Parental influence on female characters in Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of being"

Essay by LereenaHigh School, 11th grade September 2006

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"The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera is full of different themes and ideas, varying from religion, to social and political. In my opinion one of the most significant themes is the affect of parents on children, the struggle of the generations, dividing people from same families apart. In Kundera's point of view, parents affect their children the most, more than anybody else. They are the first images of real world, and this is where the character builds and develops, living with them and trying to communicate with them. Female characters are matters of special interest to me. Being called "weak" gender, they show the strength of soul and will, clarity of perception and sometimes even skill to leave what they love to gain something more than they already have. Women and their parents, that's what this study is about.

The first protagonist I would like to talk about is Teresa.

From her birth, she lived in a micro-world, inhabited only with her mother, broken-down woman, living with no hope to regain what she had before, beauty, first husband, and dignity of woman, who is not forced into marriage because of the pregnancy. Teresa's mother, observing her daughter growing into a pretty woman, feel the urge to compare Teresa to herself, and, as a consequence, become scared due to the understanding of what she sees. She sees the new circle of eternal return, the daughter continuing the mother, beauty turned into ugliness turning into beauty again just to become ugliness, mistakes that will follow, and broken heart, that won't heal. So she, as a true mother, chooses the strangest way to save her daughter from herself - to deny the personality that she was, turning to extreme of social behavior and moral issues, but showing that a...