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Insight Into Milan Kundera's Narrative

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Insight into Milan Kundera's narrative

This essay is specifically based on the narrative technique used by Milan Kundera in his book The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It is mostly focused in a personal critic supported with comments and critics made by important and distinguished authors. To sum up, it is an essay which main point is directed to the description of Milan Kundera's narration as well as a personal opinion supported by critics of experts.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a work of fiction, that it is also combined with facts of history. Works of fiction can be told from the point of view of one of the characters, that means first person narration or it can be told by the author as narrator, that would mean third person narration. Most of the time, when the author is telling the story, he tries not to be perceived or to be noticed as less as possible. There is an exception to this rule called "the intrusive narrator". This narrator addresses the reader and talks about issues concerning the narration. He tries to make his presence visible. (O'Brien 1).

Milan Kundera uses in his narrative technique the intrusive narrator. He interrupts the reading with his authoritarian voice that most of the time fell into disfavour for the reader because it distracts the mind and reduces the emotional intensity of the experience of reading by interrupting and calling attention to the act of narrating.

Mostly, this type of technique employed by Kundera leads to a different perception of the narrator. He gains power by interrupting the narration with his opinions, controlling the presence of the characters, his authoritarian voice and so on. The author has influence in the reading experience. The reader can drastically change his experience by getting to know the author and feeling his unwanted presence in the novel.

Furthermore, Kundera's work in the narrative is constantly analyzed and questioned from a philosophical point of view (Corbett 1). However, it would be wrong to regard Kundera as a philosopher. He enjoys playing with his storylines and while analysing them rationally, he opens up an infinite way of interpreting the presented facts. Here is an example of how he plays with the storylines in the last pages of the book : " And therein lies the whole of man's plight. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition".

In addition, Kundera applies a fiction that confuses the mind of the reader because in order to answer questions, he asks questions. As Peter Kussi wrote in his article "Milan Kundera: Dialogues with Fiction" : "Kundera interrogates his characters, poses questions to his various narrator personalities, engages his readers and puzzles them into questioning themselves". (1) John O'Brien also stated that his constant asking of question instead of answering them, combined with the lack of temporal coherence is what gets the reader lost in the reading. (4)

I do have to accept that Milan Kundera has a great talent in combining facts with fiction, history with fiction. He combines them so good that is hard to distinguish them between fact and fiction. He has being admired for these combinations by some authors though they say Kundera's work have "political disillusionment" (Contemporary Literary Criticism-Select 1). Furthermore, he has also being criticized because of his discontinuity with the past (Kussi 3).

Although, intrusive narrator is one of the techniques that has made a comeback in the modern writing, specially in post-modern texts where the author supposedly leaves space to the reader to think about the story being told, and how is constructed or what meaning it may have; I did not felt identified with the narration and the author. I felt very intimidated with



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