Ignoring 19th-century notions that character development in novels should obey and reveal psychological law, Nausea treats such notions as protective bad faith. This novel ignores the contingency and inexplicability of life.
More Notes: Nausea
From the psychological point of view, Antoine Roquentin could be seen as an individual suffering from depression and the Nausea itself as one of the symptoms of his condition. He is Unemployed, lonely, living in deprived conditions, lacking human contact, and being trapped in fantasies like the 18th-century secret agent. He is writing a book about a historical figure.
Roquentin is not simply under depression or mental illness, his experience has pushed him to that point. Sartre presents Roquentin’s difficulties as arising from man’s existential condition.
More Notes: Jean-Paul Sartre
Roquentin undergoes a strange metaphysical experience that is cut off from the world. His problems are not the result of his personal insanity rather he is a victim of larger ideological, social, and existential forces. Sartre’s point in Nausea is to comment on our universal reaction to this common external condition.
Roquentin has become familiar with our world like Hamlet. It is scarcely possible to read seriously in contemporary literature, philosophy, or psychology without encountering references to Roquentin’s confrontation with the chestnut tree. Nausea discovers the absurdity, of the disappointment of the world. Every being is meaningless. There is no God. But the experience of nausea ends, taking a positive turn. If God doesn’t exist, then everything becomes possible. And that’s how, with despair, true optimism starts.
More Notes: Suggestions