The role of Animals in The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Poems New and Collected

The role of Animals in The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Poems New and Collected

Length: 1413 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Since animals, usually pets, are sometimes an essential part of one’s life, it is not surprising that we find frequent references to its role in works of social realism, such as Wislawa Szymborska’s Poems New and Collected and Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being. Animals in literature could be used to symbolize all sorts of things, but in particular, animals may represent the personality of a character. This is because as humans and animals co-exist in the same atmosphere, certain aspects of a character reveal themselves in the compassion or even hatred towards the animal. Since animals are often known to trigger the interests of humans, the attitude of the humans towards the animals contributes much to character revelation. Both Szymborska and Kundera use animals to symbolize character personality in their works. Therefore, through looking at animals, although it does seem to be a very commonplace topic, we may gain insight to what the writers are trying to convey about the character. This paper will compare the ways the writers use animals to determine a character’s personality or characteristics.
A recurring character in Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of being is Karenin, a dog saved from death by one of the novel’s protagonists, Tomas. He had wanted some sort of a distraction that would keep Tereza’s attention off him so that he could persist with his life that he believed he had control over:
At last he made his choice: a bitch whose body seemed reminiscent of the German shepherd and whose head belonged to its Saint Bernard mother. He took it home to Tereza, who picked it up and pressed it to her breast.¹
Through the novel, Karenin, the ‘ugly dog’ Tomas brings home for Tereza, develops a bond between Tereza, which grows throughout the novel. Tereza is portrayed as a ‘heavy’ individual with considerably heavy burdens on both her shoulders. One other burden Tereza carries is, essentially, Karenin. It takes the place of Tomas when Tereza is alone, therefore – Tereza is bound, with love, to it. Kundera shows here, how Karenin affects Tereza’s personality by being next to her and being a comfort to her at times when heaviness settles in.
     Furthermore, with no baby between Tereza and Tomas’ marriage, Karenin acts as Tereza’s responsibility, both emotionally and financially. It seems that Tereza can make decisions only...

... middle of paper ...

...tion by executing government opposition – an example how humanity acted in ‘other’ moral situations.
The last chapter, ’Karenin’s Smile’, is counting up to Karenin’s death, while ‘between the lines’, Tereza and Tomas dies. Their death is outweighed by their dog’s death and its funeral. This shows how humanity seems to be condemned by their moral actions towards animals, the ‘test’ mentioned above.
     The way that the role of animals can be used as a literary effect is evident in both Kundera and Szymborska’s works. The two contrast eachother, Kundera suggests that the role of animals in his novel is that they become their owner’s peaceful character builder by having characters of their own. In Szymborska’s works, we see quite the opposite; she portrays the role of animals as people’s irritation, a vexation – where characters are rather barbaric and careless towards the animals. The two works show the same superiority of human over animals, yet the human attitudes towards them entirely dissimilar. We may perceive that the presence of animals, such delicate literary technique, determines the attitudes and personality of the characters of a literary work.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Poems of Richard Wilbur Essay

- The Poems of Richard Wilbur Richard Wilbur's New and Collected Poems is full of poems that cover a huge multitude of subjects. The four poems this assignment covers represent that variety, with the topics including love, juggling, grace and music. Wilbur's poems take experiences and ideas (even a juggler) and through his mastery of the English language force the reader to take another look at what his preconceptions are. His poems allow for many different interpretations, and this paper will take a different angle to some of his works....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Free Essays
1231 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being In an interview he gave after the reprinting of one of his later novels, Milan Kundera said, most eloquently, that ?the stupidity of the world comes from having an answer for everything. the wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything. (qtd. in O'Brien 4). This statement is one most indicative of the unique authorial style found in all of Kundera?s works, particularly his most famous novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Unlike previous traditional, non-autobiographical novels, Kundera chooses to indirectly reveal himself as the narrator, who, while omniscient in the control of his characters, poses questions of deep...   [tags: Kundrea Unbearable Lightness Essays]

Strong Essays
2286 words (6.5 pages)

Essay about The Role of Humanism in the Poems of E.E. Cummings

- It can be said that poetry is very much like its poet, seeing as they both contain two different sides: one that is seen while taking your very first glance and another that can only be unearthed and understood through the study of its underlying influences. So it is not unusual that in order to gain a complete and comprehensive outlook on a poem, one must first study nonfiction sources to see the motivation and purpose behind each chosen word. E.E. Cumming’s works, a notable World War I era poet of the modernist movement, were heavily affected by the hatred and atrocities of warfare, which is seen in the way that his resentment towards humanity grows within this period, and thusly reflects...   [tags: Poetry, Poets, Poems]

Strong Essays
2195 words (6.3 pages)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being - It is Better to Carry a Heavy Load Essay

- The Unbearable Lightness of Being - It is Better to Carry a Heavy Load "Is it better to carry a heavy load on your shoulders, or cope with the unbearable lightness of being?" Phillip Kaufman coupled brilliant film techniques with wonderful acting to put together the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being based off of Milan Kundera's novel of the same title. The film is set in Prague during the spring of 1968. At this time the Russians are still trying to exercise their communist control over Czechoslovakia, and Prague is a city filled with political uprisings and violent outbursts from the Czech people....   [tags: Unbearable Lightness of Being Essays]

Strong Essays
2139 words (6.1 pages)

Commentary on The Unbearable Lightness of Being Essay

- This commentary will explore the use of vocabulary, punctuation and imagery by Milan Kundera in an extract of the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being . The passage to be analysed is located in the fourth part of the book named “Soul and Body”. It portrays a scene where one of the main characters, Tereza, is in front of a mirror and finds herself dealing with the conflict between identity and image. Her disconformities with her body act as a trigger for this questioning to arise and bring back memories from her childhood....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Strong Essays
1440 words (4.1 pages)

Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being Essay

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being The themes of dominance and dehumanization are inextricably entwined throughout history and, therefore, literature. Milan Kundera addresses this concept in his novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by describing the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia and its communistic influence on his characters, the interrelations of these characters, as well as its implications in a small excerpt on man's presumed dominance over other creatures. This last passage ties together the mechanization of people with that of animals, showing that the citizens of communist Czechoslovakia are expected to become no more than chattel....   [tags: Milan Kundera Unbearable Lightness Being Essays]

Strong Essays
1695 words (4.8 pages)

The Darkness and Lightness of Choices Essay

- The Darkness and Lightness of Choices James Joyce has used his writing of Dubliners to clearly represent the aspects of the real life happenings in Ireland. In his writings, he uses many techniques that allow his audience to find constant themes. In stories such as “A Little Cloud” and “The Dead” these themes allow the audience to grasp Joyce’s reasoning and hard message to the Irish people. In Joyce’s Dubliners the light and darkness of the story reflects choices made by the characters....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Free Essays
1060 words (3 pages)

Essay Unbearable Lightness of being

- A touching and sad novel, at once a compelling love story, philosophical text, and dialogue with Frederich Nietzsche -- The Unbearable Lightness of Being is all of these and more, perhaps most importantly a manifesto of embracing nihilism. Milan Kundera opens the novel with a discourse on Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal recurrence. He rejects any view of the recurrence as being real or metaphysical. It is metaphorical he assures us. In a world of objective meaninglessness one must fall into nihilism unless one acts as if one's acts recur eternally, thus giving our acts "weight," the weight of those choices we make, as though recurring eternally, living forever....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
1047 words (3 pages)

Love Poems Essay

- Love Poems Have the love poems, you have read given you a better insight into the emotion of love. The subject of ‘Love Poetry’ has given rise to some of the most beautiful and fascinating poetry. The poets illustrate their feelings, or the feelings of the people concerned with them through the use of figurative language. A love poem is not necessarily a poem about romantic love, about romance, marriage and commitment; it could be something else entirely. It seems to be Universal. Timeless. Yet, it's also very individual, filtered by our own lives and expectations....   [tags: Poems Poetry Love Emotions Essays]

Strong Essays
2893 words (8.3 pages)

Essay on Poems

- Poems Change Certain things vary everyday, tides lap various portions of sandy gold and land is illuminated and darkened with clock like accuracy. Like cammilions, hills and land periodically display their transient colors with no regard to its inhabitants needs, preferences or even life. Everyday change, insignificant, expected and unshoking when it occurs, no emotional distress or even flickers of eye lids. Those firecrackers of life, however, sting with flaming relentless pain as if being attached by legions of jelly fish intent on wreaking havoc....   [tags: Poems]

Free Essays
456 words (1.3 pages)