The Hitchhiking Game

by Milan Kundera

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How does Kundera's The Hitchhiking Game reveal the power of the game on the two characters of the story?  

Kundera's The Hitchhhiking Game reveals the power of the game on the young lady in allowing her to let go of her shyness and inhibitions. It reveals its power on the man in a negative light, making him angry and making assumptions about his partner's new persona based on his past experiences.

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The power of the game that the girl and the man in this story play proves to have a vastly different, but equally profound effect on both of them.

For the young girl, the act of pretending to be a prostitute that her boyfriend has picked up at a gas station enables her to leave her inhibitions behind and forget that she is, by nature, a shy girl lacking self confidence who gets embarrassed by the littlest things. In this role, she feels sexy, powerful, and formidable.

For her slightly older partner, however, the role play proves to be a real turn-off. Having formerly been something of a casanova, interacting with women he perceives to lack purity, what he loves most about his girlfriend is her shy, introverted nature. It makes him confident that she is his and his only, and when she throws caution to the wind and immerses herself in the game they are playing, he becomes angry and mean.

His meanness extends to him heading to Nove Zamky, rather than the original holiday destination they had in mind. Once they get to the hotel, her lover proceeds to humiliate her in her new role by getting her to act out the role of prostitute and adopt a series of obscene poses.

In a nutshell, the power of the game for the young lady is her ability to shed long-held inhibitions. For the man, it is a trigger of rage and painful reminder of his past.

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