Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

John Farrell


This exploration was borne from the author’s insistence that he “does not write autobiographies” and is not anti-communist but rather “anti-totalitarian” in all respects. Using this notion as a basis, this thesis explores the characters and selected literary tools in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being within the context of Kundera’s autobiography as a reference point as well as the extent to which several of these elements could be considered anti-totalitarian. We find that the three character Franz, Sabina and Tomas are all based on some kind of autobiographical reference, while the remaining protagonist Tereza must serve a purely literary purpose. In her characterization we discover that she is used by Kundera to implicitly capture a chilling perspective of the communist regime in 1970’s Czechoslovakia. The thesis also briefly discusses the relevance of the novel’s musical elements in terms of both Kundera’s autobiography and anti-communist qualities.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.