The Joke is a satirical novel written by Milan Kundera first published in 1967. Novel original published in Czech language and then in 1969 it’s translated into English by Michael Henry Heim. The novel is a collection of jokes and moved around its characters. The story of main four characters Ludvik Jahn, Helena Zemánková, Kostka, and Jaroslav. Director Jaromil Jireš adapted this novel in his movie in 1968. But this film was banned immediately.
The novel is a life story of a man named ludyik Jahn until he is 37, the joke is written by Milan Kundera. The novel start from his adolescence and continues until he is 37 years old and covers roughly the various events happened in his life during this period. But in reality the novel is showing the effect of jahn’s actions on the life of other people who come in his contact.
The novel is starting while jahn is entering into Morava his hometown with a goal. Later we will came to know that his goals are heroic and admirable intentions. When he enters the town he sees a woman with whom he was in love in the past and with that he starts seeing a flash back into his mind how his adolescence was taken over by the events that happened.
When he was a teenager like everybody else Jahn had planned everything that he wanted to achieve in life and he was on a perfect road to achieve. He had a girlfriend named Market and he was full time member of socialist party. He was in university and he was detined to get a high position after his graduation. Jahn was smart and wise and different. And also in the past he was chastised by the party for thinking different and independent from the party.
His girlfriend goes on training away from him sponsored by the party. And she receives letters from her that she is enjoying the time there and the party doctrine also. And he replies her with a postcard and give a comment sarcastically about the part that seems against the party. Later, jahn was unable to receive a later or anykind of news from his girlfriend from there. And when the party sees the postcard they lifts all the benefits from jahn and ejects him from the party, and due to this he was kicked from the university and like this his life was ruined in a moment.
To re train jahn was sent under the command f a commander in a mine where he perfoms different exercise. The goal was to give him a very hard time in this training so tht his views about the party change and he accepts the doctrine of party. While on a break in the mine he meets a woman named lucie, he admits that he is love with the surroundings with the same intentions and so with her. she love lucie because of the situations in she presented him but not for herself.
During his time with Lucie, she brings him flowers and gave them to him through the fence which is barbed because she was unable to see him very often. He is not given free time from the camp and this fence time is the only time with her. He is hopefull because of her loyalty and love because she was with him in this difficult time. But he didn’t even tried to learn any personal hard story about her life. It seems like she was made for him. At last, he decided to meet her and consummate the relationship. But at the last moment, she fights him off and he was angered by that act. They decide to separate and never contact again after this.
After this, jahn was never committed to any situations and he once meets a woman and decides to seduce her only and avenge has past because the lady was the wife of the man who the lead role in kicking him out of the party. Later, he learns that the man wanted to divorce his woman and he has actualy helped him. But when the woman learns that she was used, she decided to commit suicide. At the end, he realize that his life was a joke and nothing else.
Milan Kundera is a Czech-born writer. Was born on 1 April 1929.
His famous books are:
- The Joke (1967)
- The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979)
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984)