Free «Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre» Essay
Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre is a book based on early theories of existentialism and Sartre writes the fictitious tale of the main character, Antoine Roquentin, who suffers a great deal of confusion and cognitive dissonance owing to the events and incidents of his life that do not make sense to him and he fails to understand the reason for his being and the world around him. This is the tale of the disappointment the man faces in his life and as a consequence of the extreme disappointment ends up looking back at his life clueless and wanders like a traveler with no destination only to soon realize that his nausea is in fact his self creation and he can make a difference in his life. Nothing in this life and world is merely an essence but has a purely functional existence. He then brings a much needed change in his life and moves on (Sartre 190). What Sartre presents through the story of the depressed man is the idea of how a man might observe and reflect back on his life and tries to find reasons to justify his fate and how he only finds disappointment in finding a reason and ends with nausea. But then he also goes about to present that the solution to the problem exists very well within the source of the problem itself. The novel discuses two main aspects: The philosophy of existence and the absurdity of life that causes the nausea.
The author’s much emphasis throughout the book is upon the theory of existence, as he goes about discussing the subject of existentialism. On a very practical note, people all around us confront their life’s meaning when faced with a trauma. They question who they are and why they live. Then comes the quest to finding the truth about life and come about the philosophy of existence. The philosophical truth that comes in the way of the main character when he searches for the reason was that every thing around him existed purely and not just displayed their essence. As full of depth the revelation was to him, the more off struck he was to find how meaningless the life was (Sartre 180). Every thing existed for some reason and it does exist nonetheless. To find the meaning of the existence, let it be of people, of traumas, and of surrounding objects rests in the hands of the people who experience them. Surely, it is the most difficult task, and the same element that resounds the nausea in the mind of a person, who experiences the confusion caused by the dissonance.
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For the main character, the nausea takes on a reoccurring nature, which returns every time he is confronted with the demands and unusual happening in the environment or when he himself ends up in unexplainable situations where he can’t find his way out of. Forcing the demands and expectations which result in unexplainable consequences is what causes the nausea. Nausea is referred to as the confusion and dissonance that surrounds a man when he himself does things to imprint on others and finds himself being imprinted with other’s actions. We find the way about the nausea, as the main character struggles to find the answer to the troublesome condition he proclaims as the nausea.
Nausea brings forth the absurdity of life. In fact nausea causes the absurdity where a man is bound under confusion and restlessness to find peace. It is absurd to have to waste time and energy to find reasons for things and stay disappointed. Understanding existentialism is often beyond a man’s capacity and often the closest to truth is to know that everything exists for a reason and a man is himself able to reshape his life. This is exactly what the main character realizes and soon finds himself moving on with life and living it rather than observing it and trying to find solutions. He then attempts to discover life and understand it while living and not just by sitting around, regretting his past and trying to justify and understand his fate and life’s meaning. The meaning of his life he then discovers rests only in his hand as to how he shapes it. Sitting around and waiting for it to present a meaning is what the absurdity lays. The absurdity that is caused by the nausea and which can easily be removed if one forces his way out of grief and tries to live life knowing that whatever happens for a reason and that life and its many elements exists and though they may appear meaningless and absurd, the meaning of ones own life can be reclaimed.
Nausea is presented as a mental condition which almost any person can find himself in, in which he tries to find a reason and the meaning of the many elements of life. The search only leads to a meaningless lot where the nausea occurs and the absurdity of life is discovered. During the time where a man may proclaim his life as being meaningless, he may lose out on may things, like Roquentin lost Anny when she left him on the train station (Stratre 172), while he may have gotten her back if only nausea had not consumed most of his thoughts. Having nausea take over life is not the solution. The only solution as presented by the book is to discover life as it is and move on. Let the past live in the past and live in the present and discover what lies in the future, just as Roquention in the end attempted to do to find peace.