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About what would be the best topic to reflect the social commentary element of...

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kaitliinn | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:19 PM via web

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About what would be the best topic to reflect the social commentary element of Kundera's work?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 8, 2012 at 1:09 AM (Answer #1)

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In my mind, I am not sure one can go past the initial construction of "lightness" and "weight" that Kundera offers at the outset of the book.  This can become one of the most profound elements of social commentary offered.  Essentially, the weight of eternal return "crushes" the individual.  Being is seen as a repetition of constant weight and pressure.  Yet, Kundera defines this as being representative of the intrinsic quality of being human.  The other option of lightness is seen as something that is not in the realm of humanity, and in the process of its attainment, what it means to be human is gone.  Perhaps, this becomes one of the basic elements of social commentary in the book.  In a positive domain, the question becomes how can human beings live in the world of weight, yet demonstrate some elements of transcendence would be one example of how social commentary is part of this theme.  In a more pessimistic light, the question is why individuals should strive to become something more when their weight is what defines them?  In each of these questions is where social commentary is intrinsic to the idea of weight and lightness and their direct impact on what it means to be human.

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