Cody's Reviews > The Age of Reason

The Age of Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre
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Jul 14, 2008

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I read Nausea by Sartre while in college and really go into Existentialism and novels based on Existential themes. After Nausea (which is great!) I had only read a few essays and some short stories by Sartre. Now, a few years later, I wanted to get back into Sartre and I thought I would start by reading his Freedom trilogy. I began with The Age of reason, a story about a man dealing with the inevitability of becoming middle-aged and possibly becoming a father. The catch is...he is neither ready to grow up nor become a father.

The theme of Freedom is completely inherent throughout the novel as the Mathieu realizes that growing older and being a father forces you to have responsibility and basically lays the rest of your life out for you. Mathieu is not ready for commitment of any kind and you read as his life spirals somewhat out of control as he deals with all of these altering issues.

Another theme of freedom runs through the veins of the novel, but instead of it being someone’s immediate life, it is subtlety presented as political freedom. Not only is the story happening on the eve of WWII, but Mathieu is also being tugged back and forth between several political parties.

This novel is rich, deep and full of little motifs that add up to the large personal struggle of one man and the rest of his life. Maybe not the best book for summer (I read it in the winter) but one that will make you fully think about the long term effect each choice you make will impact the rest of your life.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Cassie Lahmann Why not a good book for summer?

Cody Ha! Because existential fiction should only be experienced when the world outside matches the tone of the book

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