October 11, 2007 Essay 4 Final

October 11, 2007 Essay 4 Final - Andrew Bernstein COM L...

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Andrew Bernstein COM L 108.01 Socialism October 11, 2007 Essay 4 Draft Milan Kundera: The “Book” of Laughter and Forgetting and its Purpose Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting consists of seven separate parts all telling an individual story. The different chapters of Kundera’s novel each relate to the others by sharing a common theme among the characters. The theme that is most recurrent is that of forgetfulness, or the desire to forget an aspect of one’s self and one’s past. More often than not, the character has a desire to forget an aspect of their sexual history, be it their spouse or a lover of the past. The unique structure that Kundera has chosen for his novel is significant because it helps illustrate both the individuality of his different chapters and their underlying similarities in the theme of forgetting. Kundera’s characters from “Lost Letters,” “Mama,” and the second “Lost Letters” all hope to forget a spouse/lover during the course of their lives. Mirek desperately desires to erase the ugly Zdena’s memory from his past because he was ashamed of not being able to “approach any attractive women” (Kundera 18). A lover from his past who is hideous, Zdena is a plague on Mirek and the memory of their times together haunts him: “For he was aware of the great secret of life: Women don’t look for handsome men. Women look for men who have had beautiful women. Having an ugly mistress is therefore a fatal mistake. Mirek tried
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hard to sweep away all traces of Zdena, and since the nightingale-lovers hated him more with
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