In the Novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Weight, Milan Kundera questions the meaning of everything in life and the effect it takes, like a butterfly effect. He believes that there is a heaviness on man’s shoulders, for once a man has set down a path there is no going backward and no second chance for there is only one chance at life. The exposition starts out from the point of view of the protagonist, Tomas, who is a surgeon in Prague. Tomas meets a waitress, Tereza. Tereza’s mom left her and her father when she was very young, but when her father got into a bad situation, she had to go live with her mother, She despises her mother for her openness about sex and the body, for she hates her own. The narrative hook occurs when Tereza becomes very ill. Tomas barely knows her, but cares for her.
Once she got better she left Prague for home only to return later with “her entire life packed up into her suitcase”. Tomas shows discomfort to this for he has avoided an emotional relationship since he divorced his wife that he was married to for only two years and lost custody of his son. Eventually, Thomas comes to terms with the fact that he is in love with Tereza and marries her, and gets her a dog.
Tereza’s past with her mother continues to haunt her, and she wants to find uniqueness in each person rather than similarities in their bodies. The rising action occurs when Prague is invaded by Soviet tanks. This establishes a direct control of the Communist regime, which puts Tomas in danger because of a paper that he had written long ago.
Tomas is in a sexual relationship with another woman, Sabina, and Tereza decides to become friends with her rather than despise her. Tereza develops her love for photography with help from Sabina during this time period, and uses what is going on around her as an inspiration for her photography journal that she keeps. For their safety, Tomas and Tereza, move to Zurich. Tereza is miserable in Zurich for there is nothing for her to do and her photography has rejected so when she receives a phone call from a women looking for Tomas she decides to leave with her dog. When Tomas returns to Tereza after being with another Woman, he finds a note from her saying that she is aware that she is a burden to him so she left for Prague, but she won’t be able to return for the Czech borders have been shut down.
The Climax occurs just after Tereza leaves. At first, Tomas is happy to have this new freedom, but then he decided that he missed Tereza too much and went after her. Tomas thinks about how his life with Tereza was completely by chance, and how he would be on an extremely different path if they never were to meet.
From this point, the author shows more of Sabin and her other lover, Franz, an already married man with a love for music. Sabina, on the other hand, thinks of the music as just noise. Franz believes that darkness will help him reach further and experience more, while Sabina wants a balance between lightness and darkness in her life. They both have very different outlooks on parades; Franz thinks of them as a time to become deeply connected with people and what is going on around him, but Sabina despises them. Many other different things in life lay before the two of them, but their opinions are always polar opposite.
Franz’s wife holds a dinner party for local artists, and is very rude to Sabina. Franz tells his wife about the affair and leaves her for Sabina. Sabina falls into her usual patterns of betrayal and decides to leave Franz unknowingly. Franz is shocked when he finds that Sabina has left, but soon starts a relationship with a student of his. In the resolution, Tereza still hates her body and starts flirting with men to boost her self-esteem.
After a nightmare she has about Tomas she has an affair with a stranger. Tereza comes to the realization that her and Tomas are being watched. Tomas’s boss is trying to get Tomas to retract the article long ago comparing Czech Communists to Oedipus. He refuses to do so and loses his job. Tomas decides that the best thing to do is lay low so he becomes a window washer. As time passes, Tomas is in contact with his son, Simon, who lives in the country. Tereza and Tomas die in an automobile accident.
Sabina, now living in Paris, finds out that Tereza and Tomas are dead.In the Resolution, Simon comes in contact with Sabina who wishes for cremation when she dies. A group of men mug Franz which leads to his death. He sees his wife in the hospital once more before he dies.