Life Is Elsewhere is a reflective introspection into the life of a young poet and of his demanding mother. Kindera depicts the mother as a woman feeling unworthy of love who relishes the fantasy of being Jaromil’s ethereal mother in order to escape from her actual bodily deprivation and resolve her psychological tensions. On the other hand, Jaromil’s portrait as a young poet involves his consonant, in Lacan’s terms, imaginary and symbolic identifications which lead him to an unending alienation in the context of a socialist system. Reading the novel in the light of Bakhtin’s ideas on parody and its polyphonic nature illuminates Kundera’s parodic treatment of motherhood, poetic, political and historical discourses, and especially his use of parody as a political means to oppose the domineering voice of totalitarianism. However, by giving parody an ontological status, Kundera considers it as the inevitable destiny of a human being who has forgotten his authentic “being” and ignored all his existential possibilities opened up to realization. Applying this notion to Kundera’s relation to his characters, Jaromil and the middle-aged man, implies that these two characters are, in fact, the parody of the two stages of Kundera’s own life and that of his generation’s.
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 55)
J. Momeni "Parody of a Life which is Elsewhere", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 55, pp. 35-43, 2015