Tereza's suitcase, into which she packs all her belongings before coming to Prague, represents her whole life and philosophy. Tomas understands this instantly when she arrives at his door; he knows she has come "to offer him up her life," and that her life is in that suitcase. The heaviness of the suitcase also represents Tereza herself, for as Tomas carries the heavy object into his house, he voluntarily accepts the burden their love will bring him, and the heaviness of Tereza's character.


Tereza falls instantly in love with Tomas because he has a book on his café table. Growing up with a vulgar mother and in a town where no one reads, Tereza sees the book as a symbol of a secret brotherhood by which she can recognize Tomas as hers. The secret brotherhood of the book remains their point of connection, as they name their dog, their only mutual possession and responsibility, after a character in the book Tereza was reading the first day.