Introduction & Overview of The Hitchhiking Game

This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Hitchhiking Game.
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The Hitchhiking Game Summary & Study Guide Description

The Hitchhiking Game Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on The Hitchhiking Game by Milan Kundera.

"The Hitchhiking Game" was first published as part of a collection of Milan Kundera's stories entitled Laughable Loves. The story centers on a young couple on the first day of their vacation together. Driving along in the young man's sports car, they spontaneously engage in a "game" whereby the young woman takes on the pretend "role" of a seductive hitchhiker, and the young man takes on the role of the stranger who has picked her up along the side of the road. But the fantasy element of the "game" bleeds into the reality of the relationship, with dire emotional and psychological consequences for both parties.

"The Hitchhiking Game" picks up on a recurring theme in the work of Milan Kundera, which concerns the ways in which sexual relationships become power struggles between individuals in a political and social climate in which the individual has no power over a repressive socialist state. This story also concerns a common theme in Kundera's work whereby jokes, humor, and games have serious implications. As Philip Roth has characterized the story in his introduction to Laughable Loves: "simply by fooling around and indulging their curiosity, the lovers find they have managed to deepen responsibility as well as passion—as if children playing doctor out in the garage were to look up from one another's privates to discover they were administrating a national health program, or being summoned to perform surgery in the Mount Sinai operating room." The meaning and implica tions of the "game" for both the young man and the young woman are also based on the traditional virgin/whore dichotomy, whereby women are categorized according to their sexual behavior as either "good girls" or "bad girls."

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This section contains 285 words
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Short Stories for Students
The Hitchhiking Game from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.