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The Joke, Written By Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera wrote The Joke, and since then, the piece has presented a positive impact on the lives of individuals in different parts of the world. The date of publication is October 24, 1982. Most individuals in the field of literature feel that the book has what it takes to have a positive impact on the lives of most individuals in contemporary society. The setting of the book is in Communist Czechoslovakia.

The relationship is on one of the University students with the girlfriend, and the impact is quite commendable. The focus is on optimism, which most people lack in the contemporary society. The existence of a healthy environment is indeed crucial to having a positive impact on the lives of individuals in different spaces. As a consequence, the author found it imperative to divide the book into seven different parts. The ability to narrate every piece in the first person also makes it possible to communicate meaning in the best way possible. In the last part, which denotes the 7th part, three different characters narrate the ideologies, and that also proves useful since it promotes diversity.

The setting for parts 1 and 2 is indeed brief, and the environment was in 1965. The protagonists in the chapters are Ludvik Jahn and Helena. The duo has great plans to execute in Ludvik’s hometown. The existence of a rendezvous acts as the outcome of a comprehensive plot in which Ludvik has some ideas. One of the plans that stands out is the possibility of executing revenge, an instance that could not go well with other characters as well. The enemy, Pavel Zemanek, tried to seduce Helena (Kundera, 2007). That instance posits the level of jealousy that exists even in contemporary society. People are not willing to share the love of their lives. Additionally, certain friends are not to be trusted. It is evident that close friends can also initiate actions that might hurt not only physically but also emotionally. Part 3 also offers some interesting insights in which the motives for seeking revenge are explained in the broader context. It is possible to understand all that transpired throughout the text. The implementation of such reasons is vital to understanding the cause and action prospects in the literature. The encounter after February 1948 indicates a higher degree of politics in the school setup, and it is the primary motive behind the existence of a Communist revolution. Again, it was possible to create a more significant connection by recounting the story regarding the notorious postcard. All that transpired merely explains the environment that promoted conflict and tries to offer the best solution to mitigate such challenges in the future.

Ludvik was one of the reputable student leaders but still went ahead and sent a joking message to Marketa, who was the native girlfriend. The separation took place during the summer of 1949. At that time, the ex-girlfriend was at an ideological training session. Through the joke, Ludvik tried to mock what Marketa was learning (Lodge, 1984). Ideally, a joke can mean something serious to others, and he never understood the extent to which the joke took her life. That is the main reason why it is imperative to have an understanding of a person’s personality before initiating any joke. The Communists intercept the message, and Zemanek was at the forefront of such interception. The instance culminated in Ludvik’s ouster from the party and the university. The wrath of the party is something that has not yet been stated. What followed shortly was the drafting of Ludvik into the military, which resulted in the assignment into one group, which was the features of black insignia.

Later, Ludvik managed to execute the national service at Ostrava. During the day, it was mandatory to work in the coal mines. Later, there was a need for indoctrination as well as punitive tasks before having bed rest (Lodge, 1984). There was a need for discipline so that a person could have freedom once a month. Movements were still restricted, and the prisoners had to move within a fenced camp. Going on the spree was done in the form of a group. However, Ludvik managed to make it on his own, and that is the space where she met Lucie Sebetka, who is such a shy personality. She was employed as a factory worker and could offer support to Ludvik on most occasions. The duo later fell in love. The extent was great, and Lucie started camping along the fence with flowers to show love to him. During that period, it is evident that the duo lacked emotional support, and that affected their lives in some ways.

The emotional support that they got after a while was all that they needed. In most instances, such an attachment can easily result in a romantic, sexual affair. To her surprise, Lucie declined his sexual advances. That happened even after Ludvik had taken the tremendous risk of arranging for a rendezvous, which could still land him in trouble. Force was the only option that Ludvik found feasible at that time. However, Lucie resists the same with a lot of force, and she emerges victorious in the process (Lodge, 1984). When Ludvik screamed at her to get out, Lucie decided to get out of sight altogether. It is well known that you will only realize what you have lost once it is gone. That is the same case that applies to Ludvik and forces him to go AWOL to find Lucie. Things never worked her way since he was caught and faced a further ten-month jail term. After the completion of the military service, Ludvik decided to volunteer for three more years to become a better person and give back to society.

In conclusion, Jahn got some disappointing news after moving in with Helena. The latter made all the attempts possible to commit suicide. Ideally, the duo realized that their entire life was such a joke, and they never got the best out of their actions. Such an instance articulates the need for a clear goal in every case and makes sure that individuals learn to relate in every space. Ludvik managed to become successful later as a scientist. The act of revenge made it clear for him to understand that he never understood any woman in his entire life and was the butt in creating the cruel joke, which served as an outstanding one in history. Several narrators offer fresh descriptions as well as masterful employment based on the specific literature. Kundera’s power as a novelist will not easily go down in history due to the ability to create correlations with key aspects happening in contemporary society. It is possible to enrich the field of literature using ideologies from the book, and that comes in handy, according to most researchers.


Kundera, M. (2007). The curtain: an essay in seven parts. Harper Collins.

Lodge, D. (1984). Milan Kundera, and the idea of the author in modern criticism. Critical Quarterly26(1‐2), 105-121.



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