Katsumi's Reviews > Nausea

Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
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Apr 25, 2010

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bookshelves: philosophy

Even though I'm intrigued by existentialism, I am still struggling to understand what Sartre is trying to tell us in Nausea. The main character, (he finds other humans boring, petty, phony....), makes a choice to stand away from the rest of humanity. He is a critical observer, the constant cynic. So much easier to stand at a distance and criticize to feel the Nausea that is humanity. The nausea is only one side of the coin, because not all in life is despicable, crass and disgusting, He has chosen to focus on those parts of humanity that are. In doing so he imagines that he has found a sort of freedom and that he has risen above the fray, the ramble of humanity. The reality is that he has focused so much on the bad, the nausea, that he has built a new prison, an incomplete humanity composed of only the bad and none of the good. He comprehends only half of what we are. There is none of the joy, the spontaneity, the passion, only the ache of the nausea.

Although the subject of this novel is eternal, deep and real, I was unsatisfied with the book as a literary work. At some point, you just want to tell Roquentin: "You see, doing nothing all day, other than exploring yourself and thinking about how hollow life is, will not give much meaning to your life. So stop gazing at your navel and do something. Maybe then you'll feel life is not necessarily that horrible".

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