The Unheard Voice of Commitment What the reader understands of the infidelity of Milan Kundera’s characters in The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a mere distraction from the real substance of the story and of the character’s real purpose. Kundera offers the reader a red herring and only through close examination can one dissect and abstract the true essence of each character’s thread that links them to one another in this story. For it is not clearly seen: in fact, it can not be seen at all. It is the fierce absence of the word commitment that is so blatantly seen in each individual, yet the word itself is buried so deeply inside of Tomas and Tereza that it takes an animal’s steadfast and unconditional love to make the meaning and understanding of commitment penetrate the surface. Tomas and Tereza’s marriage was fragile and based on Tomas’s sympathy for his wife’s irrevocable urge to fully complete him, mentally and physically. In this Tomas did only what he could do; go from woman to woman while carrying the scent of female genitalia with him.
Tereza carried her grief and regret in solitude yet she remained undaunted by an unexplainable force. Their dog Karenin seemed to be the only connection the couple shared. This animal gave them earnest trust and in return they committed their love. “It is a completely selfless love,” Kundera writes, ” Tereza did not want anything of Karenin; she did not ever ask him to love her back” (297); this love came easier to Tereza and was far less complicated than her love for Tomas.
In the novel Tom Jones, two female characters had a great impact on the story. They were Miss Sophia Western and Miss Molly Seagrim who differed in very many ways. These traits became distinct when matters concerned with physical appearance, family, and their feelings about things as well as the people around them were discussed. Both girls were comparable in that they were beautiful, but this was ...
“Her feeling was rather that, given the nature of the human couple, the love of man and woman is a priori inferior to that which can exist (at least in the best instances) in the love between man and dog, that oddity of human history probably unplanned by the creator” (297).
Tereza knew as the dog lay dying that the reason why she snuggled so close to Karenin was her commitment. That same commitment was the reason why she still slept next to Tomas every night. Love, whether we perceive it or not, has a hold that stitches souls together in the patchwork of life. It was not until after the dog’s death that Tomas grasped this idea as well. Karenin proved to be a symbol of Tomas and Tereza’s marriage and the prospect of death seemed to inevitably doom the marriage.
Tereza understood that Karenin’s commitment to please was the reason why the dog held on. Kundera’s following passage reflects this, “It was sad, what she said, yet without realizing it they were happy. They were happy not in spite of their sadness but thanks to it. They were holding hands and both had the same image in their eyes: a limping dog who represented ten years of their lives” (293).
In the existence of a dog there was a light.
This light did not fade when the dog’s existence was ceased, yet grew brighter in the eyes of a man. Tomas learned that in his years of endless escapades and rendezvous with strange woman, was his resistance to love and commitment to Tereza. He learned that this submission to loyalty and dedication was not a defeat of character yet a discovery of one’s other half. In all the lies and untruthful words Tomas ever spoke to Tereza in their years of marriage, the one true sentence ever expelled from his lips made up for all the infidelities and feelings of hurt and dishonesty: “Haven’t you noticed I’ve been happy here, Tereza?” (313).
The impact of Tomas’s tate ment banished any doubt Tereza ever had about his commitment to her.
The absence of the word itself was merely insignificant because it existed all along in “that forthright voice of his” (313).
Robert Anderson s play I Never Sang for My Father is an emotional story about Gene Garrison and his father, Tom Garrison, attempting to love one another. His father s abandonment and his mother s early death traumatized Tom Garrison as a child. Forced to take care of himself and his siblings, he grew up fast, cold and emotionally detached. As an adult, Tom Garrison is controlling, self-centered ...