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Dream Example : Tereza's dream from [Unbearable Lightness of Being] by Milan Kundera

I was at a large indoor swimming pool. There were about twenty of us. All women. We were naked and hat to march around the pool. There was a basket hanging from the veiling and a man standing in the basket. The man wore a broad-brimmed hat shading his face, but I could see it was you. You kept giving us orders. Shouting at us. We had to sing as we marched, sing and do knee bends. If one of us did a bad knee bend, you would shoot her with a pistol and she would fall dead into the pool. Which made everybody laugh and sing even louder. You never took your eyes off us, and the minute we did something wrong, you would shoot. The pool was full of corpses floating just below the surface. And I knew I lacked the strength to do the next knee bend and you were going to shoot me!

In a third cycle she was dead.

By in a hearse as big as a furniture van, she was surrounded by dead women. There were so many of them that the back door would not close and several legs dangled out.

But I’m not dead! Tereza cried. I can still feel!

So can we, the corpses laughed.

They laughed the same laugh as the live women who used to tell her cheerfully it was perfectly normal that one day she would have bad teeth, faulty ovaries, and wrinkles, because they all had bad teeth, faulty ovaries, and wrinkles. Laughing the same laugh, they told her that she was dead and it was perfectly all right!

Suddenly she left a need to urinate. You seem she cried. I need to pee. That’s proof positive I’m not dead!

But they only laughed again. Needing to pee is perfectly normal! They said. You’ll go on feeling that kind of thing for a long time yet. Like a person who has an arm cut off and keeps feeling it’s there. We may not have a drop of pee left in us, but we keep needing to pee.

from [Unbearable Lightness of Being] 1984

novel by Milan Kundera


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