-year-old daughter, Marie-Anne” (Kundera 54). Marie-Anne is whistling loud because two men were speaking about politics and she does not like that topic:” I don't like to hear people talk about politics” (Kundera 54).

Posted by: christopher lavie mienandy at April 9, 2014 10:35 PM

Pauline Helgesson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
10 April 2014

Part 3 Question #74

In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “CEMETERY” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

ANSWER:

One of the misunderstood words between Sabina and Franz in Part 3, is the word Cemetery. Franz thinks cemeteries are ugly dumps of stones and bones, while Sabina adores them. Cemeteries are the only thing she likes about her own country, and she describes them as peaceful, flowering gardens where silence can be found even in wartime.

All words have unique, and often completely opposite meaning depending on whom you talk to, and how a person defines them. In this case, Franz and Sabina are two different characters with own thoughts and opinions, which make them interpret the word cemetery very differently.

Posted by: Pauline Helgesson at April 10, 2014 04:09 PM

Hosameddine Elnehmani
Dr. B. Lee Hobbes
ENG-210 Love and desire in literature CA01
11 April 2014

QUESTION # 85:

Part IV: Who is/was Jan Prochazka, and what happened to him? Why is his backstory of any significance to the narrative?

ANSWER:
Jan Prochazka is a forty-year-old Czech novelist with the strength and vitality of an ox, began criticizing public affairs vociferously even before 1968 (Kundera 133). He became one of the best-loved figures of the Prague Spring, that dizzying liberalization of communism that ended with the Russian invasion (Kundera 133).

Posted by: Hosameddine at April 10, 2014 07:26 PM

Hosameddine Elnehmani
Dr. B. Lee Hobbes
ENG-210 Love and desire in literature CA01
11 April 2014

QUESTION # 60:
Part III: What is a “Bowler hat”? The narrator makes a five-point argument for what Sabina’s bowler hat symbolized. Quote passage from the text as your evidence, but summarize, in your own words, each of the narrator’s five arguments.

ANSWER:
Well, first starting with the “bowler hat” it is a hat with a round shaped like a dome crown. According to Sabina, the bowler hat no longer signified a joke; it signified violence; violence against Sabina, against her dignity as a woman. She saw her bare legs and these panties with her public triangle showing through. The “bowler hat” symbolizes imagery, and allegory (Kundera 86). The first was a vague reminder of a forgotten grandfather. The second was a memento of her father. The third was a prop for her love games with Tomas. The fourth was a sign of her originality, which she was cultivated. The fifth, now since she reached the last it is sentimental object (Kundera 87).

Posted by: Hosameddine at April 10, 2014 07:27 PM

Christopher Lavie Mienandy
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
9 April 2014

QUESTION #105:
In this question, explain (a.) what the Czechs did to all of their street signs after the Soviets invaded their country, and why, and (b.) what the Soviets did in response. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

ANSWER:
When the Soviets invaded their country, the Czechs removed all the street signs to disorient the Russian invaders who were not able to find their way in every city in Czechoslovakia: “People in every city and town had pulled down the street signs; sign posts had disappeared. […]. Whenever they asked, they would get either a shrug of the shoulders or false names and directions. “ (Kundera 85).

Posted by: christopher lavie mienandy at April 10, 2014 07:36 PM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
10 April 2014

QUESTION #75:
The narrator writes, "'It was there that I began to divide books into day books and night books,' she went on. 'Really, there are books meant for daytime reading and books that can only be read at night.'" For this question, (a.) Identify WHO is speaking in this passage and (b.) WHEN or WHERE this person began this peculiar habit.

ANSWER:
Franz's wife, Marie-Claude, was explaining to the sculptor how she was once in an accident. "I was in a serious accident once, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And I've never had more fun than when I was in that hospital! I couldn't sleep a wink, so I just read and read, day and night" (Kundera 104-105). Marie-Claude is speaking in this particular passage, and she begins this peculiar habit while she is admitted in the hospital from her serious accident.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 10, 2014 07:55 PM

Pauline Helgesson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
10 April 2014

Part 4 Question #96

Who was the “tall man” that Tereza met on day at the bar? What did he do for her? Why was she grateful? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

ANSWER:

While Tereza is working as a bartender, a tall man comes in rescuing her while she is being harassed. He is working as an engineer, and she ends up having an affair with him. The purpose of having an affair with this man was to come closer to her husband Tomas. Instead, she finds out he is a police agent hired to gather potential blackmailing material.

"Did her adventure with the engineer teach her that casual sex has nothing to do with love? That it is light, weightless? Was she calmer now? Not in the least" (Kundera, 159)

This passage from part 4 chapter 21, proves that having an affair with another man does not help the relationship with your husband. Tereza was grateful for his help at first, which slowly fades out.

Posted by: Pauline Helgesson at April 10, 2014 07:57 PM

Will Fumero
Dr. Hobbs
4/10/14
ENG 210-cl

64. PART III: What is a lexicon? For what reason did the narrator say s/he could compile one? Who and what would it be based on, and why? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain it in your own words.

Answer: A lexicon is the vocabulary of a person or their way of speaking, such as a language. In an other definition, it is defined as a dictionary of a certain group. Brought up on page 44, the narrator states that he could compile a lexicon/dictionary of Franz and Sabina’s misunderstood words. Words such as “woman”, ”fidelity”, and “betrayal” are interpreted differently by the two. One example with the word “woman”, where Franz defines a woman like that of his mother, and Sabina defines it as just another living being with feminine traits.

Posted by: William Fumero at April 10, 2014 11:15 PM

Marie Ryan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature
11 April 2014

Question 69: PART III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a "A short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words." Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarized and explain, in your own words,(1.) what the concept "LIGHT AND DARKNESS" means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: Sabina views light as "seeing". Since in her words "seeing is limited by two borders" which basically allow little to no vision. She therefore does not like either "extremism". Franz, on the other hand, views light as "evoked the source of light itself. In his view darkness means "infinity". However for Sabi

Posted by: Marie Ryan at April 10, 2014 11:23 PM

Will Fumero
Dr. Hobbs
4/10/14
ENG 210-cl

88. PART IV: What subject did Tereza find herself photographing after the Soviet invasion of her country? Why? What did they represent to her (and the Russian Soldiers)?

Answer: She would photograph the young women of Prague flashing their legs and features to the Russian soldiers (pg.69). For her, they represent a “young, sexual vengeance” and a thirst for satisfaction coming from the young women in response to the troops invasion. For the troops themselves, They were untouchable delicacies that were almost foreign or alien to them, due to what appeared to be a lack of fine women in Russia (pg. 69).

Posted by: William Fumero at April 10, 2014 11:25 PM

Daniella Zacarias
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature CA01
10.4.2014
Question #62

28.
Part III: We have already met the pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides in part one. Look up Heraclitus. Who was he? What does he have to do with Part Three of this novel and, more importantly, Sabina’s bowler hat? Quote from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.
ANSWER.
Heraclitus is a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who came up with the saying, "No man ever steps in the same river twice." Heraclitus is quoted in Part III, section 2, after the hat’s significance is explained. The bowler hat is a re-occurring theme with Sabina, “each time the same object would give rise to a new meaning, though all former meaning would resonate [. . .] together with the new one.” (Kundera 88).

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at April 10, 2014 11:34 PM

Daniella Zacarias
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature CA01
10.4.2014
Question #90
90.
Part IV: Explain why “the remains of Old Town hall” reminded Tereza of her mother. What does one have to do with the other? Why is this information that is revealed in this comparison, significant for the readers’ understanding of Tereza’s character?
ANSWER.
“Gazing at the remains of Old Town Hall, Tereza was suddenly reminded of her mother; that perverse need one has to expose one’s ruins, [. . .] and force the whole world to look at it.” (Kundera 136). Tereza, is beginning to be reminded of her mother in just about everything she sees, however the significance of Town Hall is that the building is in ruins and nothing is done to fix them up; very much like what Tereza’s mother was like. She, Tereza’s mother, almost enjoyed her and her child’s suffering and exposing that suffering to anyone who would be willing to hear/see it. Tereza’s character seems to be consistently suffering from her mother’s psychological “beatings;” she stares at her reflection as though still, even after not having any communication with her mother for ten years, she cannot get over her complexes. It is those complexes which she developed as a child which keep her from fully confronting Tomas about his affair, and instead blames her body for having “failed to become the only body for Tomas.”(Kundera 139-140).

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at April 11, 2014 12:00 AM

Marie Ryan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210Cl Love & Desire in Literature
11 April 2014

Question 69: PART III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a "A short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words." Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarized and explain, in your own words,(1.) what the concept "LIGHT AND DARKNESS" means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer: Sabina views light as “seeing”. Since “seeing is limited by two borders”, which to allow little to no vision. She therefore, strongly dislikes both “extemisms”. Franz, on the hand views light as “evoked the source of light itself”. According to him darkness means “infinity”, whereas to Sabina it means “disagreement with what she saw”. The two words are misunderstood because neither Franz nor Sabina are on the same page with the meaning of each word. Both characters have their own definition of the words and don’t plan on seeing anyone else’s take on what the words could mean. (Kundera 95).

Question 104: Explain the bizarre situation with the crow Tereza found? What was happening when she arrived at the scene. How did this little subplot play out? Quote passages from the text as evidence, but explain in your own words.

Answer: When Tereza arrived the crow had been buried alive by a group of boys. Tereza undug the bird only to find that it could not walk or fly. In support of this the author writes, “At last she succeeded in pulling the crow out of its grave. But the crow was lame and could neither walk nor fly” (Kundera 159). After this Tereza proceeds to bring the crow home with her, and tries to help it on the floor of her bathroom. The crow, however, is too injured and ultimately dies.

Posted by: Marie Ryan at April 11, 2014 12:26 AM

Devon Bell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
April 11, 2014

Question: # 65
In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “WOMAN” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer:
The concept Woman is one who should be respected. The word woman, on which he had placed such uncommon emphasis, did not, in his eyes, signify one of the two human sexes (Kundera 44). To call an individual a woman was a great sign of respect, Franz and Sabina would not consider all females women, one would have to earn the respect to be called a woman. A specific type of behavior is expected to earn the title woman. Even if an individual does not respect the person for who they are, if they behave in the way of a woman, she must be respected. The word is misunderstood, mainly because most would assume that any female is technically a woman, however, that is not the case in this situation.

Posted by: Devon Bell at April 11, 2014 12:33 AM

Devon Bell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
April 11, 2014

Question: # 100
What is a “flat”? Why did Tereza like seeing the Engineer’s collection of books at his flat? What did it mean to her? Why did she take this a sign that the Engineer was harmless? Quote

Answer:
A flat is a place in which someone lives, his or her residence. The entire flat consisted of a single room with a curtain setting off the first five or six feet from the rest and therefore forming a kind of makeshift anteroom (Kundera 79). The collection of books lying about in the Engineer’s home, gave Tereza a rather comforting feeling. From childhood, she had regarded books as the emblems of a secret brotherhood. A man with this sort of library could not possibly hurt her (Kundera 79). Tereza knew that she was in a safe environment with the Engineer. She figured that an individual who owned a collection of books, as to the ones the Engineer had dwelling about his flat, would be a harmless person.

Posted by: Devon Bell at April 11, 2014 12:34 AM

Franck Bayebanen
Dr. Bursgbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love & Desire in Literature
11 April, 2014
Question: What were the “questions that had been going through Tereza’s head since she was a
child”? What made them “serious” questions? Quote passages from the text as your evidence,
but, explain in your own words.
Answer:
The questions that had been going through tereza’s head since she was a child are : Then what was the relationship between Tereza and her body? Had her body the right to call itself Tereza? And if not, then what did the name refer to? Merely something incorporeal, intangible? These questions are serious because they are naive. Some questions have no answer and set the boundaries of humans limits.

Posted by: Franck Bayebanen at April 11, 2014 01:05 AM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
11 April 2014

QUESTION 45: Why did Tereza take a train to Prague? How did she do it? What was her plan? What did she do when she got there? Explain and support your answer with quoted snippets from the text.

ANSWER: Tereza took a train to Prague in order to visit Tomas. According to the author, most of the reason she went “was the call of all those fortuities (the book, Beethoven, the number six, the yellow park bench) which gave her the courage to leave home and change her fate” (Kundera 51). When she gets to Prague the first time she goes, she calls Tomas when she is at the station (Kundera 53). Then, when they were together, they kissed each other and eventually had sex as well (Kundera 53).
Tereza then goes to Prague again with the plan of not going back to the place where she is from (Kundera 53). The first night she gets into town, she stays at “a cheap hotel” (Kundera 53). The night after that she stays at Tomas’ house, and they have sex once again, during which Teresa screams (Kundera 53-54). She ends up going to sleep there, in bed with Tomas after the two have sex, and “she held his hand all night” (Kundera 54).

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at April 11, 2014 08:27 AM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
11 April 2014

QUESTION #91:
What is a "concentration camp"? Explain why living with her mother was, for Tereza, like living in a concentration camp. What does one have to do with the other? Why is the information that is revealed in this simile for the readers' understanding of Tereza's character?

ANSWER:
"A concentration camp is a world in which people live crammed together constantly, night and day" (Kundera 137). However, Tereza living with her mother was like living in a concentration camp because living with her mother involved a "complete obliteration of privacy" (Kundera 137). Tereza's mother once obliterated Tereza's privacy by reading her diary to several people, which is how living in a concentration camp and living with Tereza's mother are related to one another. The information that is revealed in this simile is very significant to understanding Tereza's character because it shows that she is a strong-willed character. A concentration camp is "a given into which we are born and from which we can escape only with the greatest of efforts" (Kundera 137).

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 11, 2014 08:53 AM

Peter Grana

Love and Desire in Literature

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

9, April 2014

Question #73

Part III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “Sabina’s Country” means to both Franz (2.) Why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer:

The concept of Sabina’s country comes from the attraction she had “by the alien quality of New York’s beauty” (Kundera 52). This means to both that Sabina and Franz have different views on the perspective of “unintentional beauty” of America; “Sabina’s Country”. It is misunderstood because Franz has “distaste for America. He was the embodiment of Europe: His mother was Viennese, his father French, and he himself was Swiss.” (Kundera 52).

Posted by: Peter Grana at April 11, 2014 09:21 AM

Peter Grana

Love and Desire in Literature

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

9, April 2014

Question #84

Part IV: For this question, (a.) Explain what the Czechs did to all of their street signs after the soviets invaded their country and why and (b.) what the Soviets did in response. What is the significance of this?

Answer:

The Czech’s “had pulled down the street signs; sign posts had disappeared. Overnight, the country had become nameless.” (Kundera 85). In response, the Soviets “had taken from Russian geography, from Russian history” (Kundera 85) and replaced the names upon the nameless streets.

Posted by: Peter Grana at April 11, 2014 09:23 AM

Kyle McLeish and Peter Grana
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
11 April 2014

"Misunderstood Words" Music:

1. We normally describe music as a hobby or passion. Some may consider music as a science due to the compact depth. Music can trigger your emotions by making you feel happy or sad.

2. For Franz Music was the art that comes closest to Dionysian beauty in the sense of intoxication. He considered music a liberating force. Music releases is inhabitation. Kundera uses casual conversation to describe how music relates to the person in the novel.

3. He uses these words as concepts that you would talk about in a relationship with a companion. His definition is effective as we are able to understand the concepts through the conversation of the characters.

Posted by: Kyle McLeish at April 11, 2014 10:12 AM

Shamera Bryant
Daniella Zacarias
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature CA01
11.4.2014
On the Misunderstood Word, “Cemetery”
QUESTION.
Part III: Explain how the author defines the word “cemetery,” how is it different from your definition? What method does Kundera use to define the concept? Is it effective?
ANSWER.
We tend to define the word “cemetery” as a dark place, not a place of happiness, but definitely a place where there is peace. In colloquial use, “cemetery” has a negative connotation. Kundera’s narrator opposes this common definition by describing a cemetery as a “children’s balls, because the dead are as innocent as children.” (Kundera 104). He still uses the word “peaceful” to define a cemetery, and so does the majority of the audience; however, the word “peaceful” is also not conforming to its positive implication; Kundera uses it as a positive word, while the general audience does not.
The narrator also expands on the word by explaining how the characters, Sabina and Franz, view it. Sabina’s take on cemeteries is a positive one; “The only word that evoked in her sweet, nostalgic memory of her homeland was the word “cemetery.” (Kundera 104). In contrast for Franz “a cemetery was an ugly dump of stones and bones.”(Kundera 104).
Kundera uses comparisons and descriptions to define what a cemetery means. By comparing a cemetery to a children’s ball and describing the garden-like appeal it has to the character of Sabina, we, the audience, get a sense that the cemetery is not such a bad place, as it is usually connected to. This use of comparing and describing, instead of just defining, makes for a useful method of explanation; Kundera does not tell us, he shows the audience what he means.

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at April 11, 2014 12:09 PM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
11 April 2014

QUESTION # 71. In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “PARADES” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

ANSWER: (1.) “PARADES,” in Sabina’s mind, is a rather negative word since she had to take part in demanding parades because “she was forced by him[her father] to attend meetings of the Communist Youth League” (Kundera 99). According to the description of the parades Sabina was a part of, they do not sound as if they were pleasant experiences for her (Kundera 99). Apparently, “she could never keep in step, and the girl behind her would shout at her and purposely tread on her heels” (Kundera 99). On the other hand, Franz had good experiences with parades (Kundera 99). He mentions that “how nice it was to celebrate something, demand something, protest against something; to be out in the open to be with others” ( Kundera 99). Therefore, he obviously relates parades to pleasant thoughts. Apparently, Franz participated in each demonstration that he could participate in (Kundera 99). (2.) Because of the difference in the two characters’ meanings, this fact shows that there can be various ways to view a parade (Kundera 99-100). Also, the narrator mentions how Sabina “would never be able to make them understand” the way she viewed the parades (Kundera 100).

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at April 11, 2014 12:25 PM

Paige Fowler
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
12 April 2014

Question 114/Part V
What is the difference between the word “refute” and the word “retract”? Why did the chief surgeon say that, when it comes to an idea, the execution of ONE of these words is impossible? Which word, and why? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer:
To “refute” means to deny the claim or not to take ownership, however to retract means a public statement is made about an earlier statement to withdraw or cancel the previous statement. The chief surgeon describes the word “retract” as impossible because once it is out there it is hard to take it back, but it is possible to refute because you can deny or not take ownership of that claim. “How can anyone state categorically that a thought he once had is no longer valid? In modern times an idea can be refuted, yes, but not retracted.”(Kundera pdf 91).

Posted by: paige fowler at April 12, 2014 08:45 PM

Paige Fowler
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
12 April 2014

Question 143/Part VI
What does the narrator mean when s/he said, “whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch”? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understandings of the words “kitsch” AND “totalitarian” are (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
The narrator means that when a political party sees an opportunity to obtain power and rule. People find themselves “living” for the party. The party forces the rules and way of life causing the people to forget everything they once believed and once knew as their way of life. They fall prey to all the party demands. “When I say totalitarian, what I mean is that everything that infringes on kitsch must be banished for life…”. (Kundera pdf 132)

Posted by: paige fowler at April 12, 2014 08:46 PM

Paige Fowler
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
12 April 2014
Question 72/ Part III PART III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “THE BEAUTY OF NEW YORK” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer:
“The Beauty of New York” to Sibina meant taking in all the “lightness” of New York. She loved the different atmosphere and that the things that could be seen as ugly can be seen as Beauty by Mistake. She compares it to something she love to do like painting and secretly this what made her happy. On the other hand, Franz sees “the Beauty of New York” as something new and out of his comfort zone. Everything reminds him of home and that the only beauty he sees in New York. “Sabina was very much attracted by the alien quality of New York's beauty. Franz found it intriguing but frightening; it made him feel homesick for Europe.” (Kundera pdf 52).

Posted by: paige fowler at April 12, 2014 08:47 PM

Paige Fowler
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
12 April 2014
Question 86/Part IV
What was Tereza’s secret that she kept at fourteen? Why did she have it? How did it backfire on her? Who discovered her secret? What was the result? What does this backstory of Tereza have to do with the conversation Tomas was just having with her?
Answer:
Tereza kept a secret diary at fourteen that she used to write all what she felt and her pains down for no one to see. She kept it in the attic and one day her mother found it. As a result her mother read everything at the dinner table causing everyone at the table to laugh beyond their control. This background story is significant to Thomas and Tereza conversation because just how her siblings laughed at her for what she had written, rather than them seeing something wrong with their mother making fun of someone else privacy. That more emphasis was placed on Prochazka rather than the secret-police. “ I know a precedent, said Tereza. When I was fourteen I kept a secret diary…” (Kundera pdf 68)

Posted by: paige fowler at April 12, 2014 08:50 PM

Pauline Helgesson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
12 April 2014

Part 5 Question #116

What is a “conformist”? Was Tomas a conformist? Why or why not? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

ANSWER:

The word conformist comes from the old French word conformer, which means agreeable. A conformist is a person who follows traditional standards of conduct. If you are a conformist, it is very unlikely you would join a revolution to overthrow your government; instead you would protect the government’s thoughts and opinions.

When Tomas boss asked him to sign a paper retracting an article he wrote in 1968, Tomas refused. The politically dangerous article was criticizing the Czech communists. The fact that Tomas did not want to sign the paper to retract the article shows that he is not a conformist.

“You know what’s at stake, said the chief surgeon. He knew, all right. There were two things in the balance: his honor (which consisted in his refusing to retract what he had said) and what he had come to call the meaning of his life (his work in medicine and research)” (Kundera, 179).

Posted by: Pauline Helgesson at April 12, 2014 09:48 PM

Hosameddine Elnehmani
Dr. B. Lee Hobbes
ENG-210 Love and desire in literature CA01
14 April 2014

QUESTION # 118:
Part V: According to the narrator, is a doctor judged differently than actors or politicians? If so, how? Explain. Quote passages from the text as you evidence, but explain in your own words.

ANSWER:
According to the narrator, he says, “A doctor (unlike a politician or an actor) is judged only by his patients and immediate colleagues, that is, behind closed doors, man to man. Confronted by the looks of those who judge him, he can respond at once with his own look, to explain or defend himself” (Kundera 183). The doctor cannot be judged easily as many of us nowadays judge politicians quickly, but the doctor is in the higher position because he has answers to the questions we ask.

Posted by: Hosameddine at April 13, 2014 11:32 AM

Hosameddine Elnehmani
Dr. B. Lee Hobbes
ENG-210 Love and desire in literature CA01
14 April 2014

QUESTION # 151:

PART VI: what is “playacting”? What was the stated goal of the petition organized by the Prague editor? How was the stated goal different from the actual goal (consider the context of this passage)? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

ANSWER:
The editor in Prague who organized the petition for the amnesty of political prisoner he knew perfectly well that his petition would not help the prisoners. His true goal was not to free the prisoner; it was to show that people without fear still exist. That, too, was playacting (Kundera 268). The editor knew that he could never change the prisoners mind even though it was his main goal to achieve that. His choice was between acting and no action at all. Normally people who arrive in prison first couple of months are fearful, but after a while, it proves that people without fear of death still exist. I believe that they are not afraid to lose anything.

Posted by: Hosameddine at April 13, 2014 11:33 AM

Pauline Helgesson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
13 April 2014

Part 6 Question #145

Explain what the narrator means when she/he said, “Tereza’s dream reveals the true function of kitsch”? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own word.

ANSWER:

According to the narrator, "Kitsch is the absolute denial of shit both in the literal and figurative senses of the word" (Kundera, 248). It is necessary for kitsch to blind its followers not only to shit but to death as well in order to promote this agreement with being.

"Tereza's dream reveals the true function of kitsch: kitsch is a folding screen set up to curtain off death" (Kundera 253).

Kitsch teaches us to ascribe higher meanings to our lives beyond shit or death. There was nothing Tereza could do about her situation in her dream. If she would speak up, the man standing in the basket above the pool, would have shot her.

Posted by: Pauline Helgesson at April 13, 2014 12:04 PM

Will Fumero, Sam Elnehmani, Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literautre CA01
13 April 2014

Part Three "Misunderstood Words": Fidelity and Betrayal

Answer:
Fidelity and betrayal are two polar opposite definitions. Fidelity deals with the faithfulness to a person that is demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support to that person. Betrayal, on the other hand, deals with the disloyalty toward a person. In this part of misunderstood words, the narrator wants us to understand these two words between Franz and Sabina.

In Franz's mind, "fidelity gave a unity to lives that would otherwise splinter into thousands of split-second impressions" (Kundera 91). He truly thought this would win Sabina over, as it should to any person. However, "Sabina was charmed more by betrayal than by fidelity" (Kundera 91). This is most definitely conflicting as fidelity is the more preferred hegemony as opposed to betrayal.

Although Kundera does not use a traditional dictionary to define these terms, he uses such imagery and anecdotal information with Franz and Sabina to define these terms. With Franz, Kundera uses past stories of his mother to try and win Sabina over with this characteristic of fidelity (Kundera 91). Likewise, Kundera uses Sabina's past experiences with her father to express how much of a blessing betraying her home was (Kundera 92).

As a group, we thought these two terms, fidelity and betrayal, are the most important terms in this novel because essentially, this is what the entire novel is genuinely based on. Tereza and Marie-Claude, for example, are loyal to their husbands. However, Tomas and Franz are betraying their wives for Sabina. Since this is what the books primarily focuses on, it is important that Kundera stressed these two terms in a such a way that two characters had opposing view points on each definition.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 13, 2014 12:28 PM

Kyle McLeish
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
13 April 2014

2.PART I:
The narrator, when speaking of a hypothetical war between two kingdoms, says that by
recurring eternally,
“it will become a solid mass,
permanently protuberant, its inanity irreparable.”
First explain what the words “protuberant” and “inanity” mean. Then paraphrase this sentence in
your own words, without using the words “protuberant” and “inanity.

Answer:
Protuberant is something that is bulging or protruding and inanity is a lack of sense or significance of ideas. Inanity can also mean something insane or shallow. The paraphrase sentence would read "Africa would become one and would be a permanent problem that would be insanely hard to understand.

Posted by: Kyle McLeish at April 13, 2014 04:13 PM

Kyle McLeish
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
13 April 2014

Question 47: Who is Sabina? When does she come into the story, and why? What is her purpose? Whom does she help or hurt and why?

Answer:
Sabina is a painter and she understood Tomas the best (Kundera, 8). Sabina got Tereza a job in Prague. Tomas said he never had a better friend as a mistress then Sabina. Sabina was one of Tomas mistress that helped him (Kundera, 8).

Posted by: Kyle McLeish at April 13, 2014 04:20 PM

Kyle McLeish
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
13 April 2014

77.
PART III:
In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderst
ood Words.”
Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the
concept “
AN OLD CHURCH IN AMSTERDAM
” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a
misunderstood word.

Answer:
Franz was fascinated by the old church and the emptiness of the church fascinated him. How people were separated into different classes based on money. Sabina had found beauty at the church during a service while she was riding a motorcycle (Kundera 58). The church itself wasn't that beautiful, but was more beautiful then the construction site. The word is misunderstood because it has multiple meanings. Franz sees the hatred that took place their and connects with that while Sabina sees the beauty that can be found in the scenes if you look for it(Kundera 58).

Posted by: Kyle McLeish at April 13, 2014 04:32 PM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
13 April 2014

QUESTION #130:
What is the "millionth part" that the narrator keeps going on about in his discussion of Tomas and all the women he has slept with? Why is this "millionth part" important to Tomas? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

ANSWER:
The "millionth part" that the narrator speaks of is in regards to a "one-millionth part dissimiliarity to nine hundreded ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine millionts part similarity" (Kundera 199). The narrator clarifies that humans have more similarites than differences, and the "millionth part" correlates with these differences. This "millionth part" is important to Tomas because it was a desire "for possession of the world that sent him in the pursuit of women" (Kundera 200). In other words, this "millionth part" is so important to him because sexual life is private, and that is something he is conquering in his mind. The feeling of conquer and power is something he is obsessed with, which is why he is obsessed with this "millionth part" between women and sex.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 13, 2014 04:47 PM

Kyle McLeish
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
13 April 2014

106.PART IV: What unfortunate event happened to Tereza during her tryst with the engineer that
was unbeknownst to her, until later? What was the purpose of it? Who was tryin
g to manipulate
her and for what purpose?

Answer:
Tereza was sent to her death up on Petrin Hill by Tomas(Kundera 78). She did not know what was going to happen to her until she arrived and saw they were killing people. They were only killing the people because it was their choice to be killed. They did not kill Tereza because she said it wasn't her choice to be killed (Kundera 79).

Posted by: Kyle McLeish at April 13, 2014 04:53 PM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
13 April 2014

QUESTION #153:
The narrator says that people "all need someone to look at" them and that everyone "can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under." Identify and summarize the SECOND category, spoken of by the narrator. In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

ANSWER:
"The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes" (Kundera 270). Unlike people in the first category, people in the second category "can always come up with the eyes they need" (Kundera 270). These kinds of people sound as if they constantly need to be looked at in such a way, but do not have a problem getting the attention that they need.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 13, 2014 05:04 PM

Kyle McLeish
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
13 April 2014

109. PART V:
What is the dispute mentioned by the narrator about the shouting matches between
the accused (the Communists) and those who were accusing them? Explain. What single question
did it narrow down to, in the end, according to the narrator? Explain. Quote passages from the
text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
The party that was accusing the Russians were making statements that Russians are responsible for the problems in the Czech Republic (Kundera 90). The Russians were responding that they didnt know "We were deceived." The Russians felt they were innocent (Kundera 90). In the end the single question was did they really know or were the merely making believe (Kundera 90)? The Czech didn't know if the Russians were telling the truth and were pondering if they were lying.

Posted by: Kyle McLeish at April 13, 2014 09:11 PM

Brianne M. Waller and Frank Bayebanan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL: Love & Desire in Literature
13 April 2014
Kendura
Question #6: “The Beauty of New York”
Answer: Our group described “The Beauty of New York” as a place of forward thinking with bright lights, man-made tall buildings, and advanced technology also known as ”the city that never sleeps”. Kendura’s definition on the other hand is more compassionate. He describes New York as an “unintentional beauty” and something that holds “beauty by mistake”. Some parts of our definition and the more in depth version of Kendura’s conflict such as the idea of the City “[rising] independent of human design”. We believe that the essence of the City still became what it is because of humans and culture not because of something universal or something as complex as fate. We do believe that is how Kendura wishes us to see New York, as something much more than what it physical appears, but he believes it is not in the same category as European beauty, it is an “alien world”. As we said before Kendura is more compassionate when it comes to describing “The Beauty of New York” which is why that adjective ties perfectly into that exact concept. I believe he chose “The Beauty of New York” as something to describe in his story because it is something that many people come far and wide to see, and he took his ideas and concepts and applied them to this iconic place so we could see how his mind unravels something that is described the same way all the time. This helped our understanding of the novel because now we see how he uses his words to describe something that we have seen and been to that is in our own backyard.

Posted by: Brianne Waller and Frank Bayebanen at April 13, 2014 09:18 PM

Kyle McLeish
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
13 April 2014

146. PART VI:
Why did Sabina protest the depiction of her in a
WestGerman catalogue about her art
work? Why did the Germans who created the catalogue “not understand her”? Explain the disputebut, understand, that to
correctly answer this question,
you need to be absolutely SURE you
understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this
passage).
In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
Sabina did not like the depicting due to the fact that she had superimposed barb wire on her (Kundera, 134). She was also portrayed as a martyr that she suffered and was forced to abandon her homeland. Sabina stated that her real enemy is kitsch (Kundra, 134). Kitsch is are that is mass produced and usually of a lower quality. Sabina was upset because the cataloger was grouping all of this art together.

Posted by: Kyle McLeish at April 13, 2014 09:31 PM

Brianne M. Waller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
13 April 2014
Kendura
Question #39 Part II: If you don’t know who Francis of Assisi is, look this person up on Wikipedia or a more reliable source. What is a fortuity? In your own words, paraphrase and explain what the narrator means when s/he writes, “If a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi’s shoulders.” In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to exactly?
Answer:
Fortuity is a moment of good luck or good fortune. The narrator means in the listed quote that if love is to be forever and true than good luck and fortune must occur to the couple all the time. St. Francis of Assisi was known for being a speaker to animals, which is why the narrator used that as a comparison. Animals would flock to him often. The narrator seems to be referring to that of love.

Posted by: Brianne M. Waller at April 13, 2014 09:39 PM

Marie Ryan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature
13 April 2014

Question 108: What basic truth is overlooked by anyone “who thinks that the Communist regimes of Central Europe are exclusively the work of criminals”? Explain. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The basic truth being overlooked is that the Communist regimes were the work of “enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise”. These people truly believed that they had a found the way to paradise. However, later on it was realized that there is no paradise on earth. This is when the enthusiasts became murders, and therefore, criminals. (Kundera 176)

Question 158: The end of part six compares and contrasts the deaths of two individuals. First, answers this question: What was the inscription that Marie-Claude had inscribed on her husband’s tombstone Then answer this follow-up question: What was the meaning of the expression and what was Marie-Claude’s reasoning for it? In you answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The inscription Marie-Claude has put on Franz tombstone is “A RETURN AFTER LONG WANDERINGS”. The reason she put this on his tombstone is because she knew that deep down it hurt Franz to leave her. Towards the end his life, while in the hospital he “thanked her with her with his eyes” and “begged to be forgiven”. The meaning of this expression can be seen as religious “ the wanderings being our earthly existence, the return our return to God’s embrace”. (Kundera 277).

Posted by: Marie Ryan at April 13, 2014 09:52 PM

Christopher Lavie Mienandy
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
13 April 2014

QUESTION #111:
In what way did the narrator connect the tale of Oedipus with Tomas’s dispute with the Communists? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

ANSWER:
I think that the narrator tries to show, by connecting the tale of Oedipus with Tomas’s dispute with the Communists, that some people are responsible for their actions even if they were not aware of the consequences at that time: “And the accused responded: We didn't know! We were deceived! We were true believers! Deep in our hearts we are innocent!” (Kundera 89).

Posted by: christopher lavie mienandy at April 13, 2014 10:27 PM

Daniella Zacarias
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature CA01
13.4.2014
Question #115
115.
Part V: Why does the topic of “smiles” suddenly enter the narration of this story? Who is smiling, and why? What does it mean? Quote the passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.
ANSWER.
The topic of “smiles” first begins with the statement, “These people began to smile and curious smiles.” (Kundera 181). The word “curious” lets the reader know that these smiles are not from a pleased or kind nature, they instead are described as “the sheepish smile of secret conspiratorial consent.” (Kundera 181). The narrator is telling its audience that the people surrounding Tomas are not smiling because they are happy for him, they are smiling because his conforming to what the chief surgeon is “proof that cowardice was slowly but surely becoming the norm [. . .]. He had never been friends with these people [. . .].” (Kundera 181).

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at April 13, 2014 11:33 PM

Brianne M. Waller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
13 April 2014
Kendura
Question #126 Part V: Explain why the narrator, when trying to explain the tendency to diving people into categories, made the generalization that every, “Frenchman is different” but “all actors the world over are similar.” What did s/he mean? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer: I believe the narrator made this generalization because he believes that actors are people born as actors. They cannot escape that fate, it is what they are good at, something that “has nothing to do with talent…goes deeper than talent…” This is something they are born to do, but they have to consciously make the decision to allow them to tap into the natural ability that is their own.

Posted by: Brianne M. Waller at April 13, 2014 11:48 PM

Chelsea Dickenson & Marie Ryan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
Pair Work Activity

7. “Sabina’s Country”

The section my group was assigned is “Sabina’s Country” found on page 109 of the instructor’s edition. When first reading this phrase, our understanding was that the following passage was going to discuss the country in which Sabina was from originally. Instead, the narrator contrasts Franz and Sabina’s view of this country, known as Czechoslovakia. To Franz, Sabina’s home country seems extremely appealing and sees people in this country as living a “real-life”, whereas Sabina perceives Czechoslovakia as an ugly place. When comparing our definition of Sabina’s country to the characters definition, our understanding is very general and broad. When speaking of the character’s understanding of the country, their views are more specific.
Kundera uses stories and two characters perspectives to define the word itself. This method is effective for his purpose of showing that this phrase is misunderstood. However, in general it is not effective in giving the word a solid definition that both characters can agree on. The author chose this word specifically the reveal more of the character’s personality. The discussion of this phrase helped us to understand the story between Franz and Sabina, but it did not help much in the overall story.

Posted by: Chelsea Dickenson at April 14, 2014 12:03 AM

Brianne M. Waller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL: Love & Desire in Literature
13 April 2014
Question #141 Part VI: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, “In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme”? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer: The narrator describes kitsch as, “the absolute denial of shit.” Therefore s/he is saying that when it comes to the terms of love and the heart the idea of “fluff” in life like sentimentality infiltrates you. You cannot escape kitsch unless you set your life up to be void of love.

Posted by: Brianne M. Waller at April 14, 2014 12:18 AM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Lee B. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire CA01
12 April 2014

QUESTION #56:
Part III: What, according to the narrator, do lovers “unconsciously establish” in their relationships? How did Sabina break those rules in the scene described by the narrator? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

ANSWER:
According to the narrator, lovers “unconsciously establish their own rule of the game” (Kundera 41). Sabine broke those rules in the scene described by the narrator because the look she gave “was neither provocative nor flirtatious [as it is supposed to be according to their rules], simply interrogative” (Kundera 42). To me, the look she gave broke their rules because I think that their rules were not to be attached, not to have feelings for one another. It seems like their relation is purely physical, they are looking for physical pleasure without knowing anything else.

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at April 14, 2014 12:31 AM

Franck Bayebanen
Dr. Bursgbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love & Desire in Literature
14 April, 2014
Question: Why did the narrator ask the question, “isn’t making love merely an eternal repetition of the same?” How did s/he answer that question. Why is this significant? Quote passages from the text as your evidence , but explain in your own words.
Answer: The quote simply underlines the fact that sex doesn’t bring you the perfect idyll, it is just the repetition of something you keep doing over and aver without finding the real love you need in reality. The narrator underlines the fact that Tomas is looking at the women in order to find the unimaginable “When he saw a woman in her clothes, he could naturally imagine more or less what she would look like naked (his experience as a doctor supplementing his experience as a lover), but between the approximation of the idea and the precision of reality there was a small gap of the unimaginable, and it was this hiatus that gave him no rest.” (Kundera 104). This passage is significant because it reveals us how Tomaz’s vision of the process of love making.

Posted by: Franck Bayebanen at April 14, 2014 12:31 AM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Lee B. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire CA01
12 April 2014

QUESTION #89:
Part IV: According to the narrator, why did the citizens of Prague leave their Old Town Hall “in ruins”? What was the point? What does this say about the collective character of the citizens of Prague?
ANSWER:
According to the narrator, the citizens of Prague left their Old Town Hall in ruins “so that no Pole or German could accuse them of having suffered less than their share” (Kundera 70). The point was not to forget the city had suffered like every other cities such as Warsaw, Dresden, Berlin, Cologne or Budapest. This says about the collective character of the citizens of Prague that it is kind of ashamed of the fact it only had lost the Old Town Hall, whereas other cities lost almost everything during the war.

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at April 14, 2014 12:32 AM

Daniella Zacarias
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature CA01
13.4.2014
Question #115
115.
Part VI:. What, according to the narrator, is the “real” enemy of Sabina, according to her own statements? Why is that her enemy, instead of what the West Germans thought it would be? To correctly answer this question, you need to be absolutely SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words
ANSWER.
Kundera’s narrator explain that “‘Kitsch’ is a German word born in the middle of the sentimental nineteenth century, and from German it enterered all Western languages. Repeated use, however, has obliterated it original metaphysical [abstract] meaning; kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and the figurative senses of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence.” (Kundera 248). With that explanation and the statement later on mentioned, that Sabina always rebelled against Communist ideals, or Communist/Soviet kitsch. “The feeling Soviet kitsch evoked in Sabina strikes me as very much like the horror Tereza experienced in her dream of being marched around a swimming pool with a group of naked women and forced to sing [. . .].” (Kundera 253). In other words, Sabina’s true fear, is that she may not be able to express her originality/creativity, and instead be forced to follow the sameness of others. She fears losing the “I” or “self.”

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at April 14, 2014 12:44 AM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Lee B. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire CA01
14 April 2014

QUESTION #121:
Part V: What is tragicomedy? What is the tragicomic “fact” mentioned by the narrator, and why is it tragicomic? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
ANSWER:
Tragicomedy is defined as “a play, movie, situation, etc. that is both sad and funny.” The tragicomic fact mentioned by the narrator is the fact “our proper upbringing has become an ally of the secret service” (Kundera 96). It is tragicomic in the sense that our mamas told us not to lie and tell the truth in order to be a good person, but finally this property is going to do a disservice to us. It is both funny because of the irony of the situation (telling the truth in this case is making Tomas a traitor rather than a good person), and it is sad because of the repercussion of non-ability to lie.

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at April 14, 2014 12:46 AM

Franck Bayebanen
Dr. Bursgbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01 Love & Desire in Literature
14 April, 2014
Question: The narrator says that people “all need someone to look at” them and that everyone “can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under.” Identify and summarize the THIRD category, spoken of by the narrator. In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer:
The narrator categorized the third category as the one where one cannot live without the other one “Then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love.” (Kundera 142). Plus the narrator places Tereza and Tomas in that particular category.

Posted by: Franck Bayebanen at April 14, 2014 12:48 AM

Devon Bell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
April 14, 2014

Question: # 120
Why did the people from the Ministry misunderstand what Tomas meant in his article that compared Czechoslovakian Communists to Oedipus Rex? What did they think he meant? What did he really mean? Why is this part of the story significant? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
The article Thomas wrote was expressing weather the communist knew what they were doing, He was not saying they were all bad and should punish themselves and walk away from the situation. He was expressing his thoughts; he wanted to know if an individual should still be punished for being ignorant on a particular topic. If a person does not know that they are doing something wrong, are they still guilty. The people thought he was saying they should feel terrible and take the guilt. Making it too schematic and aggressive (Kundera 90). The letter he wrote was shortened by a lot, it was basically given a new meaning. That meaning was taking offensively by many people.

Posted by: Devon Bell at April 14, 2014 12:56 AM

Devon Bell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
April 14, 2014

Question: # 156
The narrator says that people “all need someone to look at” them and that everyone “can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under.” Which category, according to the narrator, does “Tomas’s son” belong and why? What do we know/learn about Tomas’s son at this point in the novel? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
Thomas’s son was said to be a part of the fourth category, which is the category for individuals who live for the eyes of those who are not there. The eyes he longed for were Tomas's (Kundera 141) Thomas wants to believe his father is a good man. He does not ask for nothing from him, only for him to know that he exists. He does not have to see his father, he is content just knowing that he is close by, and maybe thinks of him.

Posted by: Devon Bell at April 14, 2014 12:57 AM

Devon Bell, Pauline Helgesson
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
April 14, 2014

Word: Parades

Response:
My partner and I both came to an agreement on the word parade, meaning a celebration, where large groups of people come together to express joy in a particular event. The narrator takes the word parade and gives it two meanings in the story, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Franz has one meaning while Sabina has another. Franz goes on displaying excitement when he speaks about parades. He defines parades in the way; an individual in modern America would describe it. Sabina has a different take on parades, disapproving them. She grew up with the communist party, where people were forced to attend theses events. She described parades as a gathering where people raised their fists and were constantly shouting. Good or bad, when one is forced to attend something, only the bad will come out of it. Sabina’s disapproval is understandable. Kundera seems to approach words by describing a lot of activity around the word, never truly giving a definition of a particular word. He wants the reader to figure out the meaning of the word, by simply reading. I find this to be a good method, so as long as an individual does not mind reading. The words he chose to explain are for the most part common words. He wanted to make sure they were not being used out of place, for one would need to read into them, to understand the meaning he is giving them.

Posted by: Devon Bell at April 14, 2014 12:58 AM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Lee B. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire CA01
14 April 2014

QUESTION #121:
Part VI: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, “The brotherhood of man on earth will be possible only on a base of kitsch. And no one know this better than politicians”? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
ANSWER:
Kitsch is defined as “things that are of low quality and that many people find amusing and enjoyable.” By saying that, the narrator means that politicians know the clichés and images everyone likes to see and enjoys. They know that “whenever a camera is in the offing, they immediately run to the nearest child, lift it in the air, kiss it on the cheek” (Kundera 132). They are using fake things, that are easy to reproduce to win the esteem of the people.

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at April 14, 2014 12:58 AM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
13 April 2014

QUESTION #153:
The narrator says that people "all need someone to look at" them and that everyone "can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under." Identify and summarize the SECOND category, spoken of by the narrator. In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

ANSWER:
"The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes" (Kundera 270). Unlike people in the first category, people in the second category "can always come up with the eyes they need" (Kundera 270). These kinds of people sound as if they constantly need to be looked at in such a way, but do not have a problem getting the attention that they need.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 14, 2014 08:06 AM

Shamera Bryant
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
12 April 2014
Question 67: PART III: The narrator writes, “Though a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, she was not allowed to paint like Picasso.” For this question, (a.) Who is the “painter” that the narrator is referring to? (b.) Why couldn’t the painter paint in a cubist or non-objective way?
Answer:
Sabina is the painter. She could not paint like Picasso because it was a period for communist statesmen. Communist was like another father who forbade her love and Picasso. “Her longing to betray her father remained unsatisfied: Communism was merely another father, a father equally strict and limited, a father who forbade her love (the times were puritanical) and Picasso” (Kundera 91).

Posted by: Shamera Bryant at April 14, 2014 08:49 AM

Shamera Bryant
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
12 April 2014
Question 98: PART IV: What did the man mean who said, “If it wasn't your choice, we can't do it. We haven't the right”? What is the context of this passage? What is going on? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer:
When the man said “if it wasn’t your choice, we can’t do it. We haven’t the right” (Kundera 150). He is meaning that he cannot shoot Tereza because is it not something that she asked of him. In the Passage Tereza is in an open field with trees and six other men. Of these six other men one have a rifle and is shooting the other men dead beside a tree of their choice. This was also intended for Tereza until she herself cried out “But it wasn’t my choice” (Kundera 150). “The man did not force her; he merely took her hand… he said kindly, as if apologizing to Tereza for not being able to shoot her if it was no her choice” (Kundera 150).

Posted by: Shamera Bryant at April 14, 2014 08:58 AM

Shamera Bryant
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
14 April 2014
Question 113: PART V: What kind of article did Tomas write? What did the chief surgeon request of Tomas about his article? What was the result? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer:
Tomas wrote a reflection article on Oedipus. “Because Tomas found this question second-rate, he sat down one day, wrote down his reflections on Oedipus” (Kundera 179). The chief surgeon requested that Tomas retract the article. “I’d be sad to lose you, and I’ll do everything I can to keep you here. But you’ve got to retract that article you write about Oedipus” (Kundera 179). The result in him doing so could save himself and his job at the hospital. “Two things in balance: his honor (which consisted in his refusing to retract what he said) and what he had come to call the meeting of his life (his work in medicine and research)” (Kundera 179).

Posted by: Shamera Bryant at April 14, 2014 09:08 AM

Will Fumero
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210-cl
4/13/14

125. Part IV: According to the narrator, what was Tomas’s true “es muss sein!”? Was it his profession or was it love? explain. quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain it in your own words.

Answer:
(Pg. 100) Tomas’s es muss sein was his profession.It stated on the same page that he didn’t come into medicine as coincidence but because of his true desire. It is also stated on the same page that they are state employees and Tomas most likely never got that much of a break from his job.

Posted by: William Fumero at April 14, 2014 09:10 AM

Shamera Bryant
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
14 April 2014
Question 152: PART VI: The narrator says that people “all need someone to look at” them and that everyone “can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under.” Identify and summarize the FIRST category, spoken of by the narrator. In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer:
The first category is explaining the feeling someone gets from the being viewed by the public. One is defined by the thoughts of others. If not noticed they could feel as though their world was crashing. “The first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous, in other words, for the look of the public” (Kundera 269).

Posted by: Shamera Bryant at April 14, 2014 09:16 AM


Will Fumero
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210-cl
4/13/14

125. Part VI
Answer: The end of part six compares and contrasts the deaths of two individuals. First, answer the question: What does the inscription that Simon had inscribed on his father’s tombstone? Then the follow-up question: What was the meaning of the expression and what was Simon’s reasoning for using it? In your answer use snippets from the text, but, explain it in your own words.

Answer:
He wrote that he wanted the kingdom of god on earth, as a form a justice to reign over the world (pg. 145). He also wanted a return from long wanderings, meaning that in death he would want to fond peace and be free after living a hard and oppressed life (pg. 145). Simon did all of this to pay true homage and respect to his father (pg. 146).

Posted by: William Fumero at April 14, 2014 09:20 AM

Peter Grana

Love and Desire in Literature

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

11, April 2014

Question #140

Part VI: This is a question about aesthetics. What does the word Kitsch mean? If you don’t know what the international holiday “May Day” is all about, take some time to fill in the gaps of your knowledge and Google this historical even so that you have at least some idea of what Kundera is talking about. Then answer the following question: Why, according to the narrator, is the May Day ceremony the “model of Communist kitsch”?

Answer:

Kitsch pertains to objects of poor taste because of excessive sentimentality. Kundera utilizes this term to classify May Day, a unified European holiday for the workers, as a communist model for poor taste because fo the narrator’s true feelings towards communism. “What repelled her was not nearly so much the ugliness of the Communist world (ruined castles transformed into cow sheds) as the mask of beauty it tried to wear” (Kundera 30).

Posted by: Peter Grana at April 14, 2014 09:27 AM

Peter Grana

Love and Desire in Literature

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

11, April 2014

Question #128

Part V: Explain hat the narrator thinks being “a surgeon means.” For what reason, does the narrator speculate, might Tomas have been “led to surgery”? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:

“Being a surgeon means slitting open the surface of things and looking at what lies hidden inside.” (Kundera 101). In a sense the narrator intends to utilize a surgeon as a metaphor for looking at things in a different way or a different picture. “A desire to know what lies hidden on the other side of Es muss sein! ; in other words, what remains of life when a person rejects what he previously considered his mission.” (Kundera 101).

Posted by: Peter Grana at April 14, 2014 09:28 AM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
14 April 2014

QUESTION 103: What is a “water closet”? Explain the narrator’s metaphor of the “modern water closet.” What is hidden from view and why? What colorful language does the narrator use to get his/her point across? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

ANSWER: A “water closet” seems to be the bathroom, the place in which the toilet is kept (Kundera 156). The “modern water closet” aims to help people not to remember the waste that the toilet disposes of (Kundera 156). The author mentions that for a modern water closet that the sewer pipelines that are throughout the house cannot be seen, so “we are happily ignorant of the invisible Venice of shit underlying our bathrooms, bedrooms, dance halls, and parliaments” (Kundera 156).

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at April 14, 2014 09:42 AM

Trey Griseck
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
14 April 2014

Question #3
What is the significance of the boy who flirts with Tereza?
Answer:
Tereza works at the local bar. She knows many people that walk in and out of the bar. She fears her body and is upset that she does not look and will never look the way she wants. In an effort of releasing that fear that she has, she begins to flirt with the men at the bar. She begins to flirt very heavily with the men in the bar; she promises some of the men things that make her seem easy. A young boy in the bar begins to flirt with Tereza by giving her a hard time. The significance of the boy that flirts with her is when the young boy leaves; Tereza is wrongly accused by an older customer saying that she had served the minor that was flirting with her alcohol when it was not true.

Posted by: Trey Griseck at April 14, 2014 02:20 PM

Trey Griseck
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
14 April 2014

Question #178
What humorous thing did Tereza do to Karenin when she had her monthly cycle? In this part, the narrator asks the question, “Why is it that a dog’s menstruation made her lighthearted and gay, while her own menstruation made her squeamish?” What is the narrator’s answer to this question?
Answer:
Karenin who was also a female, so she obviously had to endure the problems that real women had to go through such as the cycle that they have to deal with. Karenin’s cycle came once every six months and lasted the whole day. Tereza would do something that was humorous but seemed to help when Karenin’s cycle came on which was she would put a wad of absorbent cotton between his legs and a pair of old panties over it to keep from staining it. The narrator’s answer to the question above is that “dogs were never excluded from paradise. Karenin knew nothing about the opposition of the soul and the body and had no conception of hatred. That is why Tereza felt so free and easy with him” (Kundera 1).

Posted by: Trey Griseck at April 14, 2014 02:57 PM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
15 April 2014

QUESTION #162:
Now, that you've read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Who was "Mefisto" and why was he important to the story? How did Karenin feel about Mefisto? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

ANSWER:
"The collective farm chairman became a truly close friend. He had a wife, four children, and a pig he raised like a dog. The pig's name was Mefisto, and he was the pride and main attraction of the village" (Kundera 283). Mefisto, as the narrator quotes, is a pet pig of the farm chairman's. At first, Karenin was skeptical of Mefisto, but they shortly became great friends afterwards (Kundera 284). "Karenin correctly assessed the value of being one of a kind, and I can state without compunction that he greatly appreciated the friendship with the pig" (Kundera 284). This quote explains that Karenin is truly one of a kind, that he has a personality just like humans, which is why Mefisto is important in this story.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 15, 2014 09:03 AM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
15 April 2014

QUESTION #6:
What is the significance of the idea of "choice" (or, if you like, "free will") in this part of the novel? Provide details.

ANSWER:
In this part of the novel, named "Soul and Body," Tereza releases herself from her body in such a way to live her dreams as opposed to her reality. "Suddenly she longed to dismiss her body as one dismisses a servant: to stay on with Tomas only as a soul and send her body into the world to behave as other female bodies behave with male bodies" (Kundera 139). As a result, Tereza begins an affair with an engineer that she sees quite frequently, of course, by choice. This is the main reason as to why the idea of "choice" or "free will" is highly significant in this part of the novel.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at April 15, 2014 09:15 AM

Hosameddine Elnehmani
Dr. B. Lee Hobbes
ENG 210 Love and desire in literature CA01
16 April 2014

QUESTION # 4
Parts Four of Tulob: What is the significance of the men on top of the mountain? Provide details.

ANSWER:
As Tereza came closer, she noticed several men on the lawn. The closer she came to them, the slower she walked. There were six all. “of the six men, three were there to play the same role as she: they were unsettled; they seemed eager to ask all sorts of questions, but feared making nuisances of themselves and so held their tongues and merely looked about inquisitively” (Kundera 148). They all had eager faces to attack. One of the three men had a huge rifle in his hand. He also did waive to Tereza, as she nodded with her head. This caused fear to Tereza, and to any other person passing.

Posted by: Hosameddine at April 15, 2014 04:53 PM

Hosameddine Elnehmani
Dr. B. Lee Hobbes
ENG 210 Love and desire in literature CA01
16 April 2014

QUESTION # 163
Part VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What tragedy struck Karenin, and what was done about it? What was the result? In your answer, quote snippets from the texts as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.


ANSWER:
It all started when Tereza saw Karenin running, as she said, “I don’t like the way he’s running,” (Kundera 284). Karenin was limping on a hind leg. Near the hock, Tomas found a small bump where Tomas takes him to the veterinarian. A few weeks late, he paid him another visit. He came home with the news that Karenin had cancer. “While Terez sat on a stump with Karenin at her side, his head resting in her lap. She recalled reading that all dogs in certain Russian city had been summarily shot” (Kundera 288). This might have lead Tereza to be afraid about her dog. Also at that time people were still traumatized by the catastrophe of the occupation, by the radio, television, and the press. They talked about dogs, and how they soil the streets, parks, and endanger our children’s health. This also led Tereza to have some fear on her dog that her own village will hate her for having a sick dog.

Posted by: Hosameddine at April 15, 2014 04:54 PM

Brianne M. Waller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
15 April 2014

Question: What does, “corpus delicti” mean? What does it have to do with the photograph spoke of by the old man who was speaking to the ambassador? What was Tereza’s intent for taking the photographs that she did? Why did Tereza suspect that what she had been doing as a photographer might have been, ironically, more hurtful than it was helpful?
Answer: Corpus delicti is the concrete evidence of a crime, directly translated from Latin as “body of offense”. The photograph was the only evidence of a crime that the old man’s son got sent to prison for. Tereza did not intend for anyone to get by taking the pictures that she did, though she knew the danger of the job. She took the pictures as a political statement of the tank invasion of the Russians into the Czech. They were pictures of Czech women “torturing celibate Russian soldiers by parading in tiny miniskirts and kissing random passers-by.” Tereza realized or felt that what she had done had been more hurtful than helpful because so much was lost because of them instead of gained, like losing her job, and people going to jail.

Posted by: Brianne M. Waller at April 15, 2014 05:29 PM

Brianne M. Waller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
15 April 2014

Question #1 Part IV: What is the significance of the title of this section to the rest of the novel? How is it different from the previous part of the same name? Explain. Provide details.
Answer: The title Soul and Body and is very key to this chapter because it describes the relationship of Tereza’s soul and body and how it pertains to the relationship she has with her mother. It is a little different from the first part because earlier it suggests that the relationship pertains to how the soul and body are much like a married couple. The second part describes how the body is not as significant that it is all about the soul. Tereza believes, “[e]ven if Tereza were completely unlike Tereza [physically], her soul inside her would be the same.” This means the correlation between body and soul is less significant.

Posted by: Brianne M. Waller at April 15, 2014 05:58 PM

Christopher Lavie Mienandy
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
15 April 2014

QUESTION #169:
If you do not know who Rene Descartes is, take a minute to google him and fill in the gaps of your knowledge. In particular, be sure you are familiar with the term “machine animate”. Why, according to the narrator’s understanding of Descartes, is an animal not really lamenting when it appears to be lamenting? What does this have to do with Karenin, the cows, and the story thus far?

ANSWER:
Rene Descartes believed that animals are animated machines. They have no souls, therefore no thoughts nor emotions. Thus, an animal can feel the pain, but cannot be lamenting because it does know what a lamentation is. Karenin has cancer, and he limps all the time and is no longer able to go out and run after cows: “. He came home with the news that Karenin had cancer.” (Kundera 147).

Posted by: christopher lavie mienandy at April 15, 2014 07:31 PM

Christopher Lavie Mienandy
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
15 April 2014

QUESTION #4:
What is the significance of the men on top of the mountain? Provide details.

ANSWER:
I think that these men in Tereza’s dream reflect the control of Tomas over her. He is the one who sent her to that hill. She is about to die but she is scared of Tomas’ reaction: “It would have been easy to say, No, no! It was not my choice at all! But she could not imagine disappointing Tomas.” (Kundera 76).

Posted by: christopher lavie mienandy at April 15, 2014 07:43 PM

Pauline Helgesson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
15 April 2014

Part Five of TULOB

What is a “manifesto”? What was “The Two Thousand Words” and what significance does it hold for the events depicted in this novel? What was the result of it? Explain. Prove Details.

ANSWER:

A manifesto is a public declaration of intent, policy, or aims that are issued by a political party, government, or movement. A developed direction or purpose statement of life could be a manifesto.

The Two Thousand Words was the first glorious manifesto written by Czech writer and journalist Ludvik, in 1968 Prague Spring. It was for the radical democratization of the Communist regime. When some intellectual people started to sign the paper, more people came forward and were willing to sign.

“The original Russian caption read: Citizen, have you joined the Red Army? It was replaced by a Czech test that read: Citizen, have you signed the Two Thousand Words?” (Kundera, 211).

Posted by: Pauline Helgesson at April 15, 2014 09:58 PM

Marie Ryan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature
15 April 2014

Question 9: What is mean by this passage: “In modern times, an idea can be refuted, yes, but not retracted”? What is the difference between those two words? Where does this “truism occur in the novel? Any other places? How does it have any relevance to contemporary life, today, in the twenty-first century?

Answer: The word retract means to take back, whereas, the word refute means to prove a statement wrong. Therefore, this statement is saying that an idea can be proven wrong but not taken back. Tomás says this in the beginning of section five when the head physician where he works asks him to retract the article which compared the Communist regimes to Oedipus. This “truism” does not occur anywhere else in the novel. As for how this statement is relevant to life today, it still remains true that once and idea is said or written down, it cannot be taken back. However, it can be proven wrong.

Posted by: Marie Ryan at April 15, 2014 10:24 PM

Pauline Helgesson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
15 April 2014

Part 7 Question #165

What “right”, according to the narrator do those “at the top of the hierarchy” take “for granted” and why? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

ANSWER:

The right that the people at the top of the hierarchy take for granting is their power. They are used to being in charge and not to have anyone controlling them. The human beings are at the top of the hierarchy on our planet. The narrator asks himself the question: what if a third party would enter the game from another planet? Everything that is taken for granting suddenly would become very problematical.

Perhaps a man hitched to the cart of a Martian or roasted on the spit by inhabitants of the Milky Way will recall the veal cutlet he used to slice on his dinner plate and apologize (belatedly!) to the cow (Kundera, 286).

This statement shows how a man who used to be in the top of the hierarchy, is apologizing to the cow, after a third party entered.

Posted by: Pauline Helgesson at April 15, 2014 11:02 PM

Daniella Zacarias
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature CA01
15.4.2014
Question #11
11.
Part V: What is the significance of the concept of the “I,” according to the narrator, and why Tomas was obsessed with it? Explain. Provide details.
ANSWER.
According to the narrator, the “I” “hide [. . .] what is unimaginable about a person. [. . .] The individual ‘I’ is what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed at or calculated, what must be unveiled, un covered, conquered.” (Kundera 199). Tomas was obsessed with the concept of the “I,” because as a doctor he had to look at each patient as a simple human body, working about the same as the next and the ones previous to it, however the “I,” or one could say, the mind, was what made each of those bodies different from the rest. The narrator goes on to describe that there are more resemblances between Hitler and Einstein or Brezhnev and Solzhenitsyn, than there are differences.
“Tomas was obsessed by the desire to discover and appropriate that one-millionth part; he saw it as the core of his obsession. He was not obsessed with women; he was obsessed with what in each of them is unimaginable, obsessed, in other words, with the one-millionth part that makes a woman dissimilar to other of her sex.” (Kundera 200).

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at April 15, 2014 11:26 PM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Lee B. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire CA01
16 April 2014

QUESTION #12:
Part Five of TULOB: What is a “manifesto”? What was “The Two Thousand Words” and what significance does it hold for the events depicted in this novel? What was the result of it? Explain. Provide Details.
ANSWER:
A manifesto is “a written statement that describes the policies, goals, and opinions of a person or group.” The Two Thousand Word was a manifesto about the liberalization of Czechoslovakia written in 1968 by Ludvík Vaculík. It is important because in the text the Russian occupies the country of Czechoslovakia. The result of it is that anyone who actually signed the manifesto ‘was dismissed from his job” (Kundera 110).

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at April 15, 2014 11:44 PM

Daniella Zacarias
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature CA01
15.4.2014
Question #175
175.
Part VII: Why, according to the narrator, did Tereza feel “abandoned” at the thought of “a future without Karenin”? What specific concept/s did Karenin represent for her (discussed previously by the narrator)? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
ANSWER.
“The love she [Tereza] bore her dog made her feel cut off, isolated.”(Kundera 287). In a way, Tereza’s way of thinking about animals made her different front everyone else. People in general tend to dismiss animals as soulless things/objects, much like “When a wagon wheel grates, the wagon is not in pain; it simply needs oiling. [. . .] we have no reason to grieve for a dog being carved up alive in the laboratory.” (Kundera 288). Karenin represented the idea of eternal return, as discussed earlier in the novel; “Dog time cannot be plotted along a straight line, it does not move on and on, from one thing to the next. It moves in a circle like the hands of a clock, which-they, too, unwilling to dash madly ahead-turn round and round the face, day in and day out following the same path.” (Kundera 74). Karenin, to Tereza, represents stability during an unstable life; Karenin had kept her company for years, never tiring of the same walks, always waiting for his human companions to wake up, and so on.

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at April 15, 2014 11:56 PM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Lee B. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire CA01
16 April 2014

QUESTION #177:
Part VII: When the narrator discusses “Adam,” to whom, exactly, is he referring? Why does the narrator say that “Adam was like Karenin”? What does s/he mean? Explain. In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.
ANSWER:
When the narrator discusses “Adam,” s/he is referring to the first man in the Old Testament. The narrator says that “Adam was like Karenin” to compare Karenin and Adam. The narrator says that Adam was unable to recognize himself in the water while he was “leaning over a well” (Kundera 154), such as Karenin is unable to recognize himself in the mirror. He means that Adam in heaven did not have the consciousness, he was not able to recognize one-self.

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at April 15, 2014 11:57 PM

Chelsea Dickenson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
15 April 2014

Quesiton 172: When according to the narrator, can true “human goodness, in all its purity and freedom” come “to the fore”? What does this mean? Explain.
Answer: According to the narrator, “True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power” (Kundera 151). In other words, true human goodness is exemplified through individuals who have no have nothing to give back in turn for expressing their goodness. People who do not obtain any sort of power in our hierarchical system tend to be the only individuals who remain genuine because they are not involved in the constant power play that exists among us. “We can never establish with certainty what part of our relations with others is the result of our emotions—love, antipathy, charity, or malice—and what part is predetermined by the constant power play among individuals” (Kundera 151).

Posted by: Chelsea Dickenson at April 15, 2014 11:58 PM

Will Fumero
Dr. Hobbs
4/15/14
ENG 210-CL


11. Part Five of TULOB: What is the significance of the concept of “I,” according to the narrator, and why Tomas was obsessed with it? Explain. Provide details

Answer:
When it comes to his many affairs, Tomas is always in driver’s seat. He wears the pants in the relationships, and takes the control. He does it all out of his own desire to find the right woman who can fit his needs and wants. To summarize it shortly, Tomas is very much and “I” person. Stated on Page 126, Tomas dreams of having half-naked women sleeping around him, but in his mind it isn’t very pleasurable. He realizes the error of his judgments, comes back to Tereza and falls in love with her again. On page 129, he dreams about her, looking into her face and feeling her emotional pain and distress. He realizes that his endeavors take a toll on the both of them.

Posted by: William Fumero at April 16, 2014 12:31 AM


Will Fumero
Dr. Hobbs
4/15/14
ENG 210-CL

Part VII: Now that you’ve read part seven, I.E., the entire novel, answer the following Questions. Why according to the narrator, was Tereza “happy to abandon the city”? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
Tereza had always been burdened by her own personal qualms and drawbacks. She grew up in an awkward household with a vain, slightly unhappy mother (pgs. 25-30), and all of Tomas’s destructive female endeavors (ch. 1-6). The real reason why she was happy, however, was to leave the city. She knew that by leaving she would never have to be pestered by the government police or flies, let alone the sexual smells of Tomas’s lovers (pg. 146).

Posted by: William Fumero at April 16, 2014 12:40 AM

Denzel Williams
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL CA01
16 April, 2014

Part V Question #127
What, according to the narrator, was the "true story behind Beethoven's famous Muss es sien? Es muss sein! Motif" that s/he dounted if Tomas Knew?

Answer:
The narrator saw Beethoven's famous Muss es sien Es muss sein! as meaning a necessity in life. Something that does not happen by chance or by "a chain of laughable coincidences"(Kundera 193) but by fate and the desire of such things. For Tomas the narrator feels that it is his occupation stating: "does that mean his life lacked any "Es muss sein!" any overriding necessity? in my opinion, it did have one but not love it was his profession" (Kundera 193).

Posted by: Denzel Williams at April 16, 2014 07:04 AM

Peter Grana

Love and Desire in Literature

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

14, April 2014

Question #166

Part VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What were the “words” used by the neighor that struck Tereza “as less then friendly,”
And why did she answer “without protest”? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your words.

Answer:

When Tereza was with her dog, a woman asked what was wrong with her dog and that there was no hope. Tereza mentioned that the dog had cancer which made her tear up. The woman replies “Good heavens! Don't tell me you're going to bawl your head off over a dog!” (Kundera 149). Her response struck Tereza with shock with uncomfortability for she had cared for the dog very much.

Posted by: Peter Grana at April 16, 2014 08:58 AM

Shamera Bryant
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
15 April 2014
Question 5: Part Four of TULOB: What is the significance of the dying bird? What do birds, often crows, frequently represent in western narrative? Provide details.
Answer:
The significance of the bird dying was the fact that Tereza say her own fate within its desolation. “In its solitude and desolation she saw a reflection of her own fate” (Kundera 159). Crows in western narratives usually represent death.

Posted by: Shamera Bryant at April 16, 2014 08:58 AM

Peter Grana

Love and Desire in Literature

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

14, April 2014

Question #8

Part Five of TULOB: What is the significance of the “myth” that Tomas used as an analogy for the Communists’ folly in Czechoslovakia? Explain. Provide details.

Answer:

Tomas uses the myth of Oedipus Rex to relate the communists to the way Oedipus had killed someone who he loved and “cared” for. “But, he said to himself, whether they knew or didn't know is not the main issue; the main issue is whether a man is innocent because he didn't know. Is a fool on the throne relieved of all responsibility merely because he is a fool?” (Kundera 89). Tomas’ point is that Oedipus realized the consequences of his actions and bore out his won eyes whereas the communists knew what they were doing but still kept doing their faults.

Posted by: Peter Grana at April 16, 2014 08:59 AM

Shamera Bryant
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
15 April 2014
Question 166: PART VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What were the “words” used by the neighbor that struck Tereza “as less than friendly,” and why did she answer “without protest”? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer:
The neighbor said “Good heavens! Don’t tell me you’re going to bawl your head off over a dog! (Kundera 287)”. Tereza answered without protest because she knew that they lady was kind and meant no harm by her comment. “She was not being vicious; she was a kind woman and merely wanted to comfort Tereza” (Kundera 287).

Posted by: Shamera Bryant at April 16, 2014 09:07 AM


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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the Close Reading Activity conducted in-class on 16 April 2014 (Wednesday) before the Easter Break. Anything other than the Close Reading assignment found below will not be counted/accepted as having met the deadline~ Dr. Hobbs

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Rosa Esquivel & Alison Schucht
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
16 April 2014
QUESTION #7: Tereza’s dream reveals the true function of kitsch: kitsch is a folding screen set up to curtain off death.
ANSWER: The narrator is speaking to the reader/audience, with no direction to specific characters in the novel. In this passage the narrator is comparing Sabina’s kitsch with Tereza’s kitsch. Sabina always argued that communist reality was worse than the communist ideal. In the world of the ideal, in the world of kitsch, she would not be able to survive emotionally for more than a few days, as Tereza wouldn’t either. “Shit” or kitsch is something we do not usually talk about. For example using the bathroom is private, like death we do not talk about it although it is a natural process. The dream is constantly talked about because it plays into the role of eternal recurrence.

Posted by: Rosa Esquivel at April 16, 2014 10:12 AM

Devon Bell, Denzel Williams
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA01
April 16, 2014

Question:
“We all need someone to look at us. We can be divide into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under.” Discuss & Explain The First Category

Answer:
The first category goes over the idea of an individual who is comforted by having many eyes watching him or her. This person would be similar to a celebrity, being used to having anonymous eyes watching at any given time. An individual who feels content while being the center of attention. If no one is watching, this person will simply have no self-value or worth. A category one individual will always express the need of being wanted.

Posted by: Devon Bell at April 16, 2014 10:14 AM

Kyle McLeish and Anthony Jannetta
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
16 April 2014

1. Identify who is speaking, if applicable.:
The narrator is speaking in this passage

2. Identify who is being spoken to,if applicable:
The narrator is addressing the reader.

3. Explicate the context of the passage:
The passage is in reference to Stalin’s son as being the Son of God. He is the “Son of God,” because Stalin is referenced as God. His name Yakova and he was captured by the Germans in the 2nd World War. He was forced to clean the latrines but refused. He went and jumped into the electric barbed wire and was pinned to the wire.

4. Speculate/expound on any possible meanings of the passage:
The passage’s meaning is regardless of your social class, whether you are high and powerful or at the bottom and weak, all people are equal.

Posted by: Kyle McLeish at April 16, 2014 10:21 AM

Christopher Lavie Mienandy, Sam Elnehmani, Franck Bayebanen
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
16 April 2014

QUESTION #8:
How can it be that leftist intellectuals (because the doctor with the mustache was nothing if not a leftist intellectual) are willing to march against the interests of a Communist country when Communism has always been considered the left’s domain?

1. Identify who is speaking, if applicable
2. Identify who is being spoken to, if applicable
3. Explicate the context of the passage
4. Speculate/ expound on any possible meanings of the passage
5. Speculate/ expound on any significance to the narrative, thus far
ANSWER:
1. The narrator is speaking in this passage.
2. He is speaking to the interpreter, twenty Americans, and several Frenchmen.
3. The doctor says, “We’re not here to protest against Communism we’re here to save lives”. The doctor does not want to be assimilated with Communists. The interpreter was scared. He did not want to translate because he was frightened that people might be able to find out that he is against Communism.
4. The narrator does not know why the doctor does not want to take position in favor of Communism. The doctor is here to cure people who are dying.
5. The narrator shows that he is against Communism by showing that there is no common sense to the decisions taken by the Communists.

Posted by: christopher lavie mienandy at April 16, 2014 01:31 PM

Meshayla Williams & Chris
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01
#6 “Woman”
Our definition of a women was, a lady who can be a care taker to the family and dependable for others, although the narrator stated a slight difference in the meaning of a woman. Woman was describes as fate, and their attitude had to reach a certain standard, rebelling seemed to be foolish, and they were held to a higher standard (Kundera’s, 62). The narrator basically wants us as the readers to understand that women play a huge role in society, and they are the dependents of others. However, Sabina plays the role of a woman the narrator describes in the book, Frenz already has a wife but does not believe she is a true woman, but Sabina on the other hand seems to fit the characteristics of a woman therefore he continues to have an affair with her.

Posted by: Meshayla Williams at April 20, 2014 11:37 PM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
21 April 2014

QUESTION 103: What is a “water closet”? Explain the narrator’s metaphor of the “modern water closet.” What is hidden from view and why? What colorful language does the narrator use to get his/her point across? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

ANSWER: A “water closet” seems to be the bathroom, the place in which the toilet is kept (Kundera 156). The “modern water closet” aims to help people not to remember events about the waste that the toilet disposes of (Kundera 156). The author mentions that for a modern water closet that the sewer pipelines that are throughout the house cannot be seen, so “we are happily ignorant of the invisible Venice of shit underlying our bathrooms, bedrooms, dance halls, and parliaments” (Kundera 156).

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at April 21, 2014 12:28 AM

Meshayla Williams
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love and Desire in Literature CA01


Question#1
PART I: Explain the “idea of the eternal return” as summarized by the narrator


Answer:
The narrator expresses the “ideal of the eternal return“as life fading away and there is no returning of life.
Putting it negatively, the myth of eternal return states that a life which disappears once
and for all, which does not return, is like a shadow, without weight, dead in advance,
and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublime, its horror, sublimity, and beauty mean
nothing. We need take no more note of it than of a war between two African kingdoms
in the fourteenth century, a war that altered nothing in the destiny of the world, even if a
hundred thousand blacks perished in excruciating torment” (Kundera’s,1).

Posted by: Meshayla Williams at April 21, 2014 12:34 AM

Chelsea Dickenson and Trey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
21 April 2014

“[Feces] is more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man’s crimes. The responsibility for [feces], however, rests entirely with Him, the Creator of man”.
In this particular passage, the narrator is speaking to the reader about what man is, or is not, responsible for. In other words, since God gave man freedom, He is not held responsible for any crime that man commits; it is completely the fault of the individual who committed the act of wrongdoing. But because of the fact that God created man himself, feces is his fault, therefore it should not be seen as a sin. Us as humans have no control over these voluntary acts, so consequently God is at fault. This quotation expresses in another sense that anything out of our control, should not be considered a sin. Our actions that we can help, we must take responsibility for.

Posted by: Chelsea Dickenson at April 21, 2014 12:35 AM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
21 April 2014

QUESTION #117. Why, according to the narrator, could Tomas not bear the smiles of his colleagues? What were they smiling about? What is the meaning of their smiles? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
ANSWER: The people smiling is their reaction to Tomas supposedly deciding that he was going to make a retraction (Kundera 181-182). He became extremely uncomfortable when all the people were smiling at him because he really did care about people’s views about him (Kundera 183). Some of the people who were smiling were people who had done a retraction;“he would make their actions seem commonplace and thereby give them back their lost honor” (Kundera 183). Therefore, these people were smiling since, if Tomas did complete the retraction, these people would not seem like their actions were too “cowardly” (Kundera 181-183).

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at April 21, 2014 01:08 AM

Emma De Rhodo and Marie Ryan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
21 April 2014

QUESTION : Explain the what the author means concerning “kitsch” in the second paragraph of Chapter 9 in Part VI (Kundera 251).

ANSWER: In the quotation, the author presents a dichotomy between how the world should be and the Communist kitsch world (Kundera 251-252). The author implies that the Communist kitsch is negative because a person cannot be himself; someone who is not part of the Communist kitsch “can preserve his individuality” (Kundera 251-252). The author wants to banish totalitarian kitsch because it takes away the freedom of being an individual since, in this case, there is only one way of doing things, no other choices (Kundera 251-252). He goes on to talk about the totalitarianism in the Soviet Communist kitsch after this quotation is stated (251-252).

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at April 21, 2014 07:29 AM

PART VI: QUESTION #148: What is “mawkish”? What, according to the narrator, “occasionally make its way into” Sabina’s “unbearable lightness of being” and where did it come from? How did it affect Sabina? To correctly answer this question, you need to be absolutely SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Using the first online version of the story on Libguides:
ANSWER: “Mawkish” means to not handle an issue seriously or even to make fun of something; this definition can be found through the context of the word in this part of the story (Kundera 134). The narrator says, “Sabina did not take her feeling seriously” (Kundera 134). The narrator also mentions, “a silly mawkish song about two shining windows and the happy family living behind them would occasionally make its way into the unbearable lightness of being” (Kundera 134).

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at April 21, 2014 07:45 AM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA01
21 April 2014

Using the first online version of the story on Libguides:

QUESTION #164: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What, according to the narrator, is “the only thing all of mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars” and what is his/her reasoning for suggesting this (context)? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Using the online version of the story from Libguides.
ANSWER: The author says, "The right to kill a deer or a cow is the only thing all of mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars” (Kundera 31).

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*NOTE* The deadline for the assignment ABOVE has now passed. Comments are no longer being accepted for this exercise/assignment.

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at April 21, 2014 08:14 AM

Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
4 March 2015


Question: #8
PART I: What, according to the narrator, is the problem with “the absolute absence of a burden”? Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? What issues arise with this condition, according to the narrator? Is the answer decisive, or not?


Answer:
In Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the problem with “the absolute absence of burden” is that unlike “eternal return” that causes the heaviest of burdens of all. The absence creates “half real” and “insignificant” notions of lightness versus being (5). What Kundera means is that the dichotomy of lightness/being or lightness/weight has no definitive answer in the grand scheme of life. The value on either side of the dichotomy is blurred and “ambiguous” with no true meaning (6). One simply has to live out their life as they see fit and come to their own conclusion, on which they would rather privilege.

Posted by: Emily Finck at March 3, 2015 04:57 PM

Dalton Hart
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet CA01
4 March 2015

Question: Why, according to the narrator, call Nietzsche call “the idea of eternal return the heaviest of burdens”?

Answer: In Kundera’s novel, the author presents two separate ideas: lightness and weight. In the author’s view, having multiples choices is indicative of “weight”, whereas having only one choice is what constitutes “lightness”. When viewing this in the context of Nietzsche’s idea of eternal return, it becomes clear that eternal return would constitute the “heaviest of burdens” because the choices must be made repeatedly throughout time. This implies that if we, as humans, make one mistake, that mistake will be repeated an infinite amount of times throughout history, and will doom us every time. Kundera states, “If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross,” means that we are doomed to make mistakes, and the thought of those same mistakes recurring infinitely becomes a heavy burden (Kundera 5). If the idea of eternal return is taken to be true, it implies that every decision we make becomes much more important in the context of history, because one mistake could mean an eternity of the same mistake occurring.

Posted by: Dalton Hart at March 3, 2015 08:36 PM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
2 March 2015

Question 7. PART I: What, according to the narrator, is the “heaviest of burdens”? Is it a good thing, or, a bad thing, according to the narrator? Is the answer decisive, or not?

In Milan Kundera's novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, he explains the concept of the "heaviest of burdens" as the "heavy" repercussions and meaning behind every action since those actions will forever be repeated. This extra meaning, therefore, creates a "weight" to a person's life choices and meaning of life. If without this eternal "heaviness" there is a "lightness" that signifies the lack of meaning. Kundera seems to present the idea of the "heaviest of burdens" as a grey area instead of a question to be "simply" answered; he also hints that the answer is personal in nature and that separate people may have different feelings."The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground (Kundera pg. 5)." "Conversly, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air[...] his movements as free as they are insignificant (Kundera pg. 5)." The "weight" of burdens signifies the importance of human actions and choices; the lack of that weight implicates that the actions are left without meaning. After giving the black and white to the argument, Kundera leans to the side of the weight being a positive and necessary thing, but at the same time is not outright with a statement to confirm, as he adds, "What then shall we chose? Weight or lightness (Kundera pg.5)?"

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 3, 2015 08:50 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 410 CA01 Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
3 March 2015

Question #21: In your own words, paraphrase or summarize Tereza’s dream. What did the dream cause
Tomas to recall the next day?

Answer: Tereza dreams that she must stand in a corner and watch Sabina and Tomas make love; when she tells Tomas, he recalls certain details that prove she read Sabina's letters: "I want to make love to you in my studio. It will be like a stage surrounded by people. The audience won't be allowed up close, but they wouldn't be able to take their eyes off us" (Chapter 1, page 17, Michael Henry Heim translation). When Tomas confronts Tereza with this discovery, she does not deny it and declares that he should throw her out of his house if it bothers him (that does not happen).

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at March 3, 2015 11:49 PM

Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
3 March 2015

Question (Part 1, #17):
Explain Tomas’s “rule of threes.” For what reason did Tomas implement this rule? What is its purpose?

Answer:
The “rule of threes” was implemented by Tomas to keep his relationships with his mistresses going without his wife knowing about them. The “rule of threes” states that one must either “meet a woman three times in quick succession and then never again or maintain relations over the years but make sure that the rendezvous are at least three weeks apart (Kundera 12).” What this rule means is that an affair should either be quick to get it over and done with, or it is long and planned out to avoid being discovered. If it is at three-week intervals, then no one would catch on as it would seem to be a random encounter.

Posted by: Craig Graves at March 4, 2015 12:26 AM

Lorie Jewell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
2 March 2015

Question 5, Part 1: How was the narrator reconciled with Hitler? What does he mean that he was reconciled? In your own words, explain what happened to the author that brought him or her to this conclusion.

Answer: The author reconciled, or made peace with, Hitler while looking through a book about the barbaric dictator and viewing photos that took the author back to his childhood; they brought back precious lost memories. The author is saying that even though many of his family members died at Hitler’s command, he can soften his stance against the despot, so to say, because of his lack of belief in eternal return. Like the French Revolutionist Robespierre, whom he references a few paragraphs earlier, Hitler can be tolerated by knowing that the universe will only have to experience him once. The author calls this a ‘profound moral perversity’ of not believing in eternal return – that anything can happen and be forgiven, despite the depths of depravity.

Posted by: Lorie Jewell at March 4, 2015 06:15 AM

Question: What, according to the narrator, is the problem with “the absolute absence of a burden”? Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? What issues arise with this condition, according to the narrator? Is the answer decisive, or not?
Answer: While not feeling the harsh strain that burden can cause is usually a good thing, Kundera argues that difficulties keep us better in touch with the world. She writes, “But in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously the image of life’s most intense fulfillment” (Kundera). Kundera is stating that without burdens, there would be no real joy in life. How can you feel accomplished or proud of something if you did not feel some struggle to get there? The struggle is what makes it real; it is what makes life meaningful. However, once Kundera debates her point, she switches sides of the argument. Kundera explains, “Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?” (Kundera). On the surface, Kundera seems indecisive—does she want burdens or does she not want them? It is hard to tell or at least it is until the reader analyzes this part of the poem. Kundera uses beautiful language to describe a life without burdens; for instance, she describes it as causing “man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights.” Her word choice is very romantic, and it seems like she does not disagree with living a life that is not weighed down by burdens. However, she does comment on the half realness an individual will face if they do not undergo adversities—they’re life will not only be consumed with freedom, but it will also be meaningless. Kundera’s choice to give the reader the power to choose his or her path confuses the reader. It seems like she doesn’t even know what she prefer. However, after analyzing both sides of her argument, it is clear that Kundera wants the reader to be free to choose as they wish, but she actively discourages the reader to live carefree.

Posted by: Hannah McCafferty at March 4, 2015 08:43 AM

Shawn DeJesus
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410CL Reading The Planet CA01
4 March 2015

Question: PART I: The narrator, when speaking of a hypothetical war between two kingdoms, says that by recurring eternally, “it will become a solid mass, permanently protuberant, its inanity irreparable.” First explain what the words “protuberant” and “inanity” mean. Then paraphrase this sentence in your own words, without using the words “protuberant” and “inanity.”

Answer: Protuberant means to protrude or to bulge out, while inanity is defined as the quality or state of being inane: to lack substance. So, according to Kundera, an eternally recurring war between two kingdoms “that altered nothing in the destiny of the world, even if a hundred thousand blacks perished in excruciating torment,” would indeed protrude as a pernicious part of history, yet its inability to dramatically impact the fate of humanity will ultimately render itself meaningless (Kundera). We will be able to look back at these events “illuminated by the aura of nostalgia” where even the most draconic events could be reminiscent, didactic (Kundera). Insignificant and unfortunate events like this will continue to recur over and over again, while achieving the same result: nothing.

Posted by: Shawn DeJesus at March 4, 2015 08:49 AM

Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
4 March 2015

“It will: it will become a solid mass, permanently protuberant, its insanity irreparable…I have been thinking about Tomas for many years. But only in the light of these reflections did I see him clearly.” (Chapter 1 and 3: _The Unbearable Lightness of Being_, pg. 4 and 6)

QUESTION: How does the narrator know Tomas and Tereza? How much do we know about the narrator so far?

The narrator is not specified in the first section, so there is no definite answer to how the narrator knows Tomas and Tereza. Whether he is an omniscient narrator or someone who knew the two characters personally, it is yet to be explained. Though there is no background given, the narrator is a very philosophical person, emphasized with how his introduction to the novel. He talks about the limits of time and how it can be looked at both the close-up perspective and at the outside perspective, as well as the liminal spectrum of life. Time and revolution play a hand in the first chapter, “There is an infinite difference between a Robespierre who occurs only once in history and a Robespierre who eternally returns, chopping off French heads.” He continuously switches between the Big Picture and the small inner-workings of life when narrating over the story of Tomas and Tereza. But again, as a character himself, the narrator does not have much of a background to go off on since he did not put any of his physical self in section one.

Posted by: Kristen Collins at March 4, 2015 10:12 AM

Dalton Hart
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet
6 March 2015

Question: Why did Tereza take a train to Prague? How did she do it? What was her plan? What did she do when she got there?

Answer: Tereza decides to take the train to Prague to meet with Tomas. She makes this decision because she feels that fate has connected the two. The narrator comments on Tereza’s decision to go to Prague stating, “Much more than the card he slipped her at the last minute, it was the call of all those fortuities… which gave her the courage to leave home and change her fate,” (Kundera 51). Tereza becomes enchanted by the idea that all of these “fortuities” have come together and have presented, in her opinion, the perfect opportunity for her to find love. Tereza, believing her love to be in Prague, takes time off from work and immediately leaves for Prague, informing no one expect Tomas. Tereza’s plan upon arriving in Prague, was to make a connection with Tomas and create a life for the two of them. When arriving at her destination, Tereza immediately falls for Tomas because of his embracing ways, and the two begin to make love. This cements, in Tereza’s mind, the connection between the two that she had felt from the beginning.

Posted by: Dalton Hart at March 5, 2015 04:34 PM

Ashley Gross
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
5 March 2015

Question #18:
Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. What does “corpus delicti” mean? Explain what the narrator means when he writes, speaking of Tomas, that “spending the night together was the corpus delicti of love.

Answer:
Corpus delicti translates to "body of crime" or proof that a crime has been committed. When the narrator says “spending the night together was the corpus delicti of love" he means that when Tomas began to stay with Tereza, it was proof that he loved her and put her above all of his other mistresses. "The unwritten contract of erotic friendship stipulated that Tomas should exclude all love from his life. The moment he violated that clause of the contract, his other mistresses would assume inferior status and become ripe for insurrection" (Kundera 13).

Posted by: Ashley Gross at March 5, 2015 04:38 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
6 March 2015


Question: #26
PART II: According to the narrator, how are characters born? What, according to the author, gave birth to Tomas? To Tereza? Why (for each)?


Answer:
In Milan Kundera’s novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being Characters are born from “a stimulating phrase or two, or from a basic situation” (39). Kundera says that Tomas was born of the saying “Einmal ist keinmal” meaning, roughly “once is nothing” in German, and Tereza was born of a “rumbling stomach” (39). For Tomas, he was born of the saying “once is nothing” because of his lifestyle both before and after he met Tereza. He was a husband, father once, and swore not to commit himself to another life, but here he is committed to Tereza and their dog. For Tereza, the fact that she contracted the flu, after her and Tomas’s first encounter was what gave rise to her character, meaning Tereza’s dependence, childlike tendencies, and weak esteem.

Posted by: Emily Finck at March 5, 2015 09:47 PM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
4 March 2015

Question 41. PART II: How does the narrator define “coincidence” and what does it have to do with the backstory of Tereza and Tomas?

"'Co-incidence' means that two events unexpectedly happen at the same time[...] (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Ch.11, Pg.51)."

Kundera has shown the ways that both Tereza and Tomas view the coincidences that have brought them together. For Tereza, the coincidence is discussed in part II: "[...] Tomas appears in the hotel restaurant at the same time the radio is playing Beethoven (Kundera pg. 51)." "If the seat Tomas occupied had been occupied instead by the local butcher, Tereza never would have noticed [...] (Kundera pg. 51)."
The coincidence of their first meeting while the music was playing influenced Tereza greatly in her decision to go to Tomas's apartment. She thinks of these coincidences as meaning that the meeting was fate, and meant to be.
In part I, Tomas discusses the same kind of coincidence surrounding his meeting with Tereza. Instead, though, he focuses on how many "what ifs" had to happen in the correct sequence for their meeting, and if those had not had happened in that way then would they have met at all? "[...]the love story of his life exemplified not 'Es muss sein!' (It must be so), but rather 'Es konnte auch anders sein' (It could just as well be otherwise) (Kundera pg. 35).

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 5, 2015 10:41 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 410 CA01 Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
6 March 2015

Question #31: What was a, seemingly, unique trait about Tereza’s mother, when it came to modesty? What did she do that Tereza found embarrassing? How did Tereza feel about this? How did Tereza’s mother (and the mother’s friends) feel about Tereza’s reaction?

Answer: Tereza's mother used to be vain about her appearance, but since her looks did not help her life get better, the woman stopped caring and just let go: "Now she had not only lost that modesty, she had radically broken with it, ceremoniously using her new immodesty to draw a dividing line
through her life and proclaim that youth and beauty were overrated and worthless" (Chapter 2, part 7, page 46, Michael Henry Heim translation). Tereza is embarrassed that her mother likes being nude in front of the windows and tells everything about her bodily functions. When Tereza tries to cover it up, her mother laughs it off with her friends and forcibly passes gas to make her point.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at March 6, 2015 12:06 AM

Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
6 March 2015

“The idea of eternal return is a mysterious one…Putting it negatively, the myth of eternal return states that a life which disappears once and for all, which does not return, is like a shadow, without weight, dead in advance, and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublime, its horror, sublimity, and beauty mean nothing.”

QUESTION: Now that you’ve read Part I in its entirety, speculate on why the chapter was titled “Lightness and Weight.” Use examples from the text to prove your case.

ANSWER: Lightness and weight are two components to the philosophical examples given by the narrator in the first chapter. Lightness is the ability to move freely, with no need for permanent attachment. It is a reflection of living life in the moment and not being weight down by the expectations of life through the body, the self, emotions, society, or any other force. To accept that life has no definite meaning is the ultimate truth of lightness. Tomas and Sabina embody lightness, Sabina more so than Tomas, and use this ability to freely express themselves. Weight on the other hand is defined through, in the philosophy of life words, the negatives opposite of lightness. Life is driven by figuring out the emotions of life and trying to have more permanent attachments to others. Tereza is an emotionally driven person, further explained in section two when going through her life and the relationship she had with her mother. She wants love, acceptance, and a deeper meaning to life, and cannot understand the fluidity that Tomas and Sabina have. Tying in with section two, the dichotomy of lightness and weight also parallel the body and the soul. Lightness and the body come from instant gratification, and are driven by fleeting desires. It takes into account two philosophies, where there is no meaning to life and no future after the body disintegrates. Weight and the soul come from seeing more to life than what is just physically seen. Emotions are a tangible force with purpose in life and the soul takes into account a person’s entirety of self. It is ironic that the book itself is called “Unbearable Lightness” because according to the philosophy of lightness, there should be nothing unbearable about it. There becomes a paradox in being because there cannot be weight, as life comes with disappointments from emotions, and there cannot be lightness, since there would be the unbearable truth of having no purpose in life. As of now, it can be seen that Tomas has lightness but also has an attachment to weight, Tereza is attached to the weight of life and wanting a connection to someone embodying lightness, and out of them all, Sabina is the only one able to live her life without the unbearableness of lightness or weight.

Posted by: Kristen Collins at March 6, 2015 07:04 AM

Lorie Jewell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
6 March 2015

Question 37, PART II: How does Beethoven play into the first meeting of Tomas and Tereza? Why is it significant?

Answer: Tereza heard Beethoven playing in the hotel restaurant she worked in, as he was ordering a cognac from her. She equates Beethoven with high class, education, a better standard of living, etc. and takes it as a symbol of the life she wants; since it was playing when she met Tomas, she believes hearing Beethoven at that moment is a sign that she is meant to be with him.

Posted by: Lorie Jewell at March 6, 2015 07:58 AM

Rebecca Maldonado
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
6 March 2015

Question: What drew Tereza to her mirror? Explain. What, according to the narrator, should we Not Confuse Tereza’s fascination with the mirror for?

Answer: Tereza’s fascination with the mirror should not be mistaken for vanity or self-appreciation. Tereza often “tried to see herself through her body” (Kundera 41). She had many complications with her mother in the past; whenever she would look at herself in the mirror she would often wish to do away with any traces of her mother’s features in her face. This was not only physically, but in personality. For this reason, she was also looking at herself in the mirror, looking deeper into herself – looking at all the things that comprised who she was. Not only physically, but in spirit and being as well.

Posted by: Rebecca Maldonado at March 6, 2015 08:04 AM

Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
5 March 2015

Question (Part 2, #48)
What does the word “vertigo” mean? Why does the narrator say that “[a]”? In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

Answer:
Vertigo is a woozy or dizzy feel often associated with a fear of falling while looking down from a great height. In a literal sense, “[a]nyone whose goal is something higher must expect someday to suffer vertigo,” means that some people may experience a fear of falling from whatever height they are at. In other words, someone who is trying to become the President of the United States might be afraid to make a wrong move and cost his or her election. To fully understand this phrase, one must look at the whole sentence instead of just that part. The whole sentence is:

“Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? Then why do we feel it even when the observation tower comes equipped with a sturdy handrail? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” (Kundera 59-60)

This quote is saying that vertigo is not a straight fear of falling, but rather a fear of wanting to fall. In the context of the story, the narrator is talking about Tereza’s nightly dreams of dying and the constant tug-of-war she was having about wanting to die and wanting to live. This war could almost be considered as a war with depression as Tereza tries to keep out those negative thoughts of death, yet still wanting them to be true deep down. As the narrator puts it, “[t]hese were her vertigo: she heard a sweet (almost joyous) summons to renounce her fate and soul (Kundera 60).” For Tereza, falling would mean dying and giving in to the call of the grave, so she tries to fight back and save herself like a spell of vertigo.

Posted by: Craig Graves at March 6, 2015 08:54 AM

Shawn DeJesus
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410CL Reading The Planet CA01
6 March 2015

Part II: If you don’t know who Francis of Assisi is, look this person up on Wikipedia or a more reliable source. What is a fortuity? In your own words, paraphrase and explain what the narrator means when s/he writes, “If a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi’s shoulders.” In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly?

Answer: Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic Friar, the patron saint of animals and the environment, and is widely considered to be one of the most venerated figures in religious history. Saint Francis was dubbed the patron saint of animals and the environment due to his deep love of nature, which he believed was a mirror of God. The most famous story illustrating Francis’ love for nature is when one day while walking, Francis came upon a group of birds, and in awe of their beauty, began praying for them. The birds surrounded him, intrigued by the power of his voice, and not one of them flew away. Fortuity is a chance occurrence, and the state of being controlled by chance rather than intended design. The monotony of a scheduled life has no drastic impact on a person, but instances of chance and fate have a profound effect on people for their spontaneous theatricality. Tomas and Tereza’s relationship bloomed into fruition from a series of fortuities: “the book, Beethoven, the number six, the yellow park bench” which ultimately led to their unforgettable love, and could not have had the same profound effect on one another had there not been any fortuities involved.

Posted by: Shawn DeJesus at March 6, 2015 09:10 AM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 410 CA01 Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
6 March 2015

Question #67: The narrator writes, “Though a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, she was not allowed to paint like Picasso.” For this question, (a.) Who is the “painter” that the narrator is referring to? (b.) Why couldn’t the painter paint in a cubist or non-objective way?

Answer: Sabina is the artist that the narrator is referring to. She went to the Academy of Fine Arts to master her craft so she could betray her father, who hated Picasso. She studied there at the wrong time: "It was the period when so-called socialist realism was prescribed and the school manufactured Portraits of Communist statesmen"(Chapter 3, Part 3, page 91, Michael Henry Heim translation). If the work did not honor the Communist regime, it was not acceptable to the school. Cubism or non-objective art forms could be a subtle form of rebellion, so it had to be discouraged in order to keep the party leaders happy with their subjects.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at March 6, 2015 11:33 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
9 March 2015


Question: #52
PART III: What is an “amanuensis”? What was the story of the amanuensis that Sabina told Franz and what did it have to do with her not wanting to go to Palermo?


Answer:
In Milan Kundera’s novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the word “amanuensis” means “Master” (82). From context clues, this Master was once an apprentice of someone of high importance, for example, a “poet.” Once this poet became too old to take care of himself and his work, the roles reversed (82). Apprentice became Master and poet became an apprentice of dependability in a way. Now, the story of the poet and the “amanuensis” Sabina told to Franz was a subtle hint of her annoyance with the way in which Franz initiated his “love making” (83). She nonchalantly told him that he is dependent on “outside” love, and she will no longer stand for it. The postcard of Palermo then becomes a metaphor for every city, and every city looks the same and has the same sights and activities. Thus, she has a right to be loved in her own “city” (83). Just as the plane symbolized every other plane to the poet so did the city of Palermo symbolize the city of Geneva to Sabina.

Posted by: Emily Finck at March 7, 2015 10:51 AM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
7 March 2015

Question 56. PART III: What, according to the narrator, do lovers “unconsciously establish” in their relationships? How did Sabina break those rules in the scene described by the narrator? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

"All lovers unconsciously establish their own rules of the game, which from the outset admit no transgression (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part III, Ch.1, Pg.84)."

Within Sabina and Franz's relationship, they have set rules. These rules apply to the way they interact within their relationship. Sabina remembers something that she had found exciting with a previous lover, Tomas, and then tries to reenact that scene with Franz. The problem is that Franz is not Tomas and does not understand the gesture. She has gone outside of the "rules" of her relationship with Franz, and accordingly he does not know how to react to her. Sabina seems to be testing Franz with her "long questioning stare (Kundera pg. 86)" to see if he will react as Tomas did to the bowler hat and the mirror, but he does not understand.

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 7, 2015 08:27 PM

Dalton Hart
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet
9 March 2015

Question: Who is Franz and what role does he have in this story, beginning with Part 3? Quote passages from the texts as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Franz is one of Sabina’s lovers. He is a scholar and a married man who partakes in an affair with Sabina. Although Franz does seem to have some sort of etiquette when it comes to his affair with Sabina, he ultimately decides to leave his wife and be with Sabina. This action is rebuffed by Sabina and Franz is forced to redirect his life completely, as he has no wife and Sabina has left him. In Kundera’s novel, Franz represents the idea of lightness being taking for granted. Lightness, in the context of the novel, is the notion that humans have one true path in this world, but Franz does not take notice of this and he ultimately betrays himself because of this. Kundera notes that, after Sabina has decided to leave him, “Franz should have paid better attention. He did not notice it because light meant nothing to him. As we know, he made love with his eyes shut,” (Kundera 116). Franz is representative of the weight that is associated with the world, and what happens when one does not fully invest in their decisions. Franz has many viable options available for him, but because he has a singular view, he is ultimately betrayed by Sabina because of this.

Posted by: Dalton Hart at March 7, 2015 09:32 PM

Lorie Jewell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
9 March 2015

Question III.61: What did the narrator mean when s/he wrote, that the “bowler hat was a motif in the musical composition that was Sabina's life.” How might this, in any way, be connected to the idea of eternal recurrence already introduced in Part One (and discussed in an earlier class meeting)?

Answer: In Part II, the narrator states that human lives are composed like music and that by following your own sense of beauty, “an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life” (Kundera 52). The bowler hat has significance in Sabina’s life for several reasons, beginning with the fact that it first belonged to her grandfather and it was the only item she took as her inheritance when her father died (Kundera 87); besides stirring sentimental feelings, it also plays a role in her “love games” with Tomas. The first time they both wore it, standing in front of the mirror, it got them both excited – possibly because it had a connection to something from a previous experience they were now reliving, hence a connection to eternal return. The narrator describes the experience as a "recapitulation of time," something that was returning over and over again but gaining new meaning with each return (Kundera 86-88).

Posted by: Lorie Jewell at March 8, 2015 06:56 PM

Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
9 March 2015

“…he took to inventing congresses and symposia as a means of justifying the new absences to his wife…He had grown so accustomed to linking their love life to foreign travel that his ‘Let’s go to Palermo!’ was an unambiguous erotic message…” (82).

What is “wanderlust”? What, according to the narrator, was “not enough to satisfy” the new-found wanderlust of Franz? What did Franz do about it? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

The word wanderlust is of German roots and is defined as “the irresistible/very strong desire to travel or wander. This newfound wanderlust takes over Franz’s life and he is unable to satisfy his desires of wandering through being “invited to lecture at foreign universities” (82). While he does accept all of these offers, they do not hold the same significance in his life anymore, and his desires become centered around Sabina and her way of living. He even begins to invent plans and future lectures to tell his wife just to be able to travel with his mistress, away from his own day-to-day life. Franz’s wanderlust is connected to Sabina because of her own free-spiritedness, and also comes from his own definition of love and lovers. His love meant “the constant expectation of a blow” which can definitely be seen by the woman he takes for a wife and the woman he takes as a mistress (85). At the start there is no love between Marie-Claude and it makes Franz have the want to travel for his job. Then after the meeting of Sabina, where every value and ideal are opposite of one another, he desires new love and travel. Franz is a self-destructing character when dealing with love and his wanderlust is created through his inability to find mutual love without finding someone with the exact antithesis of his own. He loved music and Sabina thought of it as useless noisy, he loved parades and she associated it with Communism, Franz viewed lightness and darkness in the extremes while Sabina saw them with the ability to see the balancing. In the end, he loses his wife and Sabina for is estranged thoughts of love. No other love can come to him through other mistresses because of his expectations he made from Sabina, “more as religion than as love” (126).

Posted by: Kristen Collins at March 9, 2015 06:41 AM

Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
9 March 2015

Question (Part 3, #74):
In Part Three, the narrator prepared “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words” section. Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “cemetery” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word.

Answer:
In the “cemetery” section of the “Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words,” a distinction is made between Sabina and Franz regarding cemeteries. Sabina sees cemeteries in a good light as “gardens” where the dead dance “as innocent as children (Kundera 104).” For her, cemeteries are “beautiful as a lullaby (Kundera 104).” Franz, on the other hand, doesn’t see what is so great about cemeteries and considers them to be “ugly dump[s] of stones and bones (Kundera 104).” Sabina is an optimist about cemeteries while Franz is a pessimist. This word is misunderstood because it can mean so many beautiful things to some while others are oblivious to what it can mean, seeing it only for the mundane face-value.

Posted by: Craig Graves at March 9, 2015 08:35 AM

Ashley Gross
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
9 March 2015

Question #76:
The narrator writes, “Marie-Anne began whistling a tune. The painter was speaking slowly and with great concentration and did not hear the whistling.” For this question, (a.) Identify WHO Marie-Anne is and (b.) WHY she was whistling.

Answer:
Marie-Anne is the eighteen-year-old daughter of Franz. As she is talking to Alain, she begins to whistle a tune mid-conversation. When Franz questions her actions she exclaims “because I don’t like to hear people talk about politics” (Kundera 106). Franz then realizes that two men in the group are talking about the upcoming French elections.

Posted by: Ashley Gross at March 9, 2015 08:37 AM

Hannah McCafferty
Dr. Hobbes
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
8 March 2015
Question: PART III: At first, Franz was disappointed that Sabina did not want to go to Palermo. Later, he was overjoyed. What epiphany did Franz have? Why did he have a change of heart? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.
Answer: Franz and Sabina had been having an affair for a long time and each time he and his slept together it would be in another town. He found it strongly disgraceful to have sex with another woman in the same town that his wife lived. Franz began to sweep Sabina off to different cities while on business trips and during those trips they would pursue their sexual relationship. The pattern had become so routine that Franz now associated trips to sex, so when Sabina denies Franz’s offer to go to Palermo he takes it personally. He begins to believe that Sabina does not want him anymore; however, after much thought, Franz realized that was not the case. Love is not a gentle experience; it is a scary one. “She returned with a bottle of wine. She opened it without a word and poured out two glasses. Immediately he felt relieved and slightly ridiculous. The ‘I prefer Geneva’ did not mean she refused to make love; quite the contrary, it meant she was tired of limiting their lovemaking to foreign cities” (Kundera 83). While at first Franz was anxious about his lover’s quiet denial of sex, he immediately becomes relieved. Sabina was not indifferent to him at all; she was in love with him. Sabina wants to take the next step in their relationship by bringing the love making back home, which ultimately means she wishes to take the relationship to a more serious level--this comforts Franz.

Posted by: Hannah McCafferty at March 9, 2015 08:38 AM

Shawn DeJesus
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410CL Reading The Planet CA01
9 March 2015

Question: What is “antithesis?” According to the narrator, what was “love” for Franz? What was his love the antithesis of?

Answer: An antithesis is a contrast or opposition between two things. For Franz, “love meant the constant expectation of a blow.” (Kundera 83) In other words, love requires you to strip yourself of all defenses, similar to how “a prisoner of war must give up his weapon,” love is to leave yourself vulnerable and at the mercy of your significant other. Franz’s passionate love affair with Sabina is the antithesis to the dutiful obligation towards his wife, which he continues in order to keep up public appearances and preserve the symbolic sanctity of marriage. He clearly loves Sabina, because he is constantly paranoid that she does not desire him anymore, which proves that his defenses are in fact down around Sabina, and he is at the mercy of her decision to no longer continue an affair with him if that day ever comes.

Posted by: Shawn DeJesus at March 9, 2015 05:53 PM

Ashley Gross
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
10 March 2015

Question #96:
Who was the “tall man” that Tereza met one day at the bar? What did he do for her? Why was she grateful? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
The tall man that Tereza met was an engineer in Prague that had happened to stop into the bar on his way home from work. The day he was at the bar, he stood up for Tereza when a bald man was giving her troubles. She was grateful because the bald man left soon after his confrontation with the tall man. "Thanks again. That bald fellow comes in all the time. He's terribly unpleasant" (Kundera 145).

Posted by: Ashley Gross at March 10, 2015 04:31 PM


Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
11 March 2015


Question: # 82
PART IV: A character says, “. . . If it wasn’t your choice, we can’t do it. We haven’t the right.” In this quotation, (a.) who is speaking to whom and (b.) to what is the speaker referring? Be specific and explain in your own words.


Answer:
In Milan Kundera’s, novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The man with the rifle on “Petrin Hill” was the one to say, “If it wasn’t your choice, we can’t do it. We haven’t the right” (147,150). The man with the rifle is speaking to Tereza. He was speaking about the manner in which Tomas had chosen for her to “die,” i.e. death by “firing squad” in the park (Kundera 150). The only thing that Tereza could ever hope to offer Tomas in their marriage was her faithfulness. Since Tomas was not able to giver Tereza his faith, Tomas used “death” as a metaphor for her commitment to him.


See if Tereza was willing to go so far as only to offer her sex to him, then she should be prepared to offer her life to demonstrate her devotion to him. However, this scene was meant as more of a lesson for Tereza, to show her that since he is not willing to give her his fidelity she should not so willing do the same. Considering that, Tomas once said, “love and sexuality have nothing in common” (Kundera 152). Suffice to say that love and sexuality are not permanent and, therefore, are concepts susceptible to change. However, death is permanent, and if one does not want death, one should not take the idea of commitment as seriously as Tereza does with Tomas.

Posted by: Emily Finck at March 10, 2015 10:52 PM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
10 March 2015

90. PART IV: Explain why “the remains of Old Town hall” reminded Tereza of her mother. What does one have to do with the other? Why is the information that is revealed in this comparison, significant for the readers’ understanding of Tereza’s character?

"Gazing at the ruins of Old Town Hall, Tereza was suddenly reminded of her mother: that perverse need one has to expose one's ruins, one's ugliness, to parade one's misery, to uncover the stump of one's amputated arm and force the whole world to look at it (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part IV, Ch.4, Pg.136)."

There are ruins of other major cities of different countries that the people rebuild in order to maintain the historical integrity of the fallen buildings. Prague, however, decides to keep the ruined building as evidence of their suffering and loss; as if to brag that they were affected by the war, to show off their damage. This reminds Tereza of her mother because she likes to exaggerate and show the "ugly" of her body. Tereza's mom doesn't care who sees her nude because it is a shell of her former self, she is open with the ugly functions of the body. She does these things as if to make up for what she has lost. As if instead of hiding the ruins or trying to rebuild herself, she chooses to brag the damaged and ugly parts of herself.
This helps the reader understand that Tereza prefers the countries who rebuild their ruins. She values the "pretty" over the openness of the "ugly". This can be applied to her mother, who she would have rathered cover her body and act "right", almost to be more polite and put up a front just to make things seem better and ok.

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 10, 2015 11:03 PM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
10 March 2015

90. PART IV: Explain why “the remains of Old Town hall” reminded Tereza of her mother. What does one have to do with the other? Why is the information that is revealed in this comparison, significant for the readers’ understanding of Tereza’s character?

"Gazing at the ruins of Old Town Hall, Tereza was suddenly reminded of her mother: that perverse need one has to expose one's ruins, one's ugliness, to parade one's misery, to uncover the stump of one's amputated arm and force the whole world to look at it (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part IV, Ch.4, Pg.136)."

There are ruins of other major cities of different countries that the people rebuild in order to maintain the historical integrity of the fallen buildings. Prague, however, decides to keep the ruined building as evidence of their suffering and loss; as if to brag that they were affected by the war, to show off their damage. This reminds Tereza of her mother because she likes to exaggerate and show the "ugly" of her body. Tereza's mom doesn't care who sees her nude because it is a shell of her former self, she is open with the ugly functions of the body. She does these things as if to make up for what she has lost. As if instead of hiding the ruins or trying to rebuild herself, she chooses to brag the damaged and ugly parts of herself.
This helps the reader understand that Tereza prefers the countries who rebuild their ruins. She values the "pretty" over the openness of the "ugly". This can be applied to her mother, who she would have rathered cover her body and act "right", almost to be more polite and put up a front just to make things seem better and ok.

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 10, 2015 11:03 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 410 CA01 Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
11 March 2015

Question #80: A character says, “When I was fourteen, I kept a secret diary. I was terrified that someone might read it, so I kept it hidden in the attic.” For this question, (a.) Who is speaking in this quotation and (b.) what happened to this person’s diary?

Answer: Tereza wrote the diary, which was found by her mother: "And after every sentence, she burst out laughing. They all laughed so hard they couldn't eat" (Chapter 4, part 2, page 134, Michael Henry Heim translation). It was read at the dinner table in front of the family.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at March 11, 2015 12:09 AM

Lorie Jewell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
11 March 2015

Question Pt. 4.81: The narrator writes, “One might say that it is behavior leading another to believe that sexual intimacy is possible, while preventing that possibility from becoming a certainty. In other words, [this concept], is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.” For this question, what “word” (or concept) is the speaker here defining/referring to? This is a specific answer. Explain, in our own words, what the significance of this is.

Answer: The word we are looking for here is flirtation. Kundera is using it to describe Tereza’s actions at the bar she works at; she is flirting with flirtation, attempting to understand Tomas’ belief that love and lovemaking are not one and the same. The significance is that Tereza is out of her element – she is terrible at flirting; it is supposed to be lighthearted and fun, but she makes it heavy and serious. The men begin to see her as a tease – “when the men responded by asking for what they felt they had been promised, they met with strong resistance, and their only explanation for it was that she was deceitful and malicious” (143). Despite this, Tereza ends up going beyond flirtation and bedding the engineer.

Posted by: Lorie Jewell at March 11, 2015 06:41 AM

Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
11 March 2015

“Only then did she notice the black head and large beak of a crow lying on the cold dirt of barren plot. The bodiless head bobbed slowly up and down, and the beak gave out an occasional hoarse and mournful croak…There was a thick yellow liquid oozing from it.”

Explain the bizarre situation with the crow that Tereza found. Explain the significance of the event.

The crow is an obvious omen for what is to come for Tereza, and it will be nothing happy or good. By finding the crow, Tereza ultimately found her end through the significance the crow has symbolically throughout culture. The crow, usually associated with magic, is an omen or messenger of death, scoring across war ridden lands filled with conflict and disaster. If she had found the crow completely dead, the messenger would have been completely different, instead of bringing death it would have brought her good luck. Unfortunately she found the bird when it was at the precipice of death and tried to heal it, ultimately failing in the task which most likely brought even more back luck against her. The unknown means of the bird’s death is also associated with the coming events, especially with the significance of the color yellow. As a color just standing alone, yellow can indicate honor, loyalty, cheerful feelings, and sometimes, cowardice. Most of these things are associate with positives things. As for the situation with Tereza, if yellow is linked with the color black then the entire meaning is changed. Yellow combined with black has a connotation to warning and danger, and with the fact that Tereza still touched the crow, she unknowing disregarded the warning. Whether it is a figurative or literal death, Tereza will not have a pleasant future ahead of her.

Posted by: Kristen Collins at March 11, 2015 06:52 AM

Hannah McCafferty
Dr. Hobbes
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
8 March 2015
Question: What was Tereza’s secret that she kept at fourteen? Why did she have it? How did it
backfire on her? Who discovered her secret? What was the result? What does this backstory of
Tereza have to do with the conversation Tomas was just having with her?

Answer: At the age of fourteen, Tereza kept a small, hidden diary as a way to express her feelings. In fear that someone might read it, Tereza hid the diary in the attic. However, her mother discovered the diary and read it aloud, “‘Listen carefully now, everybody!’ And after every sentence, she burst out laughing. They all laughed so hard they couldn’t eat” (Kundera 134). Her mother’s decision to read Tereza’s diary aloud affected Tereza in a large way. Just as Prochazka endured when his conversations leaked, Tereza had to accept a lack of privacy and betrayal. Thus, when Tomas is complaining about the Prague government, he is, in turn, criticizing himself. In Tomas and Tereza’s relationship, Tereza is unintentionally the butt of a joke, the same way she was with her mother. Tomas frequently runs to other women, providing Tereza with a broad sense of betrayal, as well as an absence of privacy. The one thing that should stay in between a couple, sex, does not and, just as Prochazka will have to do, she accepts this confidentiality.

Posted by: Hannah McCafferty at March 11, 2015 08:27 AM

Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
11 March 2015

Question 87
What is a tram? Why did Tereza detest the trams? Summarize and explain the scene with the umbrellas. What was the conflict, if any?

Answer:
A tram is a train similar to a subway that runs in Prague. Tereza hates the trams because they are “constantly packed with people pushing into one another’s hate-filled embraces, stepping on one another’s feet, tearing off one another’s coat buttons, and shouting insults (Kundera 134).” Instead of dealing with that kind close-up negativity, Tereza favors walking to and from her destinations. During the umbrella scene, Tereza was trying to be courteous to the other people with umbrella who were bumping into her and pushing her around with their umbrellas. Originally, Tereza was being polite to everyone else, but she soon realized no one else was being courteous, so she followed suit. While this was happening, Tereza noticed that the younger women were, the quieter umbrella-carrying pedestrians. The conflict during the umbrella scene is the quiet paralleling of the trams. The umbrella scene involves people pushing into one another with their umbrellas, the only differences to the trams are that people do not say anything upon bumping into each other save the occasional insult.

Posted by: Craig Graves at March 11, 2015 09:40 AM

Rebecca Maldonado
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
11 March 2015

Question: Who is/ was Jan Prochazka, and what happened to him? Why is his backstory of any significance to the narrative?

Answer: Jan Prochazka was an older Czech novelist around the age of forty-four. He is descried as having “the strength and vitality of an ox” (Kundera 133). Perhaps this applies to not only his physicality, but to his ability to go against the grain, venturing out into dangerous territory. He wrote in protest of the Russian Communism. As a result, he became a beloved figure in society. Jan had a friend who was a professor. Unfortunately, that professor’s office was bugged and many of their private conversations were broadcasted over the radio. The people were devastated in the way in which he mocked his own friends. Jan’s importance is this: “People use filthy language all day long, but when they turn on the radio and hear a well-known personality, someone they respect, saying ‘fuck’ in every sentence, they feel somehow let down” (Kundera 133). Jan’s story actually is extremely relatable. Especially with the example that Tereza gives once her mother finds her secret diary and her mother reads it to all her friends.

Posted by: Rebecca Maldonado at March 11, 2015 10:10 AM

Ashtan Richey, Shawn DeJesus
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
11 March 2015

"Lightness and Darkness"

"Living for Sabina meant seeing. Seeing is limited by two borders: strong light, which blinds, and total darkness. Perhaps that was what motivated Sabina's distaste for all extremism (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part III, Ch.3, Pg.94)."
"In Franz the word "light" did not evoke the picture of a landscape basking in the soft glow of a day; it evoked the source of light itself: the sun, a light bulb, a spotlight (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part III, Ch.3, Pg.94)."

Franz;
Lightness is the "right" thing to Franz, in the views of "right and wrong" as they apply to society in his time. He shows this throw his way of living. He marries Marie-Claude because he thinks it is the right thing. "He was not particularly fond of Marie-Claude, [...] he felt himself unworthy of so great a love, and felt he owed her a low bow (Kundera, pg. 90). Marie-Claude's suicide threat as an act of love made Franz feel it "right" to marry her. He then lives his life correctly, and when he does venture to do wrong, through his affair with Sabina, his strict moral beliefs compel him to only sleep with his mistress in foreign places.
This constant living in the "light" draws Franz to Sabina, representing "darkness". He speaks of how her life is more interesting than his, in the sense that she has seen more devastation. "And just to think, that laughable episode was the greatest conflict I've ever experienced! The pinnacle of the dramatic possibilities available to my life! We live in two different dimensions, you and I (Kundera, pg. 102)."
"He knew that these days turning out the light before making love was considered laughable, and so he always left a small lamp burning over the bed (Kundera, pg. 95)." Even while doing something so private such as making love Franz feels compelled to follow the social stigma and leave a light on. In a small defiance of this, however, he closes his eyes during sex to feel more excited.
Franz represents "lightness" and yet is attracted to "darkness".

Sabina;
Sabina is representative of "darkness". This is shown by Sabina's life that if full of betrayals. She does things for herself, opposite of Franz's driving force of what is "socially right". "[...] Life opened up before her, a long road of betrayals, each one attracting her as vice and victory (Kundera, pg. 98)."
Sabina is drawn to "lightness" in the sense of lack of commitment. She uses the betrayals as a way out of things, a way of choosing lightness.
Sabina, however, thinks more into her situation of life than Franz does. Sabina feels that she will not be able to continue her life as she does, constantly striking out against things that have meaning. "Sooner or later she would have to put an end to her betrayals! Sooner or later she would have to stop herself! (Kundera, pg. 98)."

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 11, 2015 12:46 PM

Ashtan Richey, Shawn DeJesus
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
11 March 2015

"Lightness and Darkness"

"Living for Sabina meant seeing. Seeing is limited by two borders: strong light, which blinds, and total darkness. Perhaps that was what motivated Sabina's distaste for all extremism (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part III, Ch.3, Pg.94)."
"In Franz the word "light" did not evoke the picture of a landscape basking in the soft glow of a day; it evoked the source of light itself: the sun, a light bulb, a spotlight (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part III, Ch.3, Pg.94)."

Franz;
Lightness is the "right" thing to Franz, in the views of "right and wrong" as they apply to society in his time. He shows this throw his way of living. He marries Marie-Claude because he thinks it is the right thing. "He was not particularly fond of Marie-Claude, [...] he felt himself unworthy of so great a love, and felt he owed her a low bow (Kundera, pg. 90). Marie-Claude's suicide threat as an act of love made Franz feel it "right" to marry her. He then lives his life correctly, and when he does venture to do wrong, through his affair with Sabina, his strict moral beliefs compel him to only sleep with his mistress in foreign places.
This constant living in the "light" draws Franz to Sabina, representing "darkness". He speaks of how her life is more interesting than his, in the sense that she has seen more devastation. "And just to think, that laughable episode was the greatest conflict I've ever experienced! The pinnacle of the dramatic possibilities available to my life! We live in two different dimensions, you and I (Kundera, pg. 102)."
"He knew that these days turning out the light before making love was considered laughable, and so he always left a small lamp burning over the bed (Kundera, pg. 95)." Even while doing something so private such as making love Franz feels compelled to follow the social stigma and leave a light on. In a small defiance of this, however, he closes his eyes during sex to feel more excited.
Franz represents "lightness" and yet is attracted to "darkness".

Sabina;
Sabina is representative of "darkness". This is shown by Sabina's life that if full of betrayals. She does things for herself, opposite of Franz's driving force of what is "socially right". "[...] Life opened up before her, a long road of betrayals, each one attracting her as vice and victory (Kundera, pg. 98)."
Sabina is drawn to "lightness" in the sense of lack of commitment. She uses the betrayals as a way out of things, a way of choosing lightness.
Sabina, however, thinks more into her situation of life than Franz does. Sabina feels that she will not be able to continue her life as she does, constantly striking out against things that have meaning. "Sooner or later she would have to put an end to her betrayals! Sooner or later she would have to stop herself! (Kundera, pg. 98)."

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 11, 2015 12:46 PM

Emily Finck and Rebecca Moldonado
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
13 March 2015


Question: #5
Milan Kundera titles Part Three of his novel, “Misunderstood Words” and lists, at least, eleven of them in several subsections called “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” They include the following your group is to expand upon “Parades.”


Answer:
First, Group Definition:
A parade is a gathering/ precession centered on fun, revelry, and community, where the experience shared with friends and family. For example, holiday parades exemplify the qualities expressed above.


Next, Definition of Parade by the narrator through the characters Sabina and Franz:
Sabina: Parades are a source of “hatred, humiliation, and the need for silence” (Kundera 100).
Franz: Parades are a source of “enjoyment, rally, community, and purpose” (Kundera 99).


Both Sabina and Franz have a different way of viewing parades. Franz sees them in a more positive light where Sabina see parades in a more negative light because of her time in “boarding school” (Kundera 100). Franz wishes to attend parades and seek refuge in their otherworldliness while Sabina wishes to separate herself from their obnoxious reality.


The reason for this extreme differentiation in views of parades is that Sabin’s idea of the word brings back memories of her oppression by communism while she was away at school. Parades were the very definition of “communist conformity” (Kundera 100). Franz on the other hand saw parades as a means of escaping his “real life” the life he built for himself as an academic. When in reality his real life was, his academics and his illusion of real life were the parades. In this sense, the parade becomes the “dream life” he wishes to be a part of, but can never obtain (Kundera 100).


Kundera uses the concept of events both present and past to show how they influence the character as a means to define their being. This method is effective because it shows the reader a more personal/ real side to an otherwise fictional character. Kundera chose this certain concept to define because this word had a significant meaning/impact on or to the characters and sheds insight on how they act and why. The way that this term and the other terms have been defined has not in any way clouded the overall understanding of the novel. These events and phrases make up the characters in how they interact, react, and function throughout the story.

Posted by: Emily Finck at March 11, 2015 03:20 PM

Ashley Gross
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
11 March 2015

Question #117:
Why, according to the narrator, could Tomas not bear the smiles of his colleagues? What were they smiling about? What is the meaning of their smiles? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
Tomas could not bear the smiles because he knew that these colleagues, which he had never been friends with, were judging him because of his self-criticism. The side of the conformists smiled at him because they assumed that because he accepted the chief's proposal, he would be conforming like they did. The non-conformers were mocking him because they thought he was a coward. "Everyone was smiling at him, everyone wanted him to write the retraction; it would make everyone happy! The people with the first type of reaction would be happy because by inflating cowardice, he would make their actions seem commonplace and thereby give them back their lost honor. The people with the second type of reaction, who had come to consider their honor a special privilege never to be yielded, nurtured a secret love for the cowards, for without them their courage would soon erode into a trivial, monotonous grind admired by no one" (Kundera 183).

Posted by: Ashley Gross at March 11, 2015 04:59 PM

Lorie Jewell and Shaina McSweeney
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
11 March 2015

Question 6: “The Beauty of New York.” Define the word or phrase and give the narrator’s explanation; explain Kundera’s method for defining words and whether it is effective; and why did Kundera choose these words to expound upon? How does his discussion of these terms help your understanding of the story?

Answer: New York is a city in constant motion, always buzzing with energy and incredibly diverse in both population and scenery – all of which qualifies it as beautiful. Kundera captures this with his description of Franz and Sabina walking the city streets and noticing a variety of strange and ordinary scenes – a man praying on his knees in the middle of a sidewalk, a beautiful black woman by a tree, a man in a black suit acting like he’s leading an orchestra while crossing a street, construction workers sitting around eating their lunch; a huge glass skyscraper, and iron ladders on the sides of ugly red buildings. “The view changed with each step, as if they were following a winding mountain path surrounded by breathtaking scenery” (101). Sabina describes the city as having “unintentional beauty” – or beauty by mistake. Kundera is perhaps saying that this type of energy and diversity cannot be planned. He defines this phrase through vivid descriptions of that Franz and Sabina see, as well as through their dialogue. He chose this phrase in order to illustrate the difference between Franz and Sabina, specifically how they view the world. Franz does not think New York is beautiful, he prefers Europe, where beauty is planned – “We’ve always had an aesthetic intention and a long-range plan,” he tells Sabina (101). Sabina thinks the city is beautiful, that it makes her think of her paintings. Sabina is attracted to the ‘alien’ quality of the city, while Franz is afraid of it.

Posted by: Lorie Jewell and Shaina McSweeney at March 12, 2015 03:24 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
13 March 2015


Question: #116
PART V: What is a “conformist”? Was Tomas a conformist? Why, or why not? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.


Answer:
In Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the term “conformist”, as defined by the narrator, is someone who lets the “communist party” and the “secret police” dictate what an individual does. (179-180). According to the novel Tomas tries his hardest to nonconformity but, in fact, becomes the epitome of conformist in the end. For example, Tomas’s article about Oedipus and the story’s relation to society since the Russian Occupation peaks an interest with the Russians who run a magazine. After the article published, the content is drastically “altered” to read negatively against the Russian Invasion (179). In order to remedy the article and the uproar it caused Tomas was expected to retract his statement, and the whole situation would disappear, he would even get to keep his job.


However, Tomas does not retract his statement not once but twice, and as a result lost his job at the hospital and the clinic. Thus, Tomas unconsciously played into the hands of conformity by thinking he chose to leave the hospital and the clinic after that. In reality, the communist party goaded him into not one but two life altering decisions, making Tomas think he was leaving of his own accord. His former boss and the ministry worker were just informants for the communist party who orchestrated Tomas's decisions from the start.

Posted by: Emily Finck at March 12, 2015 05:28 PM

Craig Graves and Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
11 March 2015

Cemetery

Group Definition: where dead people live

Sabina’s Definition: peaceful and beautiful, with lack of people; like a children’s ball, dead are innocent children; since it is death, there is no brutality of life – Optimistic

Franz’s Definition: ugly, with only bones and stones – Pessimistic

Seeing the peace, serenity, simplicity, and beauty of the cemetery.

Kundera explains the concept of the word cemetery through two opposing views. It gives more options and points of view for the readers to interpret the word itself.

There are key character information and development in these words. In specific, it can be the views on life and death when pertaining to the cemetery. It helps with understanding the entirety of the novel, helps broaden our understanding, and carries the plot along.

Posted by: Craig Graves and Kristen Collins at March 12, 2015 06:37 PM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
11 March 2015

110. PART V: This is a context question. Explain what Tomas meant, when he asked himself, is “a fool on the throne relieved of all responsibility merely because he is a fool?” Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

"And the accused responded: We didn't know! We were deceived! We were true believers! Deep in our hearts we are innocent! In the end, the dispute narrowed down to a single question: Did they really not know or were they merely making believe? (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part V, Ch.2, Pg.176)"

The Communist are catching the blame for everything that has gone awry, but they are claiming ignorance as a defense, which causes Tomas to ask if people can claim ignorance in order to get away with their crimes. Is it worse to be too stupid to notice that something is happening, and go along with things, compared to knowingly joining a group and cooperating? People who are convicted of a crime receive punishment. Shouldn't the people who claim stupidity as a defense also be punished? And if so, should it be equal? Tomas's view is that he believes the claim of ignorance, but does not believe that that is the same thing as innocence. Tomas compares the situation to Oedipus, saying that Oedipus didn't know he was sleeping with his mother, but when he found out he gouged out his own eyes in disgust, that Oedipus didn't know he was doing wrong but yet "he did not feel innocent (Kundera, pg.177)." "How is it you aren't horrified? Have you no eyes to see? (Kundera, pg. 177)."

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 12, 2015 10:39 PM

Dalton Hart
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet
13 March 2015

Question: What kind of article did Tomas write? What did the chief surgeon request of Tomas about his article? What was the result?

Answer: Tomas writes a piece pertaining to whether the Communists in Europe are innocent because they believed they were blinded by the ideal of Communism. In his article, Tomas claims that these Communists are in fact guilty, as he relates the situation to that of Oedipus and the guilt he experiences after unknowingly sleeping with his mother. The chief surgeon requests that Tomas retract his article from the Weekly newspaper that published it. Because Tomas does not retract his article, he loses his job at the hospital and is forced to find other work. Tomas does not wish to lose his job, but he knows that it is a possible consequence, and after a weeks of declining the retraction, “[Tomas] was forced to leave the hospital” (Kundera 184).

Posted by: Dalton Hart at March 12, 2015 10:41 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 410 CA01 Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
12 March 2015

Question #127: What, according to the narrator, was the “true story behind Beethoven’s famous Muss
es sien? Es muss sein! Motif” that s/he doubted if Tomas knew?

Answer: A man owed Beethoven money. When Beethoven asked for it, the guy reluctantly asked, "Muss es sein?" and Beethoven replied with a laugh, "Es muss sein" (It must be) The composer liked the sound of it so much he made it into a motif in one of his works. "German is a language of heavy words. Es muss sein! was no longer a joke; it had become der schwer gefasste Entschluss (the difficult or weighty resolution). So Beethoven turned a frivolous inspiration into a serious quartet, a joke into metaphysical truth" (Chapter 5, part 8, page 194, Michael Henry Heim translation). Beethoven ended up imbuing the words with a far more serious meaning than the playful conversation in which they first arose.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at March 12, 2015 11:16 PM

Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
13 March 2015

“Tomas followed the dispute closely and was of the opinion that while there had definitely been Communists who were not completely unaware…it was probable that the majority of the Communists had not in fact known of them…As a result of your ‘not knowing,’ this country has lost its freedom…If you had eyes, you would have to put them out and wander away from Thebes.”

In what way did the narrator connect the tale of Oedipus with Tomas’s dispute with the Communists? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

The story of Oedipus was connected to the Communists by the fact that each where in some way, unaware of the consequences of their actions. Oedipus was unaware that he was sleeping with his own mother and the Communists, while not unaware of the atrocities that committed in Czech, did not know the full extent of their decisions. Unfortunately there is one major difference to the two when dealing with the consequences of their actions. Oedipus was so distraught and sickened by the fact that he married his own mother, he gouged his eyes out as punishment. He made sure to punish himself for fulfilling the oracle’s prophecy, even with the fact he was ultimately unaware of the entire situation until it was too late. The Communists on the other hand, continue to deny that they were wrong in any way, and with the fact that they were unaware, they believe this takes away any form of consequences upon them. Rather than gouging their metaphorical eyes out as punishment for all of the atrocities committed, they say that their own ignorance absolves them from the guilt they should feel. Tomas states in a few questions and a finally statement, that the Communists should follow what Oedipus did rather than act as if everything is fine. Ignorance is just as bad if there is no repentance.

Posted by: Kristen Collins at March 13, 2015 06:46 AM

Lorie Jewell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
13 March 2015

Question Pt. 5.112: What is a “guberniya”? What did the Russians decide was inadmissible in their gubernia [guberniya]” and why? What was the result? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: A gunerniya is Russian for province or district. Not long after the newspaper published Tomas’ letter comparing communists’ lack of guilt to the story of Oedipus, such communists were outraged: “See what things have come to! Now they’re telling us to publicly put our eyes out” (178)! Even though that was not what Tomas was suggesting – and it would have been ridiculous to take it literally, anyway – the Russians took it at face value and outlawed free speech in their gubernia, leading them to send their Army to take over the country. After that, Russian officials tried to force Tomas to write a retraction, which he refused to do. The only way he could escape the pressure was to quit working as a doctor and become a window washer, which, ironically, made him quite happy.

Posted by: Lorie Jewell at March 13, 2015 07:39 AM

Hannah McCafferty
Dr. Hobbes
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
12 March 2015

Question: PART V: Why does the topic of “smiles” suddenly enter the narration of this story? Who is smiling, and why? What does it mean? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words

Answer: Smiles begin to play a large role in this section of the novel. They start to have a large significance to Tomas because he begins to overanalyze everyone’s reasons for smiling at him. While Tomas is not faithful to women, he is true to his beliefs. Tomas beautifully crafts article that is published in which he compares the communists to Oedipus. They should be disgusted due to the issues they have caused. Unfortunately, the Russians did not enjoy the comparison and, as a result, they attacked Czechoslovakia. Toma's employer is then prompted to give him an ultimatum: write a retraction letter or lose his job. Tomas, beginning to scrutinize everyone, started to notice more people smiling at him. Immediately, he recognizes this as society’s satisfaction and expectations that he will retreat into the same cowardice that they do every day and write the retraction letter. “And suddenly Tomas grasped a strange fact: everyone was smiling at him, everyone wanted him to write the retraction; it would make everyone happy” (Kundera 183). He finds it mocking; half the people that smile at him are feel comforted because his display of potential weakness and the other half smile because they are braver than he is. As a result, pride consumed Tomas, and he refused to write the retraction causing him to lose his job.

Posted by: Hannah McCafferty at March 13, 2015 09:11 AM

First, define the word or phrase in a way that you and your group members normally understand them.
Then, move to the narrator’s own explanation. Through the narrator, Kundera considers the words listed above as “misunderstood” for two particular participants in a love affair.
• Church – A building used for worship.
o How does the narrator want us, the readers, to understand this word/phrase?
• Kundera states that the church is God’s world. He compares it to the “Whores World,” to contrast the good and bad in society.
o How do the narrator’s/characters’ definitions work with yours (i.e., do they conflict)?
• Our definition focuses on the physical aspect of what a church is, while Kundera focuses on the spiritual aspect of the church.
o How does the narrator redefine these terms, differently, for each character involved?
• Franz: Saw the church as fascinating because he feels that “the Grand March of History had passed through the hall.” Even though he sees the emptiness of the church, he could still see the church’s history.
• Sabina: Compares the empty church to the communists emptying the Czech churches. She makes the connection of the hatred of beauty. She compares the empty church to a church in her village. This village church was an outlet for her. The village church was beautiful compared the world outside of the church doors.
• InterpretationalDiscretion/PrivilegeORArtisticLiberty?
Kundera, through the voice of the narrator, doesn’t always use a traditional “dictionary” style format to define his words, e.g. “Dog: a four-legged mammal in the Canine family.”
o What method(s) does Kundera use, instead, to define a concept? o Is it effective?
• He refers to the church as a spiritual dimension, Yes.
o Why, or, why not?
• Yes it is effective because, it helps us to distinguish between a place of peace, the church (Utopia) and a place of havoc (Dystopia), earth.
• For Purposes of Clarification: Kundera, through the voice of the narrator, could have chosen any words to “clarify” for this part of his novel.
• I feel like he could have described the two separate universes better. Kundera could have went into more detail about the different worlds.
o Why, do you think, did he choose these words to expound upon? o How does his discussion of these terms help (or, hurt) your understanding of the story?
• He chose to expound upon what a church is to show readers that, the church is actually a Utopia which is a different universe to earth, a dystopia.

Posted by: Marcus Chisholm/Deidre Rowan at March 13, 2015 09:32 AM

Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
13 March 2015

Question (Part 5 #114)
What is the difference between the word “refute” and the word “retract”? Why did the chief surgeon say that, when it comes to an idea, the execution of ONE of these words is impossible? Which word, and why? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
The word “refute” means to disagree with a statement with one that is equally or more compelling. “Retract” means to deny, invalidate, or recall what one has already said. According to the surgeon, “an idea can be refuted, but not retracted (Kundera 179).” The surgeon goes on to say that since retracting ideas is impossible, and nothing can be wholly taken seriously, people need to ignore what is unimportant. What this could mean is that ideas become alive when they are said or thought. If this is the case, then “retracting” the idea would essentially kill it. Therefore, it would be better to “refute” the idea, which would only give birth to a rivaling idea without destroying the previous idea.

Posted by: Craig Graves at March 13, 2015 09:43 AM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
13 March 2015

131. PART VI: According to the narrator, who was the son of Stalin, and how did he die? When was it that Czechs were able to find out this information? What does the narrator mean when s/he says,
“how short the step from one pole of human existence to another”? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

"If rejection and privilege are one in the same, [...] if the son of God can undergo judgement for shit, then human existence loses its dimensions and becomes unbearably light (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part VI, Ch.2, Pg. 244)."

Stalin's son, Yakov, is experienced in binaries; "how short the step from one pole of human existence [is] to the other (Kundera, pg. 244)." He is referred to as "the Son of God" because of his father's title, but yet he is also a "cast off" in his relations with his father. In this way, he is comparable to the north and south pole, having titles at such opposite ends of the spectrum, but yet he is so easily one or the other. The Czechs read the story of Yakov's death in "1980 [...] in the Sunday Times (Kundera, pg. 243)." Yakov became a prisoner of war to the German's, and killed himself at that camp after an ongoing altercation between himself and the other prisoners over his shit. Yakov "could not stand the humiliation (Kundera, pg. 243)." Kundera asks if it is possible for someone of Yakov's stigma to be able to die for such a cause. The manner of Stalin's sons death shows the unbearable lightness of being, due to the fact that the son of "the most powerful man in the world (Kundera, pg. 243)" died over his humiliation of the mess he left in a prison camp latrine.

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 14, 2015 04:57 PM

Lorie Jewell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
14 March 2015

Question Pt. 6.145: Explain what the narrator means when s/he said, “Tereza's dream reveals the true function of kitsch.” To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage).

Answer: The narrator tells us in section five that kitsch is a German word that essentially means the absence of shit; it is an “aesthetic ideal” that denies its existence, both literally and figuratively – “. . . kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence” (248). So in other words, shit does NOT happen, ever. Kitsch is always seeing the heart warming, sentimental side of life: “the brotherhood of man on earth will be possible only on a base of kitsch” (251). In Tereza’s dream, she is forced to sing happy songs while marching naked around a swimming pool that contains a bunch of dead bodies; if she stops or tries to communicate with any of the women around her, the guards will shoot her. In this instance, the narrator describes kitsch as “a folding screen set up to curtain off death” (253) – in other words, kitsch prevents people from seeing the crappy side of life – which in many cases is the true version of life.

Posted by: Lorie Jewell at March 14, 2015 07:43 PM

Lorie Jewell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
14 March 2015

Question Pt. 6.137: What does the word “onerous” mean? Why, according to the narrator, is excrement “a more onerous theological problem” that evil is?

Answer: In this instance, onerous means troublesome. Prior to this sentence, the narrator discusses whether God/Jesus did or did not defecate. When he says, “Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil” (246), he follows that up with commentary about how since he gave man free will, man must accept responsibility for any evil that results but the same does not apply to poo: “The responsibility for shit, however, rests entirely with Him, the Creator of man” (246).

Posted by: Lorie Jewell at March 14, 2015 08:07 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 410 CA01 Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
14 March 2015

Question #134: What deductions did the young narrator make when he saw illustrations of God with, for example, “a mouth”? Why was that a conflict for the narrator?

Answer: The narrator used to worry that, if God had a mouth, he must eat, and if he eats, he must defecate. "[E]ither man was created in God's image—and God has intestines!—or God lacks intestines and man is not like Him. The ancient Gnostics felt as I did at the age of five. In the second century, the great Gnostic master Valentinus resolved the damnable dilemma by claiming that Jesus ate and drank, but did not defecate" (Chapter 6, part 3, pages 245-6, Michael Henry Heim translation). This sacrilege worried him greatly because either God is not perfect or the imperfect creation (man) has more than the perfect Creator (God).

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at March 14, 2015 11:55 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 410 CA01 Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
15 March 2015

Question #147: What, according to the narrator, is the “real” enemy of Sabina, according to her own
statements? Why is that her enemy, instead of what the West Germans thought it would be?

Answer: According to Sabina, her "real" enemy was an aesthetic one, not an ethical one. "What repelled her was not nearly so much the ugliness of the Communist world (ruined castles transformed into cow sheds) as the mask of beauty it tried to
wear—" (Chapter 6, part 6, page 248-9, Michael Henry Heim translation). Using kitsch, Communism claimed to purge the world of all impurities by just denying the existence of those things. It is like covering a pile of manure with a bed of flowers to hide the stench and then saying that the manure was not there.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at March 15, 2015 12:53 AM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
13 March 2015

146. PART VI: Why did Sabina protest the depiction of her in a West German catalogue about her art work? Why did the Germans who created the catalogue “not understand her”? Explain the dispute
but, understand, that to correctly answer this question, you need to be absolutely SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

"Inside she found a biography that read like the life of a saint or martyr: she had suffered, struggled against injustice, been forced to abandon her bleeding homeland, yet was carrying on the struggle (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part VI, Ch.11, Pg. 254)."

After finding her biography in a German catalogue, Sabina detests being portrayed as the kitsch of Czech. The article portrays Sabina as a person fighting communism through her work. She does not want to be made into a suffering soul, and she did not want any of her life to be an icon for other people. She then made it a mission to take all of her life details out of her biography. "It was all merely a desperate attempt to escape the kitsch that people wanted to make of her life (Kundera, pg. 254)."

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 15, 2015 07:51 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
23 March 2015


Question: #149
PART VI: What, according to the narrator, truly “makes a leftist a leftist”? What does this have to do with Franz? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understandings of both “kitsch” AND “the Grand March” are (consider the context of this passage). Both of these expressions are discussed, in some detail, in earlier places of the novel. In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own
words.


Answer:
In Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, according the narrator what “makes a leftist a leftist” is nothing other than “political kitsch” (257). In other words, a working definition of a leftist is someone who identifies with the left side of politics and “theoretical principles” within such a party (Kundera 257). The reason Franz is involved with the leftists is the appeal of the “political kitsch” as pertains to the “Grand March” (257). Franz liked to involve himself whatever he felt was his way of escaping his everyday “reality,” thus, forming his infatuation with “escapist kitsch” (Kundera 100, 257). The narrator then goes on to say that entire notion of the “Grand March” and “leftism” is nothing more than kitsch itself. Meaning that in the grand scheme of things the movements based on politics has no weight in the realm of Lightness/Weight.

Posted by: Emily Finck at March 19, 2015 03:30 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
23 March 2015


Question: #150
PART VI: Why, according to the narrator, did Franz have “the sudden feeling that the Grand March was coming to an end”? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of “the Grand March” is (consider the context of this passage). The idea is discussed, in some detail, in earlier places of the novel. In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.


Answer:
In Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Franz thinks, “Grand March is coming to an end” because of the current situation in Cambodia. No matter how much they march for politics and justice on behalf of the injured, no headway was made. The “silence” form over the wall in Cambodia echoed through Franz like a shot. His entire life, his “political kitsch” his “life” was coming to end around him (Kundera 267). Franz finally realized that all politics/marches mean nothing in the grand scheme of things because everyone/every country marched to their own “kitsch” (268-269). Everything has weight, and everything ends up weighing the “same” in the end, no matter the situation of circumstance (269).

Posted by: Emily Finck at March 19, 2015 03:51 PM

Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
20 March 2015

Question #135:
If, as the Old Testament claims, “man was [literally] created in God’s image,” what problematic issues does the narrator run into when trying to imagine the nature of God? How can excrement and the Deity be incompatible? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
The central question the narrator faces in this section is if man and God are similar. For the narrator, this quandary arose from the idea that if man was made in God’s image, then God would surely have the same bodily functions of man, or as the narrator puts it, “God has intestines (Kundera 245).” The problem with this is that the narrator feels that it is sacrilegious to think that God would relieve himself as humans do. Since God is divine, he would have no need to use a toilet. Based on that, why would he need to have the same organs humans do for the same process? In that way, man would be made in an image different than God. As the narrator explains it with citations from other theologians is that there was no need to defecate in Paradise because there was perfection. It was not until Adam and Eve were kicked out of Paradise and the emotions of excitement and disgust, among others, were discovered that the need to defecate arose (Kundera 246-7).


Posted by: Craig Graves at March 20, 2015 06:21 PM

Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
20 March 2015

Question #156:
The narrator says that people “all need someone to look at” them and that everyone “can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under.” Which category, according to the narrator, does “Tomas’s son” belong and why? What do we know/learn about Tomas’s son at this point in the novel? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
According to the narrator, there are four “looks” that people choose to live under: there is the “look of an infinite number of eyes,” “[those] who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes,” “[those] who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love,” and “[those] who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present (Kundera 269-70).” Tomas’s son, Simon, lived in the fourth category seeking the gaze of those not present, though really he just wanted the gaze of his father. For most of his life, Simon wanted to find and meet his father who was never there for him, essentially lost from Simon’s life. Not much is known about Simon at this point in time in the novel and his life story is breezed through in a few sentences. What we do know is that Simon was expelled from school for his role in a petition campaign, his married his girlfriend, drives a tractor, is a Catholic, and is a father. We know that Simon lives in the fourth category because he writes a letter to Tomas that asked simply for “[Tomas to focus his eyes on [Simon’s] life (Kundera 271).”

Posted by: Craig Graves at March 20, 2015 06:22 PM

Jahiedy Vinas
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
03 March 2015

LIGHTNESS AND WEIGHT

Question 4 PART I: Why does the narrator say, “In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia”? What might this mean? Deconstruct it and explain it.

Answer: The narrator is explaining the concept of eternal return as something that “implies a perspective [where] things appear [different] than as we know them,” without the “circumstance of transitory nature” (4). In other words, that different perspective is unclear, unknown, a different reality, imagination, fantasy, a point of view other than ours and since that is not reality, as in an unbiased reality in real life, there is no plausible way to come to a final verdict or judgment about it because of this uncertainty; it is still happening and hasn’t ended. There is no verdict unless the action is over. Therefore, the narrator expresses when it finally does end-if it does- there will always be this fuzzy silver lining of nostalgia surrounding that surreal perspective, even if it is of an event as horrible as the holocaust or the French Revolution’s guillotine.

Posted by: Jahiedy Vinas at March 22, 2015 03:24 PM

Jahiedy Vinas
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
22 March 2015

SOUL AND BODY

Question 43 Part II: The narrator discusses two people named “Anna” and “Vronsky.” Who are these people? What do they have to do with Tereza and/or Tomas? Explain.

Answer: Anna and Vronsky are characters in the novel Tereza “clutched under her arm when she went to visit Tomas” and she associates their meeting to be under similar circumstances as she and Tomas had met (52). Tereza finds these mysterious and “symmetrical” coincidences since she connects the book in Tomas’ hand as being an “emblem of secret brotherhood” to her characters in her book, especially with Anna (42). Anna chose to bind herself to the place where her love was birthed, at the train station where she met Vronsky, by throwing herself under the train and die because of how an “individual composes [her] life according to the laws of beauty” (52). Tereza found beauty in how she met Tomas with Beethoven’s music playing, which signified “something higher” in the “outside world” for Tereza, while serving his cognac, transforming that moment into a motif, “a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life” (49, 52). Tereza’s motif of where and how she met Tomas is a real life reflection of Anna’s motif of her meeting and dying where she met Vronksy.

Posted by: Jahiedy Vinas at March 22, 2015 03:53 PM

Jahiedy Vinas
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
22 March 2015

WORDS MISUNDERSTOOD

Question 57 Part III: Use Google Images to look at some examples of a “bowler hat.” For this question, you will have to establish context before answering. Why did the narrator say that when Franz removed Sabina’s bowler hat, it “was as though he were erasing the mustache a naughty child had drawn on a picture of the Virgin Mary.” Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but explain in your own words.

Answer: Franz does not understand any of the meanings behind Sabina’s bowler hat. In fact, it made him uncomfortable because it felt like an unfamiliar language, something insignificant, meaningless, and silly, just like a silly moustache drawn on the picture of the Virgin Mary. The bowler hat is part of Tomas and Sabina’s motif, separate and misunderstood between Sabina and Franz, unable to “go about writing [musical compositions] together and exchange motifs” because “they failed to hear the semantic susurrus of the river flowing through them” (88, 89). Therefore, upon Sabina placing her bowler hat on her head, it was as if Franz saw how different she really is from his imagination of her in his head.
The uncomfortable dissonance the bowler hat created exposed how “out of place” the hat is and how unreal the fantasy in his mind of his beautiful mistress in her undergarments next to him in his gray suit and tie is. The image of the Virgin Mary is perfect just as she is- perhaps a reflection of how perfect Franz sees Sabina, while the bowler hat holds great meaning to Sabina and is something that signified “violence against Sabina, against her dignity as a woman,” just as a moustache would go against the dignity of the Virgin Mary (86). Since the truthful motifs behind the hat wouldn’t be explained by Sabina and how Franz felt about it could not be spoken of, nor comprehended, Franz felt the only way to deal was to remove her hat with a smile and place it back on the wig stand.

Posted by: Jahiedy Vinas at March 22, 2015 11:38 PM

Jahiedy Vinas
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
22 March 2015

SOUL AND BODY


Question 91 Part IV: What is a “concentration camp”? Explain why living with her mother was, for Tereza, like living in a concentration camp. What does one have to do with the other? Why is the information that is revealed in this simile, significant for the readers’ understanding of Tereza’s character?

Answer: According to the narrator, a concentration camp is “a world in which people live crammed together constantly, night and day [where] brutality and violence are merely secondary characteristics” (137). Tereza used the term concentration camp to reflect how she “felt about life with her family” (137). Tereza’s mother is completely shameless, walking “sometimes braless and…on summer days, stark naked,” whereas because of Tereza’s stepfather’s infidelities and sexual harassment, Tereza feels immense guilt and is modest trying her hardest to maintain her dignity (45). Tereza’s mother had forbidden Tereza to lock the door of the bathroom because “[Tereza’s] body is just like all other bodies; [she] has no right to shame; [she] has no reason to hide something that exists in millions of identical copies” (57). In other words, Tereza’s body is “identically worthless,” simply “resounding soulless mechanisms” according to her mother (57). Tereza, on the other hand, sees the uniformity of nudity to be a sign of humiliation, just like in concentration camps (57).
In this other simile in Part 4 further expands Tereza’s definition of “concentration camp” from just nude humiliation, but as the “complete obliteration of privacy,” such as private talks being broadcast over the radio or a secret diary read at the dinner table. This information is significant to Tereza’s character because her family concentration camp life is something she saw as “basic, a given into which we are born [into] and from which we can escape only with the greatest of efforts,” which reflects her perspective on her current life while living in Prague. In other words, she left one concentration camp to live in another one again.

Posted by: Jahiedy Vinas at March 23, 2015 12:22 AM

Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
23 March 2015

“Repeated use, however, has obliterated its original metaphysical meaning: kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and the figurative senses of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence.”

What does the narrator mean when s/he said, “In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme”? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

The realm of kitsch has repeatedly changed from its original meaning, “in which shit is denied,” and this entire aesthetical ideal parallels with the entirety of the metaphorical human heart. To deny the existence of something that is so ingrained within living bodies, not just human’s, it brings out a strange argument for what is perfection and thee human ideal. The narrator goes about talking and discussing on Christianity where some groups have the belief that the Garden of Eden was never defecated on, as well as denying the literal shit of Jesus, just through the realm of kitsch. The world of the ideal, or in other words, the world of kitsch is to deny such an ingrained part of existence and turn a blind eye to the reality of existence. The heart wants the perfection and the ideal, while the mind finds the imperfection and the reality. Sabina rejects such an ideal because she sees the reality of the world and does not act as of human existence is perfect and good. She is able to have a lightness of being through the fact that she is able to see what kitsch really is without rejecting reality, and to be able to keep her own heart closer to the mind rather than allowing it to wonder in the realm of fantasy.

Posted by: Kristen Collins at March 23, 2015 06:39 AM

Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
23 March 2015

“‘Punishing people who don’t know what they’ve done is barbaric’… ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do’…he knew that his father was a nonbeliever…Tomas longed for a world in which justice would reign.”

The end of part six compares and contrasts the deaths of two individuals. First, answer this question: What was the inscription that Simon had inscribed on his father’s tombstone? Then, answer this follow-up question: What was the meaning of the expression and what was Simon’s reasoning for using it? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

The words Simon inscribed on Tomas’s tombstone was: “He wanted a kingdom of God on Earth.” Personally, while reading the story of Tomas, I did not really think this inscription should have been put on his tombstone, signifying his life in one sentence. He was a hypocritical man who held no firm obligation, and while there were some moments of clarity within his character, much of it was lost in his contradictory feelings of lightness and weight, and body with soul. Tomas always stood on the precipice between the two dichotomies but it could potentially fall under Simon’s reasoning for the inscription. Simon’s reasoning was to show how Tomas “longed for a world in which justice would reign” but the sentence itself does not seem to embody this ideal. The words seem like a message of perfection of the human image, which Tomas worked for if it was on its tombstone, which is definitely not the case for Tomas’s lifestyle. Ironically enough, Simon’s “right to express his father’s life in his own vocabulary” furthers the original meaning of Tomas even more; Tomas’s words being perceived by the world, Simon’s perceptions of Tomas being perceived by the world, and the inscription on the tombstone being perceived by the world.

Posted by: Kristen Collins at March 23, 2015 07:01 AM

Shawn DeJesus
ENG410 Reading the Planet
Dr. Hobbs
19 March 2015

132. PART VI: What does the word “vertiginously” mean? This is a contextual question: What does the narrator mean when s/he asks, were “the very highest of drama and the very lowest so vertiginously close?” and “Can proximity cause vertigo?” ”? In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words

"When the north pole comes so close as to touch the south pole, the Earth disappears and man finds himself in a void that makes his head spin and beckons him to fall (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part VI, Ch.2, Pg. 244)."

Kundera compares Stalin's son, Yakov, to "[a] fallen angel and Son of God (Kundera, pg. 244)" making the dichotomy into the description of one man due to his position in life. Being the son of Stalin makes Yakov like the Son of God. On the other side, the conditions of Yakov's birth and mother make him the fallen angel in Stalin's eyes. To be two completely different things at once makes Yakov part of the "very highest drama and the very lowest (Kundera, pg. 244)." Which then, according to Kundera, voids all meaning found in being on the higher (heaviness) side of a hegemony; therefore human life is always doomed to be lived in lightness, if there is nothing significant separating two opposite things. "If rejection and privilege are one and the same, if there is no difference between the sublime and the paltry, [...] then human existence loses its dimensions and becomes unbearably light (Kundera, pg. 244)."

Posted by: Shawn DeJesus at March 23, 2015 07:43 AM

Shawn DeJesus
ENG410 Reading The Planet
Dr. Hobbs
19 March 2015

95 PART IV: What, according to the narrator, is “flirtation”? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words. In context, what does this little snippet of wisdom from the narrator have to o with what is happening with Tereza when she gets home to find Tomas asleep?

According to the narrator, “flirting is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.” (Kundera, pg. 142, par. 1) After Tereza comes home one night, she suspects that Tomas is still fooling around due to the fact that “his hair gave off the aroma of a woman’s groin.” (Kundera, pg. 142, par. 2) Now working as a bartender, Tereza has been presented with her fair share of flirtatious encounters, and she finds herself flirting back, yet it does not come naturally for her, so it comes off as malicious and deceitful. Tereza does not wish “to take revenge on Tomas; she merely wished to find a way out of the maze.” (Kundera, pg. 143, par.1) In other words, Tereza is trying to reach that lightness associated with sexuality that comes so naturally for Tomas.

Posted by: Shawn DeJesus at March 23, 2015 07:54 AM

Rebecca Maldonado
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
22 March 2015

Question: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, “the brotherhood of man on earth will be possible only on a base of kitsch. And no one knows this better than politicians”? To correctly answer this question, you need to be sure you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). In your answer, quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Kitsch is any object, art or design which is held to be in poor taste. If you take this definition of kitsch and apply it to the above statement, then you could assume that the brotherhood amongst men is something of a joke – something so oversold and overly glorified that it’s almost hard to believe in. However, the narrator’s definition of kitsch is something different. “Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion” (Kundera 278). The passage in which Sabina mentions the senator’s second tear – the tear which is meant completely for show – shows that kitsch is just a lie that pretends to be perfect or ideal. “All her life she had proclaimed kitsch her enemy. But hadn’t she in fact been carrying it with her? Her kitsch was her image of home, all peace, quiet, and harmony, and ruled by a loving mother and wise father” (Kundera 255). This was the exact thing Sabina was trying to avoid, yet in the end, this is exactly what she ended up doing. She ends up with the old couple, who remind her of her own parents and the exact life she was hoping to avoid. So then, to explain the above phrase in this term of kitsch, then the “brotherhood of man” is a lie – it’s just for show. Politicians know this best because they have the reputation of lying, especially with that second tear for show.

Posted by: rebecca maldonado at March 23, 2015 08:18 AM

Hannah McCafferty
Dr. Hobbes
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
6 March 2015

Question: PART VI: According to the narrator, what fantasy (a part of the story he had previously omitted) did Sabina have about Tomas the time she examined herself in the mirror with the bowler hat? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words without relying on vulgar language (use a professional tone/voice). What does this addendum to the tale reveal to us about the nature/character of Sabina?
Answer: In the first few chapters of Part VI, the narrator becomes intrigued with the idea of defecation. He states that sexual love and excretion go hand-in-hand because while in the Garden of Eden man did not defecate nor did he participate in sexual desires. Thus, man was able to engage in both worldly desires and the elimination of bodily wastes only after they had shamed themselves. Kundera then reveals that earlier in the novel he failed to mention one of Sabina’s sexual desires while she was standing next to Tomas naked and in the bowler hat. She wished that Tomas would watch her expel her bodily functions and then while bringing Tomas down to the bathroom rug; she experienced an orgasm. “She had a fantasy of Tomas seating her down on the toilet in her bowler hat and watching her void her bowels” (Kundera 247). Due to what the author mentioned previously about defecation, the speaker quietly begins to feel that is Sabina both lustful and appalling. Eden was perfect, so when Adam and Eve were banished, they experienced shameful and imperfections—excretion being of them. Sabina’s wish to embrace her sexual desires and bodily functions at the same time proves that she is exceedingly sinful.

Posted by: Hannah McCafferty at March 23, 2015 08:55 AM

Hannah McCafferty
Dr. Hobbes
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
6 March 2015

Question: PART VI: The end of part six compares and contrasts the deaths of two individuals. First, answer this question: What was the inscription that Marie-Claude had inscribed on her husband’s tombstone? Then, answer this follow-up question: What was the meaning of the expression and what was Marie-Claude’s reasoning for using it? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: Marie-Claude chose to inscribe, “A RETURN AFTER LONG WANDERINGS.” Kundera wrote, “It can be interpreted in religious terms: the wanderings being our earthly existence, the return our return to God’s embrace” (Kundera 276). While most individuals may interpret the inscription as holy, Marie-Claude ensured that there was a known second meaning. Always concerned about her image, Marie-Claude told everyone that Franz’s disloyalty was just a mid-life crisis, “Franz, dear, sweet Franz! The mid-life crisis was just too much for him” (Kundera 277). Not only did she use the idea of a mid-life crisis as a way to justify his death but also as a way to justify his wandering eyes. His return home was Marie-Claude’s belief that he was a good man at heart and on his deathbed he silently begged for forgiveness with a look of love in his eyes.

Posted by: Hannah McCafferty at March 23, 2015 11:46 AM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 410 CA01 Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
23 March 2015

Question #178: What humorous thing did Tereza do to Karenin when he [she] had his [her] monthly cycle?

Answer: When Karenin had his scheduled bodily leakage, "Tereza would put a wad of absorbent cotton between his legs and pull a pair of old panties over it, skillfully tying them to his body with a long ribbon" (Part 7, Chapter 4, page 296, Michael Henry Heim translation). Instead of giving him a diaper, Tereza made Karenin wear human clothes: women's underwear with a makeshift menstrual pad.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at March 23, 2015 02:40 PM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
3/23/2015

174. PART VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Remember Nietzsche? He’s back. What, according to the narrator, did Nietzsche purportedly do when he witnessed a coachman beating his horse “with a whip”? What compelled him to do this? What was the, surprising, outcome for Nietzsche? What does this have to do with Descartes, Tereza, and the story, thus far? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words

"Seeing a horse and a coachman beating it with a whip, Nietzsche went up to the horse and, before the coachman's very eyes, put his arms around the horse's neck and burst into tears (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Part VII, Ch.2, Pg. 290)."

Kundera uses Nietzsche's encounter with the horse and coachman to compare him to Tereza and her connections with animals; specifically toward the cows, the crow, and Karenin. Kundera uses the story of Nietzsche and the horse to compare to Tereza in a way that brings in ideas of her love towards animals and ability to have relationships with them more than her ability to do so with other people. Talking about the encounter with the horse, Kundera says "That took place [...] when Nietzsche, too, had removed himself from the world of people (Kundera, pg. 290)." Kundera hints that this type of disconnect from people and preference toward animals is part of a mental illness, mainly on Nietzsche's part, but then maybe also relevant in a way to Tereza. Nietzsche's final break was at that moment when he apologized, in tears, to the horse. "And this is the Nietzsche I love, just as I love Tereza with te mortally ill dog resting his head in her lap (Kundera, pg. 290)."

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at March 23, 2015 05:51 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
25 March 2015


Question: #161:
PART VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Why, according to the narrator, was Tereza “happy to abandon the city”? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.


Answer:
In Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Tereza was “happy to abandon the city” because it gave her and Tomas a chance to be together, at last. The country was their only option because it had a “constant deficit of people and a surplus of living accommodations” (281). Meaning, that Tomas can no longer get away as easily as he did in the city to have spontaneous relations with almost every woman he encountered. Tereza was free of her menial job, the police, her sex scandal, and near death encounter. Both she and Tomas were free to live as they had always wished too. Tereza stopped having nightmares, and Tomas began to appreciate her more and more. They were finally “happy” and “alone” just as Tereza always wanted (Kundera 282).

Posted by: Emily Finck at March 24, 2015 08:49 PM

Dalton Hart
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet
24 March 2015

Question: What is a “premonition”? What was the “little article” that Tereza read about and why, according to the narrator, was it “a premonition of things to come? What is being referred to in this statement?

Answer: A premonition is when a person is able to sense something that they believe will occur imminently. Premonitions often deal with a danger that the person believes will occur in the future. A premonition is, in basic terms, a forewarning of something to come. Tereza, sitting with Karenin, remembers an article she had read a few years back. Kundera writes, “[Tereza] recalled reading a two-liner filler in the papers… about how all the dogs in a certain Russian city had been summarily shot,” showing that Tereza had remembered and taken notice of this event many years ago (Kundera 288). This could be viewed as a premonition because Tereza is experiencing a forewarning of what will become of both her and Tomas. The Russians, as Kundera explained, began their extermination of naysayers by killing large quantities of animals at first. This then evolved into ridding their regime of people who were against their views. Therefore, Tereza’s premonition of people killing those that they found unworthy – animals – then involved ridding people that they found unnecessary to their regime.

Posted by: Dalton Hart at March 24, 2015 10:14 PM

Ashley Gross
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
24 March 2015

Question #140:
PART VI: This is a question about aesthetics. What does the word Kitsch mean? If you don’t know what the international holiday “May Day” is all about, take some time to fill in the gaps of your knowledge and google this historical even so that you have, at least, SOME idea of what Kundera is talking about. Then answer the following question: Why, according to the narrator, is the May Day ceremony the “model of Communist kitsch”?

Answer:
Kitsch refers to something of cheap design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste. According to the narrator, Sabina was repelled by communism because of the “mask of beauty it tried to wear”, which was the May Day ceremony. The May Day parade was used by the communists to try and attract people who were indifferent to the theses of communism.

Posted by: Ashley Gross at March 24, 2015 10:41 PM

Hannah McCafferty
Dr. Hobbes
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
24 March 2015

Question: PART VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What according to the narrator, is “the only thing all of mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars” and what is his/her reasoning for suggesting this (context)? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words
Answer: The narrator believes that even when men are their worst and cannot agree upon any form of common ground; they are joined by their belief that animals are weaker than they are. Kundera writes, “What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion that he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse. Yes, the right to kill a deer or a cow is the only thing all of mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars” (Kundera 286). It is the narrator’s belief that humankind is self-serving and that they cannot understand the importance of other living creatures that prompts this statement. They see the animal species as an object to reign over and not a race to watch over. This concept is exemplified when a woman thinks Tereza is being over dramatic for being so upset about her dog.

Posted by: Hannah McCafferty at March 25, 2015 01:52 AM

Lorie Jewell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
24 March 2015

Part 7, Question 166: Now that you have read the entire novel, answer the following: What were the “words” used by the neighbor that struck Tereza “as less than friendly,” and why did she answer “without protest”? What is being referred to in this statement? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: The neighbor woman asks Tereza why Karenin is limping. Tereza chokes up a bit when she tells the woman Karenin has cancer and there is no hope. The woman gets frustrated with Tereza and tells her “Good heavens! Don’t tell me you’re going to bawl your head off over a dog” (287)! Tereza answers without protest because she understands that the woman is not purposely being insensitive; she – and other villagers like her – do not view animals on the same level as humans when it comes to love and affection. It all goes back to Genesis, which Kundera references in the beginning of the section: “God created man to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures” (286). Having a certain indifference to animals is a survival mechanism for the country folk; Tereza rationalizes this knowledge, telling herself that if they “loved every rabbit” the way she loves her dog, they would all starve. Still, it makes her sad that she would not get the same judgmental reaction from her neighbors if she were having an extramarital affair – that would be far more acceptable than shedding tears for an animal.

Posted by: Lorie Jewell at March 25, 2015 07:19 AM

Shawn DeJesus
ENG 410 Reading The Planet
Dr. Hobbs
25 March 2015

169. PART VII: If you don’t know who Rene Descartes is, take a minute to google him and fill in the gaps of your knowledge. In particular, be sure you are familiar with the term “machine animata.” Why, according to the narrator’s understanding of Descartes, is an animal not really lamenting when it appears to be lamenting? What does this have to do with Karenin, the cows, and the story thus far?

“Descartes took a decisive step forward: he made man ‘maître et proprietaire de la nature.’ And surely there is a deep connection between that step and the fact that he was also the one who point blank denied animals a soul.” (Milan Kundera, page 288, par. 1)

Rene Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and writer. Descartes came up in our discussions on simian language in The Planet of The Apes lectures, particularly his theory of machina animata “whereas the beast is merely an automaton, an animated machine…when an animal laments, it is not a lament; it is merely the rasp of a poorly functioning mechanism.” (Milan Kundera, page 288, par. 1) During the early years of the Russian invasion, there were very few people who welcomed and accepted the tyrannical regime. In order to quell the rising unrest, the Russian army “had to focus, cultivate, and maintain those people’s aggressiveness, give them a temporary substitute to practice on. The substitute they lit upon was animals.” (Kundera, page 288-289) The Communist regime began circulating newspaper articles and organized letters demanding the mass extermination of dogs, due to “how they soil our streets and parks, endanger our children’s health, fulfill no useful function, yet must be fed.” (Kundera, page 289) This was a calculated move by the Communists to give the populace an outlet for their pent up aggressions, a catharsis for their feelings of oppression and misery. This policy, which actually did become quite effective because the number of dogs in cities dropped dramatically, “proved Descartes correct” in his theory that animals do not have a soul, at least for the time being, until the Communists’ real goal directive came out, which wasn’t against animals; the real goal was directed towards people all along.

Posted by: Shawn DeJesus at March 25, 2015 08:18 AM

Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
25 March 2015

Question 162:
Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Who was “Mefisto” and why was he important to the story? How did Karenin feel about Mefisto? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer:
Mefisto is the name of the farmer’s pig in the village Tomas, Tereza, and Karenin go to after they leave the city. Mefisto was pretty much a dog because he “would answer his master’s call and was always clean and pink (Kundera 283).” At first, Karenin did not like Mefisto and was wary of the pig. Eventually, Karenin and Mefisto became good friends to the point where Karenin favored being with Mefisto instead of other dogs. I think Karenin felt this way because Mefisto got the same amount of love from his owner as Karenin did while the other dogs in the village were considered expendable and virtually worthless. In fact, one of the neighbors seems appalled that Tereza would be on the verge of tears while talking about Karenin’s cancer. I think that Karenin liked Mefisto because they both were uniquely loved by their respective families even when it was considered odd to love one’s animals.

Posted by: Craig Graves at March 25, 2015 09:06 AM

Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
25 March 2015

“Karenin always kept her company…Even with Tomas, she was obliged to behave lovingly because she needed him…No one forced her to love Karenin; love for dogs is voluntary.”

What is “a priori”? This is a course about love, and, we save most of the discussion about man’s love for other species for this particular novel. According to the narrator, how was the love between Tereza and Karenin different than the love between her and Tomas? Which one was better? Which one was bigger? (two separate questions) Why (for each)? In your answer, quote snippets from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

A priori is a philosophy in which knowledge or justification is independent of experience. It deals with understanding how things work rather than understand through experience. And if this course is about love, then there are two perspectives of love: those who know love through experience and those who know love through understanding the concept of it. The love between Tereza and Karenin versus the love between Tereza and Tomas show these different views of love. Tereza and Karenin encompass a priori and a posteriori, having love through understanding and through experience. The love is not fake in any way and the relationship is symbiotic to one another. Karenin is loyal to Tereza just as she is loyal to him. Tomas and Tereza have a relationship built on wants that cannot be achieved and a toxic symbiotic bond between the two. Tereza wants loyalty but this is at the cost of Tomas’s entire being. It was not a healthy bond and it continued to stress and dilute the supposed love they had for each other. As a whole, the healthy and whole relationship was the bond of Karenin and Tereza rather than Tomas and Tereza. The first was a real love built upon loyalty and affection while the latter was a fake representation, a love shaped through wishes and unrealistic expectations.

Posted by: Kristen Collins at March 25, 2015 09:41 AM

Rebecca Maldonado
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
25 March 2015

Question: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Why, according to the narrator, was life “in the country was the only escape open to Tomas and Tereza? In your answer, quote from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words.

Answer: In the city, Tomas was able to continue his lustful habits. He was able to sleep with different women and still go home to Tereza. Tereza, knowing this, went through great emotional and mental turmoil. “…only in the country was there a constant deficit of people and a surplus of living accommodations” (Kundera 281).”Tereza was happy to abandon the city, the drunken barflies molesting her, and the anonymous women leaving the smell of their groins in Tomas’s hair” (Kundera 282). With imagery like this it’s no wonder why Tereza was so happy to leave the city – she wanted her husband back and to herself. I feel as if it was more of an escape for Tereza than for Tomas. She achieved her ultimate goal of being alone with Tomas. In my head, it was not about escaping together, but escaping each other. They needed each other at first – Tomas felt Tereza was the child in the brush and Tereza looked to Tomas to save her. In the end, so much had happened between them that they finally had reached the end of their rather unhealthy, dependent relationship.

Posted by: Rebecca Maldonado at March 25, 2015 09:58 AM

A) Narrator
B) Reader
C) Yakov is being compared to the son of God. Something so sacred, can die for something so pointless.
D) The narrator is suggesting that life is pointless and shows an example.
E) Also that Yakov's death was more meaningful than the death of the German soldiers. The German soldiers died being idiotic and irrational, while Yakov died for a meaningful purpose.

Posted by: Marcus Chisholm/Ashtan Richey at March 27, 2015 09:56 AM

DJ Menezes & Dalton
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
27 March 2015

Group Question: #6
"Those of us who live in a society where va
rious political tendencies exist side by side
and competing influences cancel or limit
one another can manage more or less to escape the kitsch inquisition: the individual can preserve his individuality; the artist can create unusual works. But whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of
totalitarian kitsch."

Answer:
A: The speaker of this passage is the narrator/author.
B: The audience and reader is being spoken to in this passage.
C: An example of kitsch is when politicians do things such as kiss babies in front of crowds, as soon as a camera is pointed their way they cling to the nearest photo opportunity in order to embrace the positive for their looks.
D: Theresa tries to ignore all the bad things in life and this parallels Sabina and how she constantly rebels.
E: Somebody who simply decides to asks questions is considered a direct opposer of this totalitarian kitsch.

Posted by: Daniel and Dalton at March 27, 2015 10:19 AM

Kristen Collins and Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 10 Comparative Global Literature CA01
29 March 2015

Part 6 Group Work: #2
Spontaneously, without any theological training, I, a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and [feces]and thus came to question the basic thesis of Christian anthropology, namely, that man was created in God's image.
(a) Identify who is speaking, if applicable
(b)Identify who is being spoken to, if applicable
(c) Explicate the context of the passage, and
(d) Speculate/expound on any possible meanings of the passage
(e) Speculate/expound on any significance to the overall narrative, thus far.

Answer:
In this section, the narrator is speaking to his or herself as well as the reader. This passage came about from the narrator’s questioning of the nature of humans and if they are made in the image of God. The narrator further says that all of this questioning comes from the bodily function of pooping. The narrator contested “if [God] had a mouth, he had to eat. And if he ate, he had intestines. But… [the narrator] felt the idea of a divine intestine to be sacrilegious (Kundera 245).” This passage could begin to question the actual power of God. If God does not defecate, yet humans do, then sure humans are not made in the image of God. Though no one seems to question that maybe ‘the image of God’ means that God made humans according to God’s imagination rather than for humans to look like God. Overall, though, this passage serves to show how a little thing, like poop, can cause a lot of problems for many people, like questioning the power of God.

Posted by: Craig Graves at March 29, 2015 01:40 PM

Lorie Jewell, Shaina McSweeney, Jahiedy Vinas
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
30 March 2015

Pt. 6 Group Work
Question 3: [Feces] is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man's crimes. The responsibility for [feces], however, rests entirely with Him, the Creator of man.

Answer: The narrator is speaking to the reader, continuing with a point made earlier in the section regarding Stalin’s son’s death-by-shit. In this passage, the narrator is pointing out that shit is a more troublesome issue for the mind to resolve because with free will – which is God given – man can choose to do evil, or not. But since shit is a natural function of the body, man does not have a choice, and since God created man, that makes Him responsible for the literal shit of the earth. The narrator earlier relates the shit conundrum to the weight binary; this passage brings God into the binary discussion.

Posted by: Lorie Jewell, Shaina McSweeney, Jahiedy Vinas at March 30, 2015 07:08 AM

Rebecca Maldonado and Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
30 March 2015

Passage: Sabina’s initial inner revolt against communism was aesthetic rather than ethical in character.
Answer: Here, we have our same narrator which has guided us as readers throughout the story although we still don’t know who they are. He or she is recanting to us Sabina’s initial inner revolt. Sabina is a character that tends not to take sides in the game and right and wrong. So when she first started to revolt it was aesthetic in the sense that she would revolt in her paintings and in her work. It was later that she began to deny the communist kitsch the she came to see. This passage shows us that everyone, even those that don’t take sides in a war (be it personal or not), is eventually called to some sort of change in character.

Posted by: rebecca maldonado at March 30, 2015 08:14 AM

Natalie Cassidy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
22 February 2016

Question: Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. If you do not know who Robespierre is, look him up. Who was he and why was he important? Now answer the question of why “French historians would be less proud of Robespierre” if “the French Revolution were to recur eternally. Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Maxemilien Robespierre was a French politician who was extremely influential during the French Revolution and Reign of Terror. He was an supporter of democratic institutions, and helping the poor. However he was also a very violent man who ordered the killings of many people. French historians would be less proud of Robespierre if the French Revolution were to recur eternally, because thousands of French people would die every time the Revolution recurred. In other words, “ there is an infinite difference between a Robespierre who occurs only once in history, and a Robespierre who eternally returns, chopping off French heads (Chapter 1, page 4, Heim translation). Since the French Revolution only occurred once, Robespierre is viewed as a hero rather than a violent murderer.

Posted by: Natalie Cassidy at February 28, 2016 02:18 PM

Nicholas Santos
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
29 February 2016

“Einmal ist keinmal, says Tomas to himself. What happens but once, says the German adage, might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all” (Page 6 [PDF Ver.], Part One, Shahid Riaz Translation).

Question: There are, literally, dozens of free websites that offer free language translation. One well known website is . Use various translators to get the gist of the German adage “Einmal ist keinmal.” What does Tomas mean by this? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page number in parenthesis) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: According to many online sources such as Translation.Babylon.com and Dictionary.Reverso.net, the phrase “Einmal ise Keinmal” appears to mean “once won’t hurt/once would do any harm/once doesn’t count.” Many other sources claimed the phrase simply means “once” or “once for the money.” According to the quote above, which is translated from the book itself, the German adage means “what happens but once […] might as well not have happened at all” (6).

There are allusions to this phrase as early as the very beginning of the novel, with the idea of an “eternal return” in which “everything recurs as we once experienced it” is presented (3). The idea claims that everything that happens once will happen again at some point or another. It is expressed by the narrator that “If the French Revolution were to recur eternally, French historians would be less proud of Robespierre. But because they deal with something that will not return,” history is just history; in other words, things repeated lose their emotional and physical value, it seems (3).

This is significant to the narrator because his childhood took place during World War II, in which “several members of [his] family perished in Hitler’s concentration camps” (3). The narrator compares their deaths to their memory, which is seemingly lost in time and, therefore, lost in significance.

In terms of Tomas, this phrase is significant since it directly relates to his short romance with Tereza. After she leaves for her home in Prague, Tomas is seen by the narrator to be “standing by the window” and “deliberated” (5). The narrator could not decide if he wanted Tereza to return, remembering everything he went through with her. However, because it is simply a memory, the moment loses its significance and, according to Tomas’ saying, may never happen again.

Posted by: Nicholas Santos at February 28, 2016 06:06 PM

Cheryl Nance
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
29 February 2016

Question #20 PART I: Why did Tomas come to this conclusion: “Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite”? What does this little bit of “wisdom” mean for Tomas? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Tomas comes to this conclusion because before Tereza, he never fell asleep and spent the night with another woman. He found it distasteful and avoided it with all his mistresses. But he realizes he feels happy to be sleeping with Tereza. This feeling of happiness leads him to the understanding that “love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one one woman)” (15). This idea is significant to Tomas because, in his mind, it gives him the freedom to continue having sex with other women even though he is in a relationship with Tereza. He can easily separate love and sex, which eases his conscious and allows him to feel that Tereza should be satisfied because she has his love.

Posted by: Cheryl Nance at February 28, 2016 10:25 PM

Annie Hays
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
28 February 2016

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” Heim Translation

Question: Surmise the “idea of the eternal return” as summarized by the narrator. Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: The narrator does not define the idea of eternal return explicitly, but he asks readers, “to think that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that the recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum” (Kundera 3)! This idea that history could repeat itself forever would completely change the way people view history. If, as Kundera writes, a Robespierre figure and the events of the French Revolution were ever-present then people would truly hate Robespierre. However, because history seems to only happen once, even the French Revolution and Hitler can be looked at with a slightly positive, nostalgic view (Kundera 4). This ability to see the past as simply the past, never to repeat itself, can cause people to look sympathetically or even happily at dark times. This is significant because people can ignore how terrible certain parts of history are and end up repeating them or ignoring them. When that happens, history really will repeat itself for all eternity.

Posted by: Annie Hays at February 29, 2016 10:19 AM

Ashley Reynolds
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature in Translation CA01
29 February 2016

Question: PART I: How does the narrator know Tomas and Tereza? How much do we know about the narrator so far? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: We know little about the narrator except a few key details. He grew up during World War II and several of his family members were killed in Hitler’s concentration camps (Kundera 4, Harper ed.). The narrator does not state why is family members were killed; they might have been Jewish, gypsies, homosexuals, or political dissidents. The narrative takes place in Czechoslovakia, so it can be assumed that the narrator is Czech. This fits in with the information on WWII, since Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939. We also know that the narrator is well-educated due to his allusions to Parmenides and Nietzsche.

It is unclear how exactly the narrator knows Tomas and Tereza. The narrator is clearly well-acquainted with the couple. He writes, “I have been thinking about Tomas for many years […] I saw him standing at the window of his flat and looking across the courtyard at the opposite walls, not knowing what to do” (Kundera 6, Harper ed.). This means the narrator personally knows Tomas and has known him for a significant amount of time. The moment that the narrator is referring to occurs three weeks after he first met Tereza. This means that the narrator was present during the action and saw the events unfold. He or she holds a privileged “insider” position with the couple.

Posted by: Ashley Reynolds at February 29, 2016 11:42 AM

Nicole Klukowski
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CAO 1
20 January 2016

“What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?” (5 Chapter 2)

Question: Parmenides is one of the “pre-Socratic” philosophers that I spoke of in an early lecture about Plato and Socrates. What, according to the narrator, is he famous for? When did he live and what important question/s did he pose? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: According to the narrator, Parmenides is famous for asking which in a pair of opposites is better (5). He divided the world into pairs of opposites such as light/darkness, fineness/coarseness, warmth/cold, and being/nonbeing. The first in each pair he dubbed positive and the second negative (5). Parmenides asked these questions in the sixth century and determined “lightness is positive, weight negative” (5). The narrator does not readily agree with Parmenides and struggles with determining which is positive, weight or lightness. The only conclusion he comes to is “the lightness/weight opposition is the most mysterious, most ambiguous of all” (5). These musings correspond with the title of the book and will be a question that the narrator struggles with throughout the novel. Is it better to have an easy life that is easy to bear, or to have a heavy life, real and truthful?

Posted by: Nicole Klukowski at February 29, 2016 11:51 AM

Leona Hunt
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literature CA01
29 February 2016

Question 12: The narrator says that, in Part I of the novel, Tomas “was vacillating and therefore depriving the most beautiful moments he had ever experienced.” First, explain what the word “vacillate” means. Then, explain just what it was that Tomas was vacillating between/about, according to what the narrator has revealed to the reader, thus far. Why is this significant? (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera, Czech Translation)

Answer: In the passage, the term “vacillate” means to be indecisive. Tomas is unsure how to approach the waitress, Tereza, and is wrought with conflicted feelings of “wanting to die beside her” (5) while he figures out how to get her attention. For the first time in his life, Tomas is struck with the overwhelming urge to be with one woman, and the newfound feeling causes him to be confused. Tomas’s actions are important because it establishes his character. He comes to the realization that “not knowing what he wanted was actually quite natural” (5) His contradictory feelings of wanting to be with Tereza but still single are a normal conflict.

Posted by: Leona Hunt at February 29, 2016 12:51 PM

Giuseppe Donnian
ENG 410
Dr. Hobbs
29 February 2016

Explain Toma's 'rule of threes." For what reason did Tomas implement this rule? What is its purpose? Why is this significant? Explain.

Toma's rule of threes are what keeps his bachelorism in tact. His rules are, "Either you see a woman three times in quick succession and then never again, or you maintain relations over the years, but make sure that the rendezvous are at least three weeks apart" (Kundera)Tomas implemented these rules to ensure that he would not get attached to any certain female. This is significant because he breaks this rule when marrying Tereza. Even though the rule is broken, he continues to have affairs with other women.

Posted by: Giuseppe Donnian at February 29, 2016 01:17 PM

Daniella Zacarias Kattán
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 CA01 Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
29 February 2016
“She arrived the next evening, a handbag dangling from her shoulder, looking more elegant than before. She had a thick book under her arm. It was Anna Karenina. She seemed in a good mood, even a little boisterous, and tried to make him think she had just happened to drop in, things had just worked out that way: she was in Prague on business, perhaps (at this point she became rather vague) to find a job.” (Page 9. Chapter 4).
14. PART I: What “thick book” did Tereza have “under her arm”? Part of being a responsible scholar is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. Look up a summary of this book and provide a brief synopsis (one or two sentences). Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.
Answer: In chapter four, Tereza had Anna Karenina under her arm. Anna Karenina is the intricate story of love and duty. The significance of the book may be that even though Tereza wishes to be “light” about her attraction to Tomas, she still carries herself with heaviness since she is naturally inclined to being “heavy.” “[Tereza] tried to make him think she had just happened to drop in, things had just worked out that way,” this is the evidence of Tereza’s heaviness.

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at February 29, 2016 01:26 PM

Marie Umholtz
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 - Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
29 February 2016
Homework/Study/Discussion Questions for Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (TULOB) PART I: LIGHTNESS AND WEIGHT
2. PART I: The narrator, when speaking of a hypothetical war between two kingdoms, says that by recurring eternally, “it will become a solid mass, permanently protuberant, its inanity irreparable.” First explain what the words “protuberant” and “inanity” mean. Then paraphrase this sentence in your own words, without using the words “protuberant” and “inanity.” Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.
Protuberant describes something that is “swelling out from the surrounding surface,” or “bulging” (“protuberant”). Inanity is a “lack of intelligence or imagination,” or a “a senseless action, remark, etc” (“inanity”). In the quoted passage above, Kundera explains that a recurring event will transcend the lack of meaning in mere memories of past events, and that it becomes real and comprehendible in the mind. He sets the hypothetical war as an example of how detached and remote a single occurring event can be, as the war “altered nothing in the destiny of the world” (3). However, he notes that events are given a greater weight and meaning when the effects occur multiple times in eternal return.
Kundera sets the French Revolution as another example, and explains that people’s perception of the past would change in light of eternal return, otherwise “they deal with something that will not return, the bloody years of the Revolution have turned into mere words, theories, and discussions, have become lighter than feathers, frightening no one” (Kundera 4). Here, he reinforces detached perception without the thought of eternal return; past events become mere records and bear no weight in the present moment. If the horrors of the past occur only once, they lose their significance to the presence.
Works Cited
"protuberant". Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
"inanity". Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. Web. 29 Feb. 2016

Posted by: Marie Umholtz at February 29, 2016 01:31 PM

Lauren Kilton

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation

29 February 2016

Part I Question 3: Why would French historians be less proud of Robespierre if the French Revolution were to recur eternally? Why is this significant?

Answer: Maximilien Robespierre advocated for equality among men, men’s suffrage, the poor, democratic institutions, the execution of King Louis XVI, yet also the death penalty ironically, and the abolition of slavery. Generally, he is viewed by French historians as one of the most positively influential figures of the French Revolution. Any person who helped make a positive change in the course of history, like Robespierre, is deemed worthy of pride among historians, and even the general public, whose lives are evidently impacted by his choices in the past. However, the actions of such notable individuals are often glorified later on, “in the sunset of dissolution,” yet Robespierre’s “chopping off French heads” would appear horrific today (Kundera 4). Therefore, humanity never takes accountability for its iniquity because eternal return is seemingly nonexistent, so by the time people realize the misconduct, the “ephemeral” moment is gone and “lighter than feathers” (4).

Posted by: Lauren Kilton at February 29, 2016 05:28 PM

Lauren Kilton

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation

29 February 2016

Part II Question 25: Why was Part I titled “Lightness and Weight”? Why is this significant?

Answer: The concepts of lightness and weight are presented as a dichotomy in Part I. Sabina and Tomas are generally characterized by lightness, though Tomas also tends to be caught in the middle between lightness and weight, or Sabina and Tereza. He treats the two as a false dichotomy and tries experience both in his life simultaneously. Kundera seems to gravitate toward the nonexistence of eternal return and the lightness of being. However, Part I ends with Tomas returning to Tereza, which signifies the need to only take pleasure in lightness momentarily and to ultimately come back to weight, or a deeper significance in life.

Posted by: Lauren Kilton at February 29, 2016 05:52 PM


Nicole Klukowski
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CAO 1
29 February 2016

“Our day-to-day life is bombarded with fortuities or, to be more precise, with the accidental meetings of people and events we call coincidences” (51 Chapter 11)

Question: How does the narrator define “coincidence” and what does it have to do with the backstory of Tereza and Tomas? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: The narrator says that “’co-incidence’ means that two events unexpectedly happen at the same time, they meet” (51). Tereza believes that meeting Thomas is fate because of a number of coincidences. First, Thomas is reading a book. According to Tereza, books are a mark of a secret brotherhood. She feels that because she too reads books, she and Thomas are of the same brotherhood (47). When she brings Thomas his order, she hears Beethoven. Beethoven is the symbol of the greater outside world for Tereza (49). Next, Tereza learns that Thomas is staying in room six. Because Tereza’s shift finished at six, she sees this as a further sign (50). After work, Tereza sees Thomas waiting for her at her favorite bench in the park (50). She takes this coincidence to support her belief that Thomas is the man for her. All of these events were chance. Nothing was planned. Some people will chide those who look for the deeper connections, but the narrator believes “it is right to chide a man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty” (52). These coincidences gave Tereza the courage to change her fate and move to Prague to be with Thomas.

Posted by: Nicole Klukowski at February 29, 2016 06:24 PM

Natalie Cassidy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
2 March 2016

Question: What, according to the narrator, is Tereza’s “secret vice”? Why is it a vice? How does it hurt her? How does it help her? What is her chief conflict when it comes to the root issue behind this vice? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Tereza’s secret vice is her, “long looks and frequent glances in the mirror” (Part II, Chapter 8, page 47, Heim translation). This hurts her because she is clearly not comfortable with her body. The root behind this vice is her relationship with her mother. Tereza’s mother tried to raise her with very little shame or modesty. Her mother would walk around the house naked, telling Tereza that every body is the same, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Therefore Tereza’s vice is, “a battle with her mother” (Part II, Chapter 8, page 47, Heim translation).

Posted by: Natalie Cassidy at February 29, 2016 06:45 PM


Alexis Lebkey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Global Comparative Literature CA01
29 February 2016

Instructor-Provided Questions #8

Question: PART I: What, according to the narrator, is the problem with “the absolute absence of a burden”? Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? What issues arise with this condition, according to the narrator? Is the answer decisive, or not? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: The problem with “the absolute absence of a burden” is the lightness of it allows man’s movements “to be as free as they are insignificant” (5). In other words, if burdens lead men to a more fulfilling life than the absence of burdens makes their life meaningless. He offers no answer to the question if lightness or the weight of burdens is positive of the two, he only can say that it is a mystery. It is significant to Tomas’s story because he cannot seem to decide which will make him happy. He enjoys one night stands, lightness, but he falls in love with Tereza, which makes him feel weighed down. He acknowledges he was in love with her after waking up next to her saying, “Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman) (15). He attempts to keep the “lightness” of his affairs and the “burden” of his love for Tereza, but he could not have both.

Posted by: Alexis Lebkey at February 29, 2016 11:27 PM


Alexis Lebkey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Global Comparative Literature CA01
29 February 2016

Instructor-Provided Questions #28

Question: 28. PART II: What drew Tereza to her mirror? Explain. What, according to the narrator, should we NOT confuse Tereza’s fascination with the mirror for? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Tereza’s soul is what drew her to the mirror as “she thought she saw her soul shining through the features of her face” (41). It was not vanity that attracted her to the mirror, but she was searching for her own “I” beyond her mother’s features (41). This is significant because it demonstrates a struggle with the physical body and the soul, which is the name of the chapter.

Posted by: Alexis Lebkey at February 29, 2016 11:46 PM

Jacie Dieffenwierth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparing Global Literatures
1 March 2016

Part 1: Question 7

Question: What, according to the narrator, is the “heaviest of burdens”? Is it a good thing, or, a bad thing, according to the narrator? Is the answer decisive, or not? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: According to the text, “the idea of eternal return [is] the heaviest of burdens” (Kundera 5). When dissecting the phrase “heaviest of burdens”, initially one might think weight to be bad and its opposite, lightness, to be good. However, the heavier the weight, the more grounded we are and the more real things become. Lightness is freeing but also gives the appearance of fakeness and nonreality. So the heaviness of a burden does not necessarily mean what we think it does. The “idea of eternal return” has to do with reoccurrence. On one hand, something that happens once, isn’t worth mentioning (3). Then again if something terrible happens, you don’t want it to occur eternally and once is more than enough. The narrator comes to the conclusion that there is no conclusion which may be why they state that “eternal return [is] the heaviest of burdens” (4).

Posted by: Jacie Dieffenwierth at March 1, 2016 10:14 AM

Jacie Dieffenwierth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures
1 March 2016

Part II: Question 35

Question: What is a dandy? Why did the narrator say that, for Tereza, books “had the same significance for her as an elegant cane [had] for the dandy a century ago.” Unpack the analogy/metaphor. Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: According to the Oxford Dictionary a dandy is “a man unduly devoted to style, neatness, and fashion in dress and appearance”. Tereza felt like walking with a book made her “different” (Kundera 48). However the book specifies that “a dandy’s cane did more than make him different; it made him modern and up to date”. However, Tereza likes the thought of having her own cane which turns out to be a book. I noticed, however, she does not simply want to be different. If that were the case she would have chosen a different analogy. She chose to compare herself to someone that is rich and stylish. Tereza wants to stick out in a good kind of way. She wants to be admired and doesn’t want to look like everyone else. Her main point is to have someone recognize her difference and love her because of it.

Posted by: Jacie Dieffenwierth at March 1, 2016 12:58 PM

Ashley Reynolds
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature in Translation CA01
2 March 2016

Question 46: PART II: What is an autodidact? Explain the narrator’s understanding of the difference between a “university graduate” and an “autodidact.” Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: An autodidact is someone who teaches themselves, while a university student is taught by others. According to the narrator, “the difference between the university graduate and the autodidact lies not so much in the extent of knowledge as in the extent of vitality and self-confidence” (Kundera 55, Harper ed.). An autodidact must have more vitality in order to teach themselves. However, they lack the self-confidence of university students because they lack a formal education.

This is significant because Tereza, the main character in Soul and Body, is an autodidact. Because she had a large and demanding family, she was never able to attend university. This did not stop her from learning and reading as much as possible. The narrator says she has “a vitality never dreamed of by university students yawning over their books. Tereza had read a good deal more than they, and learned a good deal more about life, but she would never realize it” (Kundera 55, Harper ed.). This shows Tereza’s intelligence, wisdom, and tenacity. But like other autodidacts, she lacks self-confidence. Tereza views Tomas as her escape from an undesirable life, and does not have the self-confidence to see any other way out of her situation.

Posted by: Ashley Reynolds at March 1, 2016 04:48 PM

Nicholas Santos
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
2 March 2016

“Necessity knows no magic formulae—they are all left to chance. If a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi’s shoulders” (Page 25 [PDF Ver.], Part One, Shahid Riaz Translation).

Question: First deconstruct, and then explain, what the narrator means when s/he says, “Necessity knows no magic formulae—they are all left to chance.” In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: It appears that the “Necessity” that the narrator refers to is supposed to directly relate to Tereza’s love for Tomas, which seems to be built purely from the many coincidences that she notices about him (25). As in the quote, there are many instances of the word “chance” appearing in Part 2; it is consistently personified and takes a great deal of control over Tereza’s actions. It was by “chance” that she met Tomas in the hotel restaurant, and when Tereza noticed the significance of Tomas’ cognac, the narrator explains that she “read chance’s message,” which suggests that the event had a much smaller impact on Tereza than it probably should have (25).

All of this seems to be significant in the greater theme of Part 2, which is titled “Soul and Body.” Although Tereza does not agree with the idea of the soul and body being the same thing, she ironically does not realize that it is because of the fact that she has a body that she is able to be seduced and persuaded by the idea of chance—of coincidences. Because of this, she isn’t completely able to control herself as much as she would like to.

Posted by: Nicholas Santos at March 1, 2016 08:50 PM

William McDermott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Question 34 Part 2
34. PART II: What, according to the narrator, were books emblematic of? What did they represent to her? Unpack the metaphor and what it has to do with Tomas. Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.
According to the narrator, books were emblematic of escape for Tereza, they allowed her to be different from how she saw the rest of the world. When Tereza had to give up her education to work at home with her mother, she kept a book by her bed to remind her of what her life could have been life. Her book provided an escape from the embarrassing behavior that Tereza saw in her mother.
During the flashback to Tereza’s first encounter with Tomas, it is the act of him reading a book that initially draws her to him. The passage details how books became a signifier for Tereza: “Something else raised him above the others as well: he had an open book on his table. No one had ever opened a book in that restaurant before. In Tereza's eyes, books were the emblems of a secret brotherhood. For she had but a single weapon against the world of crudity surrounding her: the books she took out of the municipal library, and above all, the novels. She had read any number of them, from Fielding to Thomas Mann. They not only offered the possibility of an imaginary escape from a life she found unsatisfying; they also had a meaning for her as physical objects: she loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm. It had the same significance for her as an elegant cane for the dandy a century ago. It differentiated her from others.” (page 23)
While books made Tereza feel anachronistic from everyone else, her feeling out of place made her feel unique, especially compared to the memories of her mother insisting that things Tereza could not stand (nudity, etc.) were “normal.” By escaping into books and using them to differentiate herself from the general populace, Tereza feels comfort in being an outsider.

Posted by: William McDermott at March 1, 2016 11:08 PM

Annie Hays
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
28 February 2016

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” Heim Translation

Question: The narrator discusses two people named “Anna” and “Vronsky.” Who are these people? What do they have to do with Tereza and/or Tomas? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Anna and Vronsky are the two main characters of “Anna Karenina.” Anna is a Russian aristocrat who has an affair with Count Vronksy. Anna becomes shunned by the socialites after her affair becomes known, but Vronsky does not suffer the same treatment. Eventually Anna commits suicide by running in front of a train. Tereza carries this book with her when she travels to Tomas’s apartment for the first time, and she thinks, “it was like a ticket into Tomas’s world” (Kundera 54). Tereza and Tomas seem to parallel Anna and Vronsky as Tereza is bothered by Tomas’s affairs as Anna is bothered by her belief that Vronksy is having affairs just as Tereza resents Tomas for his affairs. Kundera also notes that while Tereza is on the train with “Anna Karenina,” novels tend to have a circular motif, in this case Anna meeting Vronksy at a train station then throwing herself under a train (52). This is clearly foreshadowing that Kundera’s novel will follow a circular motif, meaning that it will begin in a similar way that it ended. Since the first and last chapters have the same name, that is also another indication of a circular motif.

Posted by: Annie Hays at March 2, 2016 10:35 AM

Giuseppe Donnian
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
2 March 2016

What, according to the narrator, did Tereza find “odd” about Tomas’s room number? Did
she really find this odd, or was she actually playing a different “game”?

"He showed her his key, which was attached to a piece of wood with a red six drawn on
it.
That's odd, she said. Six.
What's so odd about that? he asked.
She had suddenly recalled that the house where they had lived in Prague before her
parents were divorced was number six. But she answered something else (which we
may credit to her wiles): You're in room six and my shift ends at six." (Kundera 24)

Tereza thought that Toma's room number was odd because it was the same number that she lived in before her parents were divorced. She claims to have thought it was odd because her shift ended at six. I think she really thought it was odd because the number reminded her of her childhood, but she did not want to reveal that. The game she was playing was a defense mechanism to not show her vulnerability. She related the oddness to something less personal like the time she gets off work.

Posted by: Giuseppe Donnian at March 2, 2016 12:29 PM

Marie Umholtz
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 - Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
2 March 2016
Homework/Study/Discussion Questions for Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (TULOB) PART II: BODY AND SOUL
PART II: If you don’t know who Francis of Assisi is, look this person up on Wikipedia or a more reliable source. What is a fortuity? In your own words, paraphrase and explain what the narrator means when s/he writes, “If a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi's shoulders.” In the context of what has just come before this passage (and what comes after), what is the narrator referring to, exactly? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.
Answer: Fortuity refers to a chance encounter or happening, and is not subject to fate. In the above passage, the narrator explains that extraordinary love forms from a chain of chances that could have just as easily never happened. At this point in the novel, the narrator points out all the chance encounters and coincidences that lead up to Thomas and Tereza’s relationship. Tereza particularly emphasizes the importance of fortuities, as “Thomas appeared to Tereza . . . as chance in the absolute” (49). However, as Tereza mulls over all the coincidences that accumulated to meeting Thomas, she seems to view this path in her life as destiny, as Kundera explains, “She knew . . . (the birds of fortuity had begun alighting on her shoulders) that this stranger was her fate” (51). Kundera later explains that many coincidences occur in day-to-day life unnoticed, but Tereza’s memory of meeting Thomas engrains deeply in her mind because she perceives all the things that came together, such as Beethoven’s music, as beautiful (51-52).

Posted by: Marie Umholtz at March 2, 2016 01:28 PM

Alyssa Barca
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
2 March 2016

Question 15

"If the Pharaoh's daughter hadn't snatched the basket carrying little Moses from the waves, there would have been no Old Testament, no civilization as we now know it! How many ancient myths begin with the rescue of an abandoned child! If Polybus hadn't taken in the young Oedipus, Sophocles wouldn't have written his most beautiful tradgedy!"(Kundera 11)

Answer: The connection that the narrator is trying to make between Tereza and Moses is that if he never took Tereza in like the way the Pharaoh's daughter did with Moses, or Polybus and Oedipus, then the love between him and Tereza would have never transpired. If he had treated her like he did with all of his other mistresses, and didnt "rent a room for her", then he would have never developed the love for her that he did. Additionally, this metaphor could be interpreted as a warning sign of love for Tomas. If he takes her in, cares for her, etc., then he knows he will eventually fall in love with her. For someone as skeptical of love and affection as Tomas, taking someone in especially a woman he is attracted to could be dangerous for him and his lifestyle.

Posted by: Alyssa Barca at March 2, 2016 11:01 PM

Alyssa Barca
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
2 March 2016

Question 37

"Unlike Parmenides, Beethoven apparently viewed weight as something positive. Since the German word schwer means both "difficult" and "heavy" or "weighty resolution." The weighty resolution is at one with the voice of Fate (Es muss sein!); necessity, weight, and value are three concepts inextricably bound: only necessity is heavy, and only what is heavy has value." (Kunderas 33)

Answer: The lyrics from Beethoven plays into the first meeting of Tomas and Tereza in the sense that "heaviness" is the love and desire Tomas has for Teresa. In this case, the heaviness in Tomas's life is to get back the woman whom he realized too late that he loves, and the "lightness" in his life is her absence which is driving him into a depressed state, or "heaviness". Tomas's difficult resolution is going to Prague to win back Tereza who had left him with nothing but a farewell letter. Additionally, the Beethovens lyrics "Must it be? It must be!" evidently coorelates to the notion that Tomas feels him and Tereza are meant to be. He was (and sort of still is) a womanizer with a bachelor lifestyle, but when he took her in and grew to love her, he believes his lifestyle changed. Therefore, their love "must be".

Posted by: Alyssa Barca at March 2, 2016 11:14 PM

Nicholas Santos
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
4 March 2016

“The time for the happening had come and gone. Franz was beginning to feel that the caper […] had dragged on too long. So he gently took the brim of the bowler hat between two fingers, lifted it off Sabina’s head with a smile, and laid it back on the wig stand. It was as though he were erasing the mustache a naughty child had drawn on a picture of the Virgin Mary” (Page 43 [PDF Ver.], Part Three, Shahid Riaz Translation).

Question: Use Google Images to look at some examples of a “bowler hat.” For this question, you will have to establish context before answering. Why did the narrator say that, when Franz removed Sabina’s bowler hat, it “was as though he were erasing the mustache a naughty child had drawn on a picture of the Virgin Mary.” Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: Sabina has a very significant relationship with her bowler hat (which is typically a symbol of gentlemanly qualities and high class). It is expressed by the narrator that Sabina had first worn the hat by Tomas’ suggestion; he “put the hat on her [Sabina’s] head” after he had worn the hat to “see what he would have looked like as a nineteenth-century mayor” (44). In this way, the hat was sort of a joke. However, the two eventually became aroused when they both looked in the mirror together and “the comic became veiled by excitement;” Sabina, who had dealt with many sexual situations while wearing the hat, saw it as some type of restrictive symbol amongst her underwear—“the lingerie enhanced the charm of her femininity, while the hard masculine hat denied it, violated and ridiculed it” (45). The narrator also describes the hat as being a signification of “violence; violence against Sabina, against her dignity as a woman” (45).

In summary, Sabina, through the hat, and through the way in which Franz was so quickly able to change Sabina’s mind through the hat, signifies her self-knowledge of her restricted nature. She realizes that she is seen only as a sex symbol; as something that can be easily coerced and taught to do whatever people want her to. She realizes this, and she doesn’t like it.

Posted by: Nicholas Santos at March 3, 2016 05:28 PM

Natalie Cassidy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
22 February 2016

Question: What, according to the narrator, do lovers “unconsciously establish” in their relationships? How did Sabina break those rules in the scene described by the narrator? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Lovers unconsciously establish rules, “of the game” (Part III, Chapter 1, page 84, Heim translation). In other words, lovers create their own rules for what is allowed and not allowed during their relationship/sex life. Sabina broke the rules by staring at Franz in an interrogative manner. The look was, “neither provocative nor flirtatious” (Part III, Chapter 1, page 84, Heim translation). This is significant because this is the first time that Sabina broke the rules by not acting sexy and flirtations with Franz.

Posted by: Natalie Cassidy at March 3, 2016 05:57 PM

Alexis Lebkey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Global Comparative Literature CA01
03 March 2016

Instructor-Provided Questions #59

Question: PART III: If you have read the first part of this section, then you know the connection between Sabina and Franz. However, what is the connection between Tomas and Sabina? Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, explain in your own words. Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Tomas and Sabina had an affair, but they also seemed to be good friends. Tomas and Sabina understand one another on a deeper level. Tomas “knew he had never had a better friend as a mistress than Sabina” (13). Sabina also got Tomas’s wife Tereza a job. Franz and Sabina were also having an affair, but they seemed to misunderstand one another. These misunderstandings is why part three of the book, which focuses on Franz and Sabina, is called “Words Misunderstood” (89).

Posted by: Alexis Lebkey at March 3, 2016 06:52 PM

Ashley Reynolds
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature in Translation CA01
4 March 2016

Question 51: PART III: What is “wanderlust”? What, according to the narrator, was “not enough to satisfy” the new-found wanderlust of Franz? What did Franz do about it? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: Wanderlust is the intense desire to travel. For Franz, wanderlust also means his desire to be with Sabina, his lover. Franz feels that he can only sleep with Sabina when he is not in Geneva. Therefore, he invites her whenever he goes abroad to give lectures or attend conferences. Only while abroad can he make love to Sabina. Soon, however, Franz desires to spend more time with Sabina. He begins lying to his wife and inventing conferences that did not exist: “But because they were not enough to satisfy his new-found wanderlust, he took to inventing congresses and symposia as a means of justifying the new absences to his wife. His mistress, who had a flexible schedule, accompanied him on all speaking engagements, real and imagined” (Kundera 82, Harper ed.). Franz does not have wanderlust because he desires travel; he has wanderlust because he desires Sabina.

Posted by: Ashley Reynolds at March 3, 2016 08:25 PM

Jacie Dieffenwierth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures
3 March 2016

Part III: Question 67

“Though a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, she was not allowed to paint like Picasso. It was the period when so-called socialist realism was prescribed and the school manufactured Portraits of Communist statesmen” (Part III: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, page 46, par. 66, Michael Henry Heim Translation).

Question: The narrator writes, “Though a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, she was not allowed to paint like Picasso.” For this question, (a.) Who is the “painter” that the narrator is referring to? (b.) Why couldn’t the painter paint in a cubist or non-objective way? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: The “Painter” is Sabina. Picasso is a renowned cubist painter. Her father, whom she loathed so much, disliked Picasso, so Sabina latched onto that as her method of escape and rebellion (45-46). When the Communist faction settled in and censored all the painting, she could no longer paint the way she wanted to. They were trying to limit her, much like her father did. Because of this, she couldn’t help but correlate the two. She even said, “Communism was merely another father, a father equally strict and limited, a father who forbade her love (the times were puritanical) and Picasso, too” (46). And so she began to hate Communism as much as she hated her father because, essentially, they were taking away her freedom and limiting her creative ability.

Posted by: Jacie Dieffenwierth at March 4, 2016 12:03 AM

William McDermott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
4 March 2016

63. PART III: What is an “abyss”? Explain the “abyss separating Sabina and Franz” after his discussion on Heraclitus. What is/causes the abyss separating them? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Merriam-Webster provides two definitions of the word “abyss”: “an immeasurably deep gulf or great space” and “intellectual or moral depths.” Both of these definitions relate to Franz and Sabina’s relationship, especially in regard to Sabina’s bowler hat. Franz does not know the origin of Sabina’s hat, and is thus confused by its purpose to Sabina:
“Now, perhaps, we are in a better position to understand the abyss separating Sabina and Franz: he listened eagerly to the story of her life and she was equally eager to hear the story of his, but although they had a clear understanding of the logical meaning of the words they exchanged, they failed to hear the semantic susurrus of the river flowing through them.
And so when she put on the bowler hat in his presence, Franz felt uncomfortable, as if someone had spoken to him in a language he did not know. It was neither obscene nor sentimental, merely an incomprehensible gesture. What made him feel uncomfortable was its very lack of meaning.” (page 45, online edition)
Sabina’s bowler hat is something that has a deep, personal meaning to her when she sees it on herself, but Franz is unable to understand what it means to her since the hat’s significance was born out of Sabina’s relationship with Tomas. The bowler hat acts as the abyss that separates Sabina and Franz, with one being completely isolated from the other due to not understanding the significance the hat has.
Franz and Sabina come from different backgrounds. Franz is interested in revolution/revolt since he comes from a country where he saw revolutions as an observer. Sabina has had to live through countries that went through revolution and has grown tired of them, rather than sharing Franz’s interest of them.

Posted by: William McDermott at March 4, 2016 10:56 AM

Nicole Klukowski
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CAO 1
4 March 2016

Question: 65. PART III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words.” Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “WOMAN” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word. Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: For Sabina, being a woman is something that she did not choose (89). Because womanhood was something given to her, without a choice, she believes that it is foolish to rebel against being a woman and foolish to take pride in being one (89). For her, that was “the correct attitude to her unchosen fate’ (89). There is no value in being a woman; it is only something one is assigned.
Franz views womanhood differently. For him, being a woman carries value (89). He differentiated the sex woman from being a woman. Franz thought that “not every woman was worthy of being called a woman” (89). A woman who is only a woman physically does not deserve the respect that a woman who embodies the ideal of womanhood. Franz saw the “Platonic ideal of a woman’ manifested in some women, but not all (90).
These two definitions cannot be reconciled. One definition is considered a sentence, the other, something to take pride in embracing. This makes Sabina question the woman-ness of Franz’s wife, Marie-Claude. If Sabina is considered a woman to Franz but Marie-Claude is not, then Sabina demands Franz’s respect while only the woman inside Marie-Claude is respected (90).

Posted by: Nicole Klukowski at March 4, 2016 12:55 PM

Annie Hays
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
3 March 2016

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” Heim Translation

Question: Who is Franz and what role does he have in this story, beginning with Part Three? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Franz is a professor and married man who is having an affair with Sabina (Kundera 81, 84, 86). He meets Sabina after Tomas leaves Geneva, and his story is set some years after Tomas leaves (87). His role is significant because it shows Sabina has physically moved on from Tomas, but she still misses him immensely. Sabina shows that she still misses her old lover when she puts on the bowler hat to see Franz’s reaction. Tomas had understood the significance of the bowler hat, and this resulted in him and Sabina, “[making] love almost in tears,” but Franz did not grasp the meaning of the hat and it caused an “abyss” to form between the two (88). Franz is a second-rate lover for Sabina, and this will likely cause tension later in the novel.

Posted by: Annie Hays at March 4, 2016 01:05 PM

Giuseppe Donnian
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
04 March 2015

What is a “bowler hat”? The narrator makes a five-point argument for what Sabina’s
bowler hat symbolized. Quote passages from the text as your evidence, but, summarize, in your
own words, each of the narrator’s five arguments. Why is this significant?

The bowler hat is literally a black round hat that was in style during the middle of the 20th century. Analytically, the bowler hat has a deeper meaning. The author explains that the bowler hat symbolizes many things. For example, the hat symbolizes violence, originality, time, family, and life.

“It signified violence; violence against Sabina, against her dignity as a woman.”

The hat represents the sexual expectation the women have for sexual experience. It is as though the women voluntarily participate in acts that degrade themselves. At some points it is even suggested that they long for those degrading experiences.

“It was a memento of her father. After the funeral her brother appropriated all their parents' property, and she, refusing out of sovereign contempt to fight for her rights, announced sarcastically that she was taking the bowler hat as her sole inheritance.”

Sabina’s relationship with her father shows that many of the decisions she makes are directly conflicting with her father’s expectations. She chooses to betray her father because she does not believe in the values that he teaches her to abide by. In fact the hat symbolizes the betrayal of her to her family.

“It was a sign of her originality, which she consciously cultivated. She could not take much with her when she emigrated, and taking this bulky, impractical thing meant giving up other, more practical ones.”

Sabina seems to betray expectations that she does not agree with, so carrying around this unique hat supports her vision on conformity. To make space to carry around the hat she must leave out other pieces of clothing that may agree with society’s expectations.

“It was a recapitulation of time, a hymn to their common past, a sentimental summary of an unsentimental story that was disappearing in the distance.”

“The bowler hat was a motif in the musical composition that was Sabina's life. It returned again and again, each time with a different meaning.”

The hat is a symbol of the past, present, and future. While the hat represents many experiences and relationships from the past it also represents events happening in the present. The hat is literally a motif in her life that continues to show up, sometimes gaining a new meaning, but always carrying around the symbolism of the past.

Posted by: Giuseppe Donnian at March 4, 2016 01:24 PM

Cheryl Nance
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
5 Mar 2016

Questions #31. PART II: What was a seemingly unique trait about Tereza’s mother when it came to modesty? What did she do that Tereza found embarrassing? How did Tereza feel about this? How did Tereza’s mother (and the mother’s friends) feel about Tereza’s reaction? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Tereza’s mother “marched about the flat in her underwear, sometimes braless and sometimes, on summer days, stark naked” (45). Tereza was embarrassed by this lack of modesty, and would close the curtains so neighbors couldn’t see her mother. Tereza’s mother laughed and told her friends “Tereza can’t reconcile herself to the idea that the human body pisses and farts” (45). Tereza was further embarrassed as her mother farted loudly, causing her mother’s friends to laugh. This behavior is significant because it was “a casting off of youth and beauty” (46). It is her mother’s way of saying “youth and beauty were overrated and worthless” (46). This is a direct assault against Tereza, as it teaches her she has nothing of herself to value and keeps her soul buried deep within her body.

Posted by: Cheryl Nance at March 5, 2016 11:34 AM

Cheryl Nance
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
5 Mar 2016

Question # 69 PART III: In Part Three, the narrator prepared “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words” section. Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “LIGHT AND DARKNESS” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word. Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your words.

Answer: “Living for Sabina meant seeing” (94). The narrator defines seeing as being bordered by the two extremes of “strong light, which blinds, and total darkness” (94). Sabina felt that passion for any extreme was “a veiled longing for death” (94). Franz is attracted to both these extremes and sees the darkness as “pure, perfect, thoughtless, [and] visionless” (95). At the moment of pleasure, he feels infinite in the darkness, but Sabina thinks “a man with closed eyes is a wreck of a man” (95). She has to close her own eyes to avoid the sight of him with his eyes closed. Darkness for her is not infinity, but “a disagreement with what she saw, the negation of what was seen, the refusal to see” (95). This is significant because it shows Sabina is living within reality, she has no faith in or desire for what she cannot see. Franz finds hope in Sabina, but all she seems to see in him is emptiness.

Posted by: Cheryl Nance at March 5, 2016 03:03 PM

Nicholas Santos
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
7 March 2016

“I know a precedent, said Tereza. When I was fourteen I kept a secret diary. I was terrified that someone might read it so I kept it hidden in the attic. Mother niffed it out. One day at dinner, while we were all hunched over our soup, she took it out of her pocket and said, ‘Listen carefully now, everybody!’ And after every sentence, she burst out laughing. They all laughed so hard they couldn’t eat” (Page 69 [PDF Ver.], Part Four, Shahid Riaz Translation).

Question: A character says, “When I was fourteen, I kept a secret diary. I was terrified that someone might read it, so I kept it hidden in the attic.” For this question, (a.) who is speaking in this quotation and (b.) what happened to this person’s diary? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: Tereza is the writer of the diary and the speaker of this quote. According to her, her diary was discovered at one point by her mother, and during one dinner meeting, her mother read verses from the diary out loud, much to the enjoyment of everyone present and, supposedly, much to the embarrassment of Tereza. This is significant because it relates directly to the current situation surrounding Tereza and Tomas during their breakfast. Although Tomas wishes to eat alone, Tereza wishes to spend time with him since “Tomas was at work from seven to four, Tereza from four to midnight” (69). Although Tomas wishes to be secretive in a sense a be alone, Tereza will not allow him to. The diary also directly correlates to the idea of the secret police, which is the point of the propaganda playing on the radio before Tomas turns it off. Tomas claims that “a secret police that broadcasts its tapes over the radio” was “something that could happen only in Prague […] without precedent,” much like how Tereza’s secret diary was read out loud without precedent (69).

Posted by: Nicholas Santos at March 5, 2016 03:53 PM

Alexis Lebkey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Global Comparative Literature CA01
05 March 2016

Instructor-Provided Questions #83

Question: 83. PART IV: Explain the bizarre situation with the crow that Tereza found. Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Tereza found a crow that two boys buried alive (158). She dug it up and brought it home with her, but it was already dying (159). Tereza sat it down on the floor of the bathroom and watched it die (159). For some reason she saw herself in the crow, at least, she thought that they would share the same fate (159). It 's hard to say what she meant by that exactly; maybe she thought that she too would end up broken and alone when it came time for her to die.

Posted by: Alexis Lebkey at March 5, 2016 04:40 PM

Lauren Kilton

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation

3 March 2016

Part III Question 62: Who was Heraclitus? What does he have to do with part III of this novel, and more importantly, Sabina’s bowler hat? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: Heraclitus was a pre-socratic Greek philosopher who saw ever-present change as the fundamental essence of the universe. He is credited with the phrase: “You can’t step twice into the same river.” Part III follows the lives of Sabina and Franz, and particularly, the ways in which the two change. Sabina’s bowler hat represents the river through which “a new meaning” flows each time she uses it (88). Sabina does not have much to show for her temporary connections with Franz and Tomas, making their “love games” seem light and almost imaginary, but the bowler hat is a symbol of both her connection with Tomas and her family history, representing a change of purpose in itself.

Posted by: Lauren Kilton at March 5, 2016 07:54 PM

Lauren Kilton

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature in Translation

5 March 2016

Part IV Question 85: Who is/was Jan Prochazka, and what happened to him? Why is his backstory of any significance to the narrative? Explain.

Answer: Jan Prochazka was a Czech novelist who “became one of the best-loved figures of the Prague Spring” through openly supporting the liberalization of Communism after World War II (Kundera 133). After the Russian invasion, the secret police tried to turn his Czech followers against him by exposing him in a non-politically friendly light. They succeeded in that people were “more shocked by the much-loved Prochazka [making fun of his friends] than by the much-hated secret police” (133). The event of an expectedly good person being condemned for relatively trivial behavior while the continued actions of the notably bad get pushed under the rug can be compared to that of Tomas’s infidelity and Tereza’s fidelity. Tomas, who always sleeps with other women and knows how it hurts Tereza, would be upset to know about Tereza’s one night affair, to the extent that it could bring an end to their love or relationship. Tereza, like Prochazka, has the short end of the stick because she had originally pure intentions, yet her slight mistake, or moment of natural human behavior, is more apt to ruin her status than those of Tomas, or the secret police.

Posted by: Lauren Kilton at March 6, 2016 04:31 AM

Ashley Reynolds
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature in Translation CA01
7 March 2016

Question 95: PART IV: What, according to the narrator, is “flirtation”? In context, what does this little snippet of wisdom from the narrator have to do with what is happening with Tereza when she gets home to find Tomas asleep? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: According to the narrator, flirtation is suggestion of sexual activity without any promise to actually follow through. The narrator says that flirtation is “behavior leading another to believe that sexual intimacy is possible, while preventing that possibility from becoming a certainty. In other words, flirting is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee” (Kundera 142, Harper ed.). For Tereza, this is a problem. She’s an earnest person who takes things seriously. She is unable to successfully flirt because she makes it seem like a guarantee instead of just a suggestion.

When Tereza gets home, she finds that “Tomas was asleep. His hair gave off the aroma of a woman's groin” (Kundera 142, Harper ed.). The scent of another woman reminds Tereza of Tomas’s infidelity and her subsequent jealousy. Tomas makes it clear that he believes love and sex are two entirely different things, something Tereza has never come to accept. She wishes that, like Tomas, she can flirt and have sex without implication of love. She therefore starts flirting with the men she meets at work, to no success.

Posted by: Ashley Reynolds at March 6, 2016 02:02 PM

Annie Hays
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
6 March 2016

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” Heim Translation

Question: What were the “questions that had been going through Tereza’s head since she was a child”? What made them “serious” questions? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: The questions Tereza has had since childhood are, “what was the relationship between Tereza and her body? Had her body the right to call itself Tereza? And if not, then what did the name refer to” (Kundera 139)? These are serious questions because the narrator says only naïve questions are serious. They have no answers, and they “set the limits of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence” (139). Although the narrator says that these questions cannot be answered, Tereza decides that her body is inadequate since Tomas still cheats on her (139). She still wants to stay with Tomas, but only in spirit. This is significant because it shows how dedicated Tereza is to Tomas and how disconnected she is from her body. If Tereza is this disconnected from her body, then she may not take care of her body and hurt herself or die.

Posted by: Annie Hays at March 6, 2016 10:56 PM

William McDermott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
7 March 2016

87. PART IV: What is a tram? Why did Tereza detest the trams? Summarize and explain the scene with the umbrellas. What was the conflict, if any? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

She detested the trams constantly packed with people pushing into one another's hate-filled embraces, stepping on one another's feet, tearing off one another's coat buttons, and shouting insults.
Though they are a necessary part of her commute, Tereza can not stand trams for how they force socialization with other people. The book describes the atmosphere of the tram involving “…people pushing into one another's hate-filled embraces, stepping on one another's feet, tearing off one another's coat buttons, and shouting insults.” (page 70, online edition, Heim translation).
Another part of her commute forces unwanted contact with other people, specifically women. When walking the streets during rain, the streets are as crowded as the tram, though the interaction between people is different. The walk in the rain is different for men and women, with the book describing men as “courteous, and when passing Tereza they held their umbrellas high over their heads and gave her room to go by. But the women would not yield; each looked straight ahead, waiting for the other woman to acknowledge her inferiority and step aside. The meeting of the umbrellas was a test of strength.” This connects to Tereza’s fear of women that she often confronts in her dreams, a fear that most likely stemmed from the interactions with her mother. Much like the women not yielding to each other in the rain, life with Tereza and her mother was often a test and show of power.

Posted by: William McDermott at March 6, 2016 10:57 PM

Jacie Dieffenwierth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures
6 March 2016

Part IV: Question 81

“What is flirtation? One might say that it is behavior leading another to believe that sexual intimacy is possible, while preventing that possibility from becoming a certainty. In other words, [this concept], is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee” (Part IV: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, page 142, par. 1, Michael Henry Heim Translation)

Question: The narrator writes, “One might say that it is behavior leading another to believe that sexual intimacy is possible, while preventing that possibility from becoming a certainty. In other words, [this concept], is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.” For this question, What “word” (or concept) is the speaker here defining/referring to? There is a specific answer. Why is this significant?

Answer: As stated in the quote above, flirtation is the word the speaker is defining (142). This is one of many dichotomies made in the book. The biggest one would be Thomas trying to distinguish “love from love making” (143). Tereza doesn’t understand these and has a hard time distinguishing the two. Because of her misunderstanding she tends to put out when it comes to flirting. She would give what men thought was a promise of sex, when she really meant to give them nothing at all.

Posted by: Jacie Dieffenwierth at March 6, 2016 11:31 PM

Natalie Cassidy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
22 February 2016

Question: What is a “concentration camp”? Explain why living with her mother was, for Tereza, like living in a concentration camp. What does one have to do with the other? Why is the information that is revealed in this simile, significant for the readers’ understanding of Tereza’s character? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: Concentration camps are places where mass amounts of people are held prisoners. They are imprisoned in small areas and forced to work. Sometimes they are beaten, starved to death, or executed. In other words, “a concentration camp is the complete obliteration of privacy” (Part IV, Chapter 4, page 137, Heim translation). Tereza felt like she was living in a concentration camp when living with her mother because she was ripped away all privacy. Tereza’s mother walked around naked and barged in on Tereza while using the bathroom. This information reveals how traumatic Tereza’s childhood was for her.

Posted by: Natalie Cassidy at March 7, 2016 09:29 AM

Nicole Klukowski
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CAO 1
7 March 2016

“Old Town Hall, which dated from the fourteenth century and had once stretched over a whole side of the square, was in ruins and had been so for twenty-seven years.” (136 Part 4, Chapter 4)

Question: 90. PART IV: Explain why “the remains of Old Town hall” reminded Tereza of her mother. What does one have to do with the other? Why is the information that is revealed in this comparison, significant for the readers’ understanding of Tereza’s character? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: The Old Town hall was left in ruins “so that no Pole or German could accuse them of having suffered less than their share” (136). The people of the town rebuilt many of the ruins but left the town hall as proof of what they had suffered. When Tereza sees the ruins, she is reminded of her mother. The people felt that they needed to leave the ruins there for all to see, just as her mother felt she had the right to advertise her own faults and ruins. Tereza recognizes the motives of the people and her mother as “that perverse need one has to expose one’s ruins, one’s ugliness, to parade one’s misery, to uncover the stump of ones amputated arm and force the whole world to look at it” (136). In both instances, there is an openness that leaves nothing out, including even the bad. Concerned with her self-image, Tereza does not like to broadcast any faults. This comparison gives readers further insight into the relationship Tereza and her mother had and the scars Tereza still carries because of it.

Posted by: Nicole Klukowski at March 7, 2016 11:53 AM

Giuseppe Donnian
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
07 March 2016

PART IV: Who was the “tall man” that Tereza met one day at the bar? What did he do for her?
Why was she grateful? Why is this significant? Explain.

The tall man is an engineer that also lives in Prague. He defended her when the bald man accused her of serving alcohol to underage drinkers. The tall man like Tereza and flirted with her at the bar, "I like hearing you make me promises, he said, still looking in her eyes. The flirtation was on" (Kundera 77). Tereza winds up having an affair with this man hoping to understand Tomas way of life. She does not like it and becomes very paranoid. She is grateful because this experience shows her that she can never live like Tomas. This is significant because it is what influences Tereza to move to the country. Away from the memories of Prague and Tomas' infidelities.

Posted by: Giuseppe Donnian at March 7, 2016 01:17 PM

Giuseppe Donnian
Natalie Cassidy
ENG 410
07 March 2016

Parade- Walk or march in public in a formal procession or in an attention-seeking manner (Merriam Webster).

Parade- Parades should be a fun event to attend, but there are also communist and fascist parades spreading hate.

The Narrator wasn't the audience to understand that this word has multiple definitions. The definition work well together since they both suggest a public want for attention. Franz loves parades, but Sabina does not because of her past experiences.

Kundera uses anecdotes to define terms. It is effective because no word should have a concrete definition. Different people have different experiences with words and personal perspective can affect a definition.

We believe Kundera chose to define the words in the novel because they are difficult to define. For instance, many people know what a parade or a woman is, but it may be difficult to define them. Using common words and giving deep definitions allow for the audience to see more perspective. These definitions help our understanding of the story because like the words, the characters also have different perspective. When the audience understands the value in perspective it will be more beneficial when analyzing the characters and their motivation.

Posted by: Giuseppe Donnian at March 7, 2016 01:54 PM

Giuseppe Donnian
Natalie Cassidy
ENG 410
07 March 2016

Parade- Walk or march in public in a formal procession or in an attention-seeking manner (Merriam Webster).

Parade- Parades should be a fun event to attend, but there are also communist and fascist parades spreading hate.

The Narrator wants the audience to understand that this word has multiple definitions. The definition work well together since they both suggest a public want for attention. Franz loves parades, but Sabina does not because of her past experiences.

Kundera uses anecdotes to define terms. It is effective because no word should have a concrete definition. Different people have different experiences with words and personal perspective can affect a definition.

We believe Kundera chose to define the words in the novel because they are difficult to define. For instance, many people know what a parade or a woman is, but it may be difficult to define them. Using common words and giving deep definitions allow for the audience to see more perspective. These definitions help our understanding of the story because like the words, the characters also have different perspective. When the audience understands the value in perspective it will be more beneficial when analyzing the characters and their motivation.

Posted by: Giuseppe Donnian at March 7, 2016 01:56 PM

Erin Gaylord and Segar Sipe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Comparative Global Literature
7 March 2016

Group Question 3. Music

1.“For Franz music was the art that comes closest to Dionysian beauty in the sense of intoxication” (Pg. 92, Part 3, Ch. 3) Music is a vocal or instrumental sound that produces harmony and melody. The narrator says you can get drunk by listening to it, it’s a liberating force, and it “opens the door of the body and allows the soul to step out into the world.” Franz said, “Noise has one advantage. It drowns out words” (Pg. 94, Part 3, Ch. 3).

2. Music on a personal level connected with spirit and body. For example, “And lulled by that blissful imaginary uproar, he fell asleep” (Pg. 94, Part 3, Ch. 3)

3. Music is a big part of life, it’s found in every culture. Music helps calm people and helps relieve stress. It also helps people get through tough times, and shows people that they are not the only one. For example, the narrator explains the Franz feels that music “liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library” (Pg. 92-93, Part 3, Ch. 3).

Posted by: Erin Gaylord at March 7, 2016 02:08 PM

Alyssa Barca, Will McDermott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
7 March 2016

Group 10: Strength (pg. 111)

Answer: The definition of strength is "the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way." Also, strength could be interpreted as muscular or internal strength. In part three, Sabina defines strength as more of an internal force than a physical/external force. Both of which she values, but has a difficult time deciding which type is right for her. In this section, strength to Sabina would fall under the definition as mentioned because she values internal strength such as love and drive. She states that she would not be able to put up with a man whose strength is just giving constant commands. However, she states Franz's strength as "he may be strong, but his strength is directed outward; when it comes to the people he lives with, the people he loves, he's weak. Franz's weakness is called goodness." (Kundera 111) Later on in the section, Sabina comes to the realization that neither a weak or strong man is good for her. She goes back and forth between the notion that Franz lacks the ability to give orders, but yet Tomas is too demanding. This proves that Strong vs. Weak is a possible false dichotomy because for Sabina, neither sides are compatible.

Posted by: Alyssa Barca at March 7, 2016 02:19 PM

Natalie Cassidy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
9 March 2016

Question: What is a “guberniya”? What did the Russians decide was inadmissible in their gubernia [guberniya]” and why? What was the result? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: A gubernia is a Russian province or district. The Russians decided that, “free speech was inadmissible in their gubernia” (Part V, Chapter 2, page 179, Heim translation). This decision was made due to weekly newspaper by the Union of Czech Writers. The newspapers often covered topics about political issues that were, “forbidden to others” (Part V, Chapter 2, page 178, Heim translation). The result of this was that Tomas had to retract one of the articles that he had written.

Posted by: Natalie Cassidy at March 7, 2016 02:31 PM

Rachel Andrews & Amber Clidinst

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01

7 March 2016

In part 3, Kundera explains that everyone has their own definitions of words. In a relationship, no matter if it is platonic or erotic, those misunderstood words can cause a lot of strife between people. One of the words Kundera believes is misunderstood is 'Woman'. Franz believes the word woman has a value on it and "not every woman is worthy of being called a woman" (Kundera 44). He does not respect Sabina as a woman because he does not believe she deserves the title. He respects the woman inside of his wife Marie- Claude but he does not respect her as a woman. Franz knows the ideal woman is his Mother. Whereas Sabina does not consider herself a woman, just Sabina. She believes her gender was an accident and does not take pride in nor does she reject it. We believe the narrator wants the reader to understand this phrase in the context that there is a stigma that comes with being a woman, it is hard being a woman because societal expectations are too high. The stigma is detrimental. This seen when Franz says there is a value associated with the word 'Woman' and when Sabina says she has to "assume the correct attitude for the fate chosen for her" (44).

Posted by: Rachel Andrews & Amber Clidinst at March 8, 2016 10:27 AM

Nicholas Santos, Ashley Reynolds
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
9 March 2016

“He loved her from the time he was a child until the time he accompanied her to the cemetery; he loved her in his memories as well. That is what made him feel that fidelity deserved pride of place among the virtues: fidelity gave a unity to lives that would otherwise splinter into thousands of split-second impressions. […] What he did not know was that Sabina was charmed more by betrayal than by fidelity” (Page 46 [PDF Ver.], Part Three, Shahid Riaz Translation).

Question: First, define “Fidelity and Betrayal” in a way that you and your group members normally understand them. Then, move to the narrator’s own explanation. How does this correlate or conflict with your own? What method(s) does Kundera use to define a concept? Is it effective? Why or why not? Lastly, for purposes of clarification, why, do you think, does Kundera specifically use the words “fidelity” and “betrayal?” How do these choices add to the discussion? Explain.

Answer: Fidelity and betrayal, in a common sense, mean loyalty and disloyalty respectively. The narrator defines fidelity and betrayal through the stories of Franz—who represents fidelity—and Sabina—who represents betrayal. Franz saw unity as an important thing; he believed that “fidelity gave a unity to lives that would otherwise splinter into thousands of split-second impressions” (46). Sabina, on the other hand, saw fidelity as a type of restriction. She thought that, in the words of the narrator, “betrayal means breaking ranks […] and going off into the unknown” (47). This is correlated with Sabina’s personal story in which she experiences a series of betrayals, starting with one which was “irreparable” and also “calls forth a chain reaction of further betrayals, each of which takes us farther and farther away from the point of our original betrayal” (47). Betrayal makes Sabina satisfied with her life, as it gives her more opportunities. This is a far cry from Franz’s perspective, which is born primarily from his relationship with his mother and his childhood affection for Sabina, which is a sort of loyalty; he believed that “Sabina would be charmed by his ability to be faithful” and “that it would win her over;” it is ironic, as Sabina does not care for faithfulness (46).

With these examples, it is clear that Kundera wishes to explain fidelity and betrayal through Franz’s and Sabina’s stories. It is effective, as it relates personal events of the character to the traits of fidelity and betrayal.
It appears as though the reason why Kundera specifically uses the words “betrayal” and “fidelity” stems from the fact that both “betrayal” and “fidelity” are seen as opposites. With Sabina and Franz’s justifications of their perspectives on the traits, it is shown that these two things are equal since they both respectively see betrayal and fidelity as good things.

Posted by: Nicholas Santos, Ashley Reynolds at March 8, 2016 12:42 PM

Nicholas Santos
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
9 March 2016

“Tomas was obsessed by the desire to discover and appropriate that one-millionth part; he saw it as the core of his obsession. He was not obsessed with women; he was obsessed with what in each of them is unimaginable, obsessed, in other words, with the one-millionth part that makes a woman dissimilar to others of her sex” (Page 104 [PDF Ver.], Part Five, Shahid Riaz Translation).

Question: What is the “millionth part” that the narrator keeps going on about in his discussion of Tomas and all the women he has slept with? Why is the “millionth part” important to Tomas? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: Tomas sees women—more specifically, the women he sleeps with—as each being completely different from one another. No one woman is the same to him; each time he sleeps with a woman, it’s a completely different experience, as stated in the narrator’s saying that “making love [is not] merely an eternal repetition of the same” (104). He is obsessed with finding the “individual I,” which, for all intents and purposes, is defined by the narrator as “what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed at or calculated, what must be unveiled, uncovered, conquered” (104). There is something hidden, Tomas thinks, in each of these women, and making love to each of them is a step in discovering what this hidden something is. He cannot find it anywhere else; he wonders why he “couldn’t find it, say, in a woman’s gait or culinary caprices or artistic taste;” he could find it only through sex, and he was fascinated by it (104). Tomas believed that, by finding the “individual I,” he could find a “possession of the word” which “sent him in pursuit of women” (105). This is extremely significant since it sort of humanizes his pursuit of women.

Posted by: Nicholas Santos at March 8, 2016 01:19 PM

William McDermott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
9 March 2016

115. PART V: Why does the topic of “smiles” suddenly enter the narration of this story? Who is smiling, and why? What does it mean? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

The smiles that Tomas sees on people’s faces are smiles that are a result of having to conform to the Communist regime and represent cowardice and defeat. When Tomas sees these smiles on people’s faces, he sees that “cowardice was slowly but surely becoming the norm of behavior and would soon cease being taken for what it actually was” (page 92, online edition) Tomas is only now noticing these people’s smiles due to being in the position of deciding if he should join them in heeding to the regime’s order to retract his opinions from the Oedipus article. The smiles stand out to Tomas because they are an act of passiveness, and Tomas has been portrayed through the novel as anything but passive.

Posted by: William McDermott at March 8, 2016 09:20 PM

Leona Hunt
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literature CA01
5 March 2016

Question 98: What did the man mean who said, “If it wasn't your choice, we can't do it. We haven't the right”? What is the context of this passage? What is going on? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words. (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera, Shahid Riaz translation)

Answer: In the passage, Tereza is having a dream where Tomas sends her to Petrin Hill where people are assisted in committing suicide. After Tereza chooses a chestnut tree as her symbolic grave, one of the gunmen raises his weapon to kill her, but she bursts out in hysterical tears and admits she didn’t choose to be there. The man tells her he can’t shoot her, and his tone is describe as “kindly, as if apologizing to Tereza for not being able to shoot her if it was not her choice” (78). The passage is important because, despite Tereza’s attachment to Tomas, there is a limit to how much she will obey; however, at the same time, she is riddled with guilt and “embraced the tree as if it were not a tree, as if it were … a hoary old man come to her from the depths of time” (78). Her conflict between choosing to live on and being commanded to die reveals the inner turmoil of her relationship with Tomas.

Posted by: Leona Hunt at March 9, 2016 02:17 AM

Leona Hunt
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literature CA01
5 March 2016

Question 98: What did the man mean who said, “If it wasn't your choice, we can't do it. We haven't the right”? What is the context of this passage? What is going on? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words. (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera, Shahid Riaz translation)

Answer: In the passage, Tereza is having a dream where Tomas sends her to Petrin Hill where people are assisted in committing suicide. After Tereza chooses a chestnut tree as her symbolic grave, one of the gunmen raises his weapon to kill her, but she bursts out in hysterical tears and admits she didn’t choose to be there. The man tells her he can’t shoot her, and his tone is describe as “kindly, as if apologizing to Tereza for not being able to shoot her if it was not her choice” (78). The passage is important because, despite Tereza’s attachment to Tomas, there is a limit to how much she will obey; however, at the same time, she is riddled with guilt and “embraced the tree as if it were not a tree, as if it were … a hoary old man come to her from the depths of time” (78). Her conflict between choosing to live on and being commanded to die reveals the inner turmoil of her relationship with Tomas.

Posted by: Leona Hunt at March 9, 2016 02:20 AM

Leona Hunt
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literature CA01
9 March 2016

Question 68: In Part Three, the narrator prepared a “A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words” section. Using only quoted snippets from the text, summarize and explain, in your words, (1.) what the concept “MUSIC” means to both Sabina and Franz and (2.) why it is a misunderstood word. Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words. (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera, Shahid Riaz translation Translation)

Answer: Sabina and Franz view music with very contrary opinion: Franz loves music while Sabina has no taste for it. Franz is described as viewing music of all genres as “a liberating force” because it allowed him to forget his loneliness and connected him to people (47). Sabina, on the other hand, connects music with unwanted noise because “only in the Communist world could such musical barbarism reign supreme” (48). The word is misunderstood because Sabina and Franz cannot find a compromise in their views. Franz will always see music as beautiful, an escape, an anti-word; meanwhile, Sabina will always see music as ugly, loud, and mechanical (48). The binary nature of music represents one of the conflicts between the lovers’ relationship.

Posted by: Leona Hunt at March 9, 2016 02:22 AM

Leona Hunt
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literature CA01
9 March 2016

Question 121: What is tragicomedy? What is the tragicomic “fact” mentioned by the narrator, and why is it tragicomic? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words. (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera, Shahid Riaz Translation)

Answer: The tragicomedy is a work that is both tragic and comedic, a dichotomy of two genres. The tragicomic fact mentioned by the narrator is as followed: “It is a tragicomic fact that our proper upbringing has become an ally of the secret police. We do not know how to lie.” (97) Basically, the previous quote criticize how truth has backfired on people. Because people are taught to always tell the truth, it is difficult for people to protect themselves, make up believable stories for, and deceive authority figures. What is normally a good quality has now become the reason that it’s easy for people to be taken advantage of. At one point, Tomas admits he “nearly felt guilty” when a Ministry man accused him of insincerity (97), even though the claim was false and inaccurate.

Posted by: Leona Hunt at March 9, 2016 02:23 AM

Jonah Robertson & Leona Hunt
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literature CA01
7 March 2016

Group Section: “The Beauty of New York” (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera, Shahid Riaz translation)

Answer: In the section, New York’s beauty is described by Franz and Sabina as being “unintentional” (51). Basically, New York is a masterpiece because of its flaws, contradictions, and mistakes. The text further describes the city made up of “ugly [forms] turn up fortuitously, without design, in such incredible surroundings that they sparkle” (52). The prior quote claims there is beauty from ugliness.
The section is importance because Franz and Sabina react to New York’s beauty in opposite ways. Sabina sees New York as “her first mature painting, which came into being because some red paint had dripped on it by mistake” (52); in other words, she sees the poetry, wonder, and art in what is unplanned. However, Franz views New York as “intriguing but frightening” because he prefers to return to a familiar place (52). The two peoples different views on how to approach the alien, imperfect beauty of their surroundings, foreshadows a rift and divide in thought between the couple.

Posted by: Leona Hunt at March 9, 2016 02:28 AM

Leona Hunt
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literature CA01
2 March 2016

Question 30: Explain the concept of shame in Tereza’s childhood home? Did it exist? Why, or why not? Who did it exist for and why? Who did it NOT exist for and why? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words. (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera, Shahid Riaz Translation)

Answer: In Tereza’s home, her mother didn’t have any shame for her body. It is often describe that her mother “marched about the flat in her underwear, sometimes braless and sometimes, on summer days, stark naked” (23) to show how unabashed she was about flaunting the grotesqueness of age. Meanwhile, Tereza tried to protect her mother’s modesty and “quickly ran to pull the curtains so that no one could see her from across the street” (23) whenever her mother walked around the house naked. Because of this mother-daughter relationship, Tereza associated shame with beauty and shamelessness with age.

Posted by: Leona Hunt at March 9, 2016 02:44 AM

Annie Hays and Lauren Kilton
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
9 March 2016

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” Heim Translation

Question: What does, “The Old Church in Amsterdam” mean to you; what does the narrator say it means? How do Sabina and Franz each interpret “The Old Church in Amsterdam?” How does Kundera define words? Is this effective and why? Why did Kundera pick this phrase to define, and does it help clarify the story or make it more confusing?

Answer: On the surface, “The Old Church in Amsterdam” is just another building in the city. Due to the fact that the Soviets did not want the Catholic faith practiced during this time, it is has likely been abandoned or repurposed for something other than Catholic mass. After reading the chapter, it turns out that the church has been repurposed as a “hangar,” with all the remnants of Catholicism removed (Kundera 109).

Sabina and Franz interpret the church very differently. Franz is fascinated that “the Grand March of History had passed through this gigantic hall” (Kundera 109)! He is suddenly filled with a desire to clean out his own life the way this church has been swept clean by divorcing his wife and starting a new life. To him, the church is a symbol of, “his own liberation” (111). Sabina is taken back to a previous encounter in a church where she discovered her meaning of beauty. One day she discovered an illegal Catholic mass, and though she had been subjected to marches and singing during her time at work, she found the incantations in the mass beautiful, “compared to the construction site, where she spent her days amid the racket of songs” (110). Sabina realized that beauty is only present when it is overlooked, like the secret mass or the empty church. This explains why Sabina wants to keep her affair with Franz hidden: once everyone knows about it, it is no longer hidden, thus it will no longer be beautiful. However, Franz has decided to tell his wife about the affair to completely change his life and feel free.

Kundera likes to define words by giving the surface meaning (an old church), then two differing interpretations of the word (liberty and beauty). This is a good method that clarifies words because in real life, though a dictionary definition exists, people can all interpret words differently. If Kundera did not explain Sabina and Franz’s very different reactions to the church, readers would be confused why Franz exposing the affair would chase Sabina off. Kundera could have chosen another word or phrase to define to explain the couple’s differing opinions on whether to expose the affair, but since this explanation clearly defines each person’s opinion on the matter then it is acceptable.

Posted by: Annie Hays and Lauren Kilton at March 9, 2016 09:35 AM

Nicole Klukowski
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CAO 1
9 March 2016

Question: 109. PART V: What is the dispute mentioned by the narrator about the shouting matches between the accused (the Communists) and those who were accusing them? Explain. What single question did it narrow down to, in the end, according to the narrator? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: The narrator tells readers that the people blame the communists for the misfortunes of the country, its loss of independence, and its judicial murders (176). The communists claim that they were not aware of what they were doing. They believed they were doing the right thing at the time and, therefore, should not be held responsible (176). The narrator says that this dispute narrows down to the single question: “Did they really not know or were they making believe?” (176). The narrator questions whether not knowing is justifiable. “Is a man innocent because he didn’t know?” is the main idea. Thomas compares this dispute to Oedipus. Oedipus unknowingly committed two horrid crime (killing his father and sleeping with his mother) and he felt responsible enough to pluck out his eyes and wander away blind (177). Oedipus decided he was guilty even though he was unaware of the wrongs he had committed. Thomas believes the same principle applies to the members of the communist party.

Posted by: Nicole Klukowski at March 9, 2016 12:28 PM

Giuseppe Donnian
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
09 March 2016

Why, according to the narrator could Tomas not bear the smiles of his colleagues? What were they smiling about? What is the meaning of their smiles? Why is this significant?

"And suddenly Tomas grasped a strange fact: everyone was smiling at him, everyone
wanted him to write the retraction; it would make everyone happy! The people with the
first type of reaction would be happy because by inflating cowardice, he would make
their actions seem commonplace and thereby give them back their lost honor. The
people with the second type of reaction, who had come to consider their honor a
special privilege never to be yielded, nurtured a secret love for the cowards, for without
them their courage would soon erode into a trivial, monotonous grind admired by no
one" (Kundera 93).

Tomas could not bear the smiles of his colleagues because he did not like to about how much he cared about their opinion. I think he did not want to think about his integrity as a person. He became anxious and began to see the smiles everywhere. Even in public. They were smiling because they wanted Tomas to write the retraction. The meaning of their smiles is a constant reminder of Tomas' lack of integrity. This is significant because Tomas comes off as a character that does not care about others opinions of him and his lifestyle. The smiles become a reminder that he is not invincible and cares about the opinions of others.

Posted by: Giuseppe Donnian at March 9, 2016 12:46 PM

Marie Umholtz and Nicole Klukowski
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 - Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
7 March 2016
In-Class Group Work: “Misunderstood Words” in Part III of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being
#4: Lightness and Darkness
• Light commonly refers to being able to see, and a state in which everything is clearly understood. Darkness is the absence of light, in which everything is uncertain because one cannot see. This presents a dichotomy, which leaves no grey area between these two extreme opposites.
Kundera presents both dichotomies in their extremes. Sabina dislikes extremes, as she believes, “Seeing is limited by two borders: strong light, which blinds, and total darkness. . . . Extremes mean boarders beyond which life ends” (Kundera 94). Sabina thinks of extreme, blinding light, unlike our definition of light as clarity. Franz, however, likes extremes, and unlike Sabina, he sees them as limitless. He sees extreme light as the source of positive qualities, as Kundera likens them to “the sun of righteousness, the lambent flame of the intellect” (94). Franz sees darkness as a means to transcend the finite world, as Kundera explains, “darkness was pure, perfect . . . darkness was without end, without boarders; that darkness was the infinite we carry within us. . . . Franz himself disintegrated and dissolved into the infinity of his darkness, himself becoming infinite” (95). For Sabina, lightness and darkness represent limits, while Franz sees them as transcending, pure, and admirable.
• Kundera defines these terms through metaphors and explores a deeper, philosophical meaning to experiencing light and darkness. His metaphors highlight the differences between Sabina and Franz, and better explain their experiences concerning lightness and darkness, as well as their view of general dichotomies. He uses Sabina and Franz’ different definitions of lightness and darkness to further characterize them.
• Perhaps Kundera chooses to expound upon lightness and darkness to discuss the nature of dichotomies, and how different minds may mold or perceive them. He discusses the experiences of living in lightness and darkness through Sabina and Franz. Through Sabina’s eyes, Kundera expresses the dangers of dichotomies, as “a passion for extremism . . . is a veiled longing for death” (94). Through Franz, Kundera expresses a lighter, more positive view of living in extremes. Their different opinions express the confusion and problems dichotomies pose.

Posted by: Marie Umholtz at March 9, 2016 01:12 PM

Marie Umholtz
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 - Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
9 March 2016
PART V: This is a context question. Explain what Tomas meant, when he asked himself, is “a fool on the throne relieved of all responsibility merely because he is a fool?” Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.
Answer: Here, Thomas questions whether ignorant people are innocent of their awful crimes and actions. Kundera explains, “the criminal regimes were made not by criminals but by enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise” (176); he discusses how Communists executed extreme means to meet extreme goals, and that they deny culpability because they were unaware of their own wrongdoing. However, he questions how many Communists were truly oblivious (Kundera 177). Thomas likens their guilt to Oedipus’ tragic fall, but admires that Oedipus admits his guilt, and takes responsibility for his wrongdoing. He wishes Communist criminals would own up to their own guilt, and justly acknowledge their own accountability. Perhaps Thomas contradicts his own guilt and rationale, as he tries to justify his affairs and infidelity.

Posted by: Marie Umholtz at March 9, 2016 01:13 PM

Nicholas Santos
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
11 March 2016

“Those of us who live in a society where various political tendencies exist side by side and competing influences cancel or limit one another can manage more or less to escape the kitsch inquisition: the individual can preserve his individuality; the artist can create unusual works. But whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch” (Page 133 [PDF Ver.], Part Six, Shahid Riaz Translation).

Question: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, “whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch”? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: The narrator says that “everything that infringes on kitsch must be banished for life” (133). The word kitsch defines a work of art that appeals to the less favorable aspects of it; for example, it may be overdramatic and be poor in taste. The official definition of kitsch from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “things (such as movies or works of art) that are of low quality and that many people find amusing or enjoyable” (Merriam-Webster). The narrator also describes kitsch as “the aesthetic ideal of all politicians and all political parties and movements (133).

“Political movements” are typically seen as having “power,” as the narrator explains (133). Because of this, things like “individualism,” “doubt,” and “irony” goes against the thought of freedom; the narrator compares this to “the holy decree Be fruitful and multiply” (133). This is significant since the idea of kitsch directly correlates to Sabina’s own story. She believes, according to the narrator, that “life in the real communist world was still livable;” she wouldn’t be able to live in a life that did not include the things which the idea of kitsch is against—such as her fascination with betrayal that was expressed in the previous section (133). This fits Sabina, someone who prefers to constantly move on from things, as the narrator points out that “the true opponent of totalitarian kitsch is the person who asks questions (134).

Posted by: Nicholas Santos at March 9, 2016 03:20 PM

Nicole Klukowski
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CAO 1
11 March 2016

Question: 144. PART VI: Explain the current, conventional “interpretation” of Soviet films that “Sabina always rebelled against.” Why did she take a position contrary to popular belief? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Soviet society claims that because of the progress they have made, the central conflict “is no longer between good and evil but between good and better” (252). Interpretations of Soviet films support this idea. The films of the time focused heavily on innocence and chastity (253). They were a representation of the Soviet ideals, but they failed to mirror Soviet reality (253). Sabina would “unhesitatingly prefer life in a real communist regime with all its persecution and meat queues” than life surrounded by “grinning idiots” (253). Sabina lives for the honest, real life. She does not appreciate pretending.

Posted by: Nicole Klukowski at March 9, 2016 04:24 PM

Amber Clidinst
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
9 March 2015
Question: The narrator, when speaking of a hypothetical war between two kingdoms, says that by recurring eternally, “it will become a solid mass, permanently protuberant, its inanity irreparable.” First explain what the words “protuberant” and “inanity” mean. Then paraphrase this sentence in your own words, without using the words “protuberant” and “inanity.” Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: If something is protuberant it means that it is bulging. If something is inane then it means it is lacking substance. This line is a bit of an oxymoron in that the narrator is talking about the bulge of nothingness. This explanation is significant in that it is a statement about what happens based on Nietzsche’s idea of “eternal return,” where acts of history repeat infinitely (3). Although this discussion takes place on a large scale, with two warring kingdoms, it is also dredging up a question about how it affects common people. As the novel moves forward and characters repeat actions and mistakes “ad infinitum,” such as Tomas’ constant cheating, will their lives change or will they amount to a great mass of nothing.

Posted by: Amber Clidinst at March 9, 2016 05:43 PM

Amber Clidinst
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
9 March 2015

Part II

Question: The narrator says that, to him, “Tereza appears to [to be] a continuation of the gesture by which her mother cast off her life as a young beauty.” What does the narrator mean by this? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: In this passage the narrator is saying that Tereza has picked up her life where her mother left off, before she threw modesty to the wind and became the vulgar, immodest woman Tereza has learned to dislike. Before this line the narrator describes the way her mother “blew her nose noisily, talked to people in public about her sex life, and enjoyed demonstrating her false teeth;” all things that make Tereza cringe, things she, personally shuns (46). These things, the extreme way her mother acts, have turned Tereza away from bodily things, making her shun the physical in preference of the spiritual. Her mother has shocked her in such a way that she has taken over her mother’s modest life without intending to.

Posted by: Amber Clidinst at March 9, 2016 06:11 PM

Amber Clidinst
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
9 March 2015

Part III

Question: For what reason did Franz never make love to his lover “in her Geneva studio”? What “crime” was he avoiding, by doing this? Does this somehow make Franz a decent person? Is this hypocritical? Why, or why not? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Franz never made love to Sabina in her studio because he didn’t like leaving one bed and moving to another, he felt worse about how he was treating his wife when he did this, claiming that moving between beds so directly would “humiliate both mistress and wife and, in the end, himself as well” (81). This rationalization does not free him from his crime. It also doesn’t make him hypocritical, though, because he does not exactly condemn cheating while doing it himself, he simply works a way around it. It is apparent, however, that he is not wholly concerned about the feelings of his wife and mistress, but himself as well, because he worries about his own humiliation as much, if not more than, theirs.

Posted by: Amber Clidinst at March 9, 2016 06:18 PM

Natalie Cassidy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
11 March 2016

Question: What does the word “onerous” mean? Why, according to the narrator, is excrement “a more onerous theological problem” that evil is? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: “Onerous,” means a task or duty that involves a great amount of effort that is usually burdensome. According to the narrator, when he first saw a picture of Jesus, he realized Jesus has a mouth, therefore he must use the bathroom. This thought became sacrilegious to the narrator. Shit is more of a onerous theological problem than evil since, “God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man’s crimes” (Part V1, Chapter 3, page 246, Heim translation). However the responsibility to use the bathroom rests solely on God. This is significant when thinking about if man was created in the image of God or not.

Posted by: Natalie Cassidy at March 9, 2016 06:25 PM

Alyssa Barca
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
9 March 2016

"Even though his conjugal sex life was hardly worth mentioning, he and his wife still slept in the same bed, awoke in the middle of the night to each other's heavy breathing...Each time he lay down next to his wife in that bed, he thought of his mistress imagining him lying down next to his wife in that bed, and each time he thought of her he felt ashamed." (Kundera 84)

Question 55: What is “conjugal”? Why did Franz consider Sabina’s refusal to go with him to a foreign city, “a self-inflicted punishment”? What things are symbolic for Franz and why are they “inviolable”? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: The definition of conjugal is "of or relating to marriage or the relationship of a married couple." Or,
"conjugal loyalty". In this scene, Franz is conflicted in the sense of wishing that Sabina was the one next to him at night instead of his wife, but he has "respect" for the fact that their bed represents their marriage vows and is symbolic of what marriage is suppose to be. He states, "that was why he wished he wished to separate the bed he slept in with his wife as far as possible in space from the bed he made love in with his mistress." Even though he's completely disrespecting his marriage by having a mistress, he's almost trying to make himself feel better by keeping his bed a symbol of marriage between him and his wife. It's a very hypocritical way of thinking. He considers Sabina's refusal to go to Palermo with him as a "self-inflicted punishment" because it made him realize that Sabina was "tired of limiting their lovemaking to foreign cities." (82) She did not want to just travel around with him as his mistress. The fact that she wanted to stay in Geneva and not go with him to a foreign city made him feel guilty about asking her, and having a mistress in the first place.

Posted by: Alyssa Barca at March 9, 2016 11:09 PM

Jacie Dieffenwierth

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures

9 March 2016

Part V: Question 125

“Does that mean his life lacked any Es muss sein!, any overriding necessity? In my opinion, it did have one. But it was not love, it was his profession. He had come to medicine not by coincidence or calculation but by a deep inner desire” (Chapter 7: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, page 193, par. 2, Michael Henry Heim Translation).

Question: According to the narrator, what was Tomas’s true “es muss sein!”? Was it his profession or was it love? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: According to the narrator, Tomas’s true “es muss sein!” was being a doctor (193). Instead of love being his "Es muss sein" like it is with Tereza, it was his work. Being a doctor was ingrained into him. He treated everything objectively and didn't let it get to close. He wanted things to be simple. This is why he and Tereza clash so much, because she is the opposite.

Posted by: Jacie Dieffenwierth at March 10, 2016 11:10 AM

Jacie Dieffenwierth

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures

10 March 2016


Part VI: Question 141


"It follows, then, that the aesthetic ideal of the categorical agreement with being is a wold in which shit denied and everyone acts as though it did not exist. This aesthetic ideal is called kitsch" (Part VI: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, page 248, par. 5, Michael Henry Heim translation).


Question: What does the narrator mean when s/he said, "In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme"? To correctly answer this question, you need to be SURE you understand what the narrator's understanding of the word "kitsch" is. Why is this significant?

Answer: As described by the book, "kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and the figurative senses of the word" (248). It leaves out anything that is deemed "unacceptable in human existence" and people may even ignore it as if it "did not exist" at all. When concerning the line of text that said "in the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme" (250), means that if the heart chooses not to see something, it won't be seen and will be ignored. The heart is often depicted as irrational and prejudice and cannot be reasoned with. So pretty much, the heart is the dictator of kitsch and is why kitsch happens at all.

Posted by: Jacie Dieffenwierth at March 10, 2016 11:50 AM

Amber Clidinst
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
11 March 2016

Part IV

Question: What subject did Tereza find herself photographing after the Soviet invasion of her country? Why? What did they represent to her (and the Russian soldiers)? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Tereza photographed a lot of Russian tanks, and “soldiers and officers in compromising positions” after the Soviet invaded her country (67). She felt these things represented not so much tragedy, but “a carnival of hate filled with a curious […] euphoria” (67). To the Russian soldiers, the tanks are power and control, and to Tereza they were more of a representation of chaos, not necessarily good or bad. This is important because Tereza took many pictures of Russian soldiers in compromising positions, and strong women fighting against them, but later she runs into these same women on the street who are rude and block her path as she tries to walk. She admired women when she took the pictures “and now these same women were bumping into her, meanly and spitefully.” It is here that Tereza realizes how little she can count on people and things. Tomas is not faithful to her and these women are not faithful to the idea she expects of them either, and this makes her begin to realize that betrayal and infidelity is something she has to be able to deal with.

Posted by: Amber Clidinst at March 11, 2016 12:48 PM

Giuseppe Donnian
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
11 March 2016

If you don’t know who Gustave Dore is, take some time to fill in the gaps of your
knowledge and google this historical person. Look at some of his work so that you have, at least,
SOME idea of what Kundera is talking about. Then answer the following question: What
deductions did the young narrator make when he saw illustrations of God with, for example, “a
mouth”? Why was that a conflict for the narrator? Why is this significant? Explain.

"When I was small and would leaf through the Old Testament retold for children and
illustrated in engravings by Gustave Dore, I saw the Lord God standing on a cloud. He
was an old man with eyes, nose, and a long beard, and I would say to myself that if He
had a mouth, He had to eat. And if He ate, He had intestines" (Kundera 130).

When the narrator saw illustrations of God with a mouth he made connections to God being a human. This created a conflict because if God was a human then all of the teachings of his faith were a lie. This is significant because it caused the narrator to distance himself from the religion and build his own set of morals.

Posted by: Giuseppe Donnian at March 11, 2016 01:07 PM

Leona Hunt
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literature CA01
11 March 2016

Question 154) PART VI: The narrator says that people “all need someone to look at” them and that everyone “can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look [they] wish to live under.” Identify and summarize the THIRD category, spoken of by the narrator. Why is this significant? Explain. (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera, Shahid Riaz translation)

Answer: The third category is “people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love” (142). Basically, the relationship between Tomas and Tereza falls under the third category. Both characters need the attention of the other, even though being with each other hurts them because of their conflicting actions. The significance of the passage is that is reveals why some people cannot get away from specific individuals.

Posted by: Leona Hunt at March 11, 2016 01:07 PM

Marie Umholtz
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 - Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
11 March 2016
138. PART VI: If you don’t immediately recognize either Saint Jerome or Johannes Scotus Erigena, take some time to fill in the gaps of your knowledge and google these historical persons so that you have, at least, SOME idea of what Kundera is talking about. Then answer the following question: What particular “notion” did Saint Jerome reject that was later “accepted” by Johannes Scotus Erigena? Why is this significant to the narrator’s conversation, thus far? What concept did Erigena find “incompatible” with Eden? Why? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Kundera explains, “Saint Jerome completely rejected the notion that Adam and Eve had sexual intercourse in Paradise;” however, Johannes Scotus Erigena believed otherwise (246). Erigena believed “There was pleasure in Paradise, but no excitement” (246). Kundera explains that Paradise was not void of bodily functions, but that man did not feel disgust towards them or “look upon shit as something repellant” (247). Similarly, Tereza hates her body, and wishes to elevate and transcend it. However, as Sabina hates extreme lightness, Kundera links shame to it, as “Man began to hide what shamed him, and by the time he removed the veil, he was blinded by a great light” (247). She does not see shame in her body, and hates the limiting power shame and disgust can bring.

Posted by: Marie Umholtz at March 11, 2016 01:13 PM

Nicole Klukowski
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CAO 1
11 March 2016

Question: 164. PART VII: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: What, according to the narrator, is “the only thing all of mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars” and what is his/her reasoning for suggesting this (context)? Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: “The only thing all of mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars” is that man is at the top of the food chain (286). This is undisputed by men. Mankind has dominion over all animals and can do with them as they please. “The right to kill a deer or a cow” belongs to humanity (286). Tereza thinks this over as she watches the cows play in the field. She enjoys watching the cows but knows they are only being fattened up to be slaughtered. This reminds her of newspaper article she had read about the communist party shooting all dogs (288). It seems that all men, communist or not, believe they have dominion over animals. The narrator points out that this belief comes from Genesis but reminds readers that “Genesis was written by a man, not a horse” (286). This brings to mind the expression history is written by the winners. Just as the Bible claims to give dominion over animals to man, the winners of history claim to have dominion.

Posted by: Nicole Klukowski at March 11, 2016 06:48 PM

Alexis Lebkey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Global Comparative Literature CA01
11 March 2016

Instructor-Provided Questions #147

Question: 147. PART VI: What, according to the narrator, is the “real” enemy of Sabina, according to her own statements? Why is that her enemy, instead of what the West Germans thought it would be? To correctly answer this question, you need to be absolutely SURE you understand what the narrator’s understanding of the word “kitsch” is (consider the context of this passage). Why is this significant? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: According to Sabina, her enemy is kitsch. Kitsch seems difficult to understand because the author gives us so many definitions. It is “a German word born in the middle of the sentimental 19th century” that means “the absolute denial of shit, both literally and figuratively" (248). It is described as a lie that is also part of the human condition. Kitsch’s function is “a folding screen set up to curtain off death” (253). Sabina’s enemy was the human need to deny the “bad” or unlikable things in life. This is significant because it reveals a trait of Sabina’s character, her want for total honesty and truth.

Posted by: Alexis Lebkey at March 11, 2016 10:30 PM

Natalie Cassidy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
11 March 2016

Question: Now, that you’ve read part seven, i.e., the entire novel, answer the following: Why, according to the narrator, did “village life no longer fit the age-old pattern,” under Communism? Why is this significant?

Answer: Village life no longer fit the old pattern under communism due to the new laws that the government made. For instance, “the church was in the neighboring village… the tavern had been turned to offices…and celebrating church holidays was forbidden” (Part VII, Chapter 1, page 282, Heim translation). Whereas in the past, village life was about community and religion, now, “the country offered them nothing in the way of even a minimally interesting life” (Part VII, Chapter 1, page 283, Heim translation). This was all caused because of Communism.

Posted by: natalie Cassidy at March 12, 2016 09:42 PM

Ashley Reynolds
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature in Translation CA01
9 March 2016

Question 107: What does the word “irrepressible” mean? Why does the narrator say that, as Tereza laid in her bed, Tomas had “the irrepressible feeling that she was a child who had been put in a bulrush basket and sent downstream to him”? What story is the narrator alluding to with this metaphor? Why is this significant? Explain.

Answer: The word irrepressible means unable to be suppressed, controlled, or ignored. The image of Tereza as “a child who had been put in a bulrush basket and sent downstream to him” recurs throughout the story (Kundera 175, Harper ed.). This is an allusion to Moses, a Jewish baby who was sent down the Nile River to escape death. Moses is rescued by the Pharoh’s daughter, who then raises him as her own child.

Unlike the other women Tomas sleeps with, he has a sense of destiny when he meets Tereza. He fee