Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

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No, Nausea is not a description of the feeling we get at tax season; it is Sartre’s indictment of life. To Existentialist philosopher Sartre, Nausea occurs when we come to grips with the fact that we do indeed exist, but it makes no difference (p. 122). Sartre’s summary of life is, “Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance” (p. 133). It is the goal of this novel to prove this thesis, therefore Sartre, through the fictional character Antoine Roquentin, systematically examines everything from religion to education to work to love and pronounces them all as meaningless. When Roquentin looks inside himself he finds nothing. From this comes his despair; everything is absurd. He is an accident; a product of chance and therefore nothing matters.

As you can tell this is not exactly an uplifting book, but it does offer insight into one godless approach to trying to understand life. Amazingly, Nausea was the winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in literature.

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