Nausea By Jean-Paul Sartre

Nausea is one of the most famous philosophical novels and, at the same time, one of the most prominent works presented by Jean-Paul Sartre. This work is a real masterpiece that has impressed the world with its unusual thinking style, innovative intellectual ideas, remarkable independence of thinking, and, finally, sophisticated literary style. Despite the novel by Jean-Paul Sartre is primarily focused on traditional philosophic themes, especially inexplicability and absurdity of a human life caused by a sense of endless freedom, this novel is a reaction of people to numerous universal problems. The current paper aims to shed light on the meaning and symbolism of the title of the novel Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre.


Nausea is considered to be not only a brilliant example of early existentialism, but also an introduction to the unlimited amount of philosophical themes. Nowadays, Nausea is included to the list of the most significant “philosophical fictions” of the twentieth century that should be perceived as a “mature” existentialist philosophy. Regardless of the fact that the title of this philosophical work is the subject of continuous disagreements among critics, the title of the novel symbolizes the essence and meaning of a human life as well as purposeless existence of human beings. Because existence usually precedes essence, the main hero of this novel suffers from continuous depression and nausea as he realizes that life is worth nothing. In other words, according to the plot of this canonical work of existentialism, the title of the book that expresses the overpowering feeling of nausea is directly linked to philosophical as well as psychological struggles of humans to unveil the truth behind the most important themes that pertain to the philosophy of existentialism. Nausea encompasses the notion of absurdity, powerlessness, and discomfort caused by the feeling of freedom. In other words, the title of the paper “nausea” may be changed for the name “absurd” because this feeling shapes behavior of humans and discourages people from adequately assessing the nature and significance of human existence. The title of this philosophical novel is considered to be the center of philosophical discussions because insistent experience of nausea is associated with an absurd awareness of the human existence. The author uses this simple name with the primary purpose to emphasize absurd awareness of a human existence and undefinable meaning of people’s lives. Nausea may be viewed to some extent as an access to a human existence that ensures a chance to every human being to explore the essence and meaning of human lives. Because existence is meaningless and unnecessary, the title “nausea” is used in order to explain and evaluate the reasons that promote unhappiness, depression, and many other challenges caused by limitless freedom. Despite the fact that Antoine Roquentin, a successful French writer, makes attempts in order to overcome numerous moral challenges that make him suffer, combat pervasive feeling of nausea, and annihilate his misery and agony, Roquentin successfully manages to understand and adequately assess the mission of his existence.

In other words, although the term “nausea” is closely associated with the physical sensation of human beings to feel unease and discomfort in the area of the upper stomach, the title of the novel has nothing in common with an involuntary urge of a person to vomit. On the contrary, because existence usually precedes essence, nausea is a unique and varying way to portray how the sense of limitless freedom and absurdity of human existence spoils human lives, infects people with the feeling of discomfort, and increases the willingness of people to struggle with the absurd reality of human existence. The title of this psychological novel portrays the confusion of human life and insignificance of existence that damage the willingness to people to see the innate beauty of life. Moreover, the feeling of unbearable nausea results in numerous sicknesses and contributes to the feeling of self-nothingless. Despite the fact that Jean-Paul Sartre created his unique philosophical novel Nausea in order to explore and reassess traditional philosophies of the twentieth century, the philosophical novel Nausea is a unique literary work that is concentrated on the interdependence of organic matter and numerous existential revelations.

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Critics who explore symbolism of the title of the novel Nausea come to conclusions that indetermination and unlimited freedom are critical factors that contribute to the feeling of nausea. Since the individual portrayed in the Sartrean novel suffers from social isolation, depression, lack of social support, and loneliness, nausea should be viewed as a result of indetermination and failure of people to understand the essence of life. Because the essence and nature of a human life is limited to empty existence that focuses mainly on impulses and instincts, there is nothing more in existence of every human being than existence. Since according to the plot of the novel, the main hero discovers that the spheres of existence and life partake with being, nausea is definitely the best term that describes the feeling of the individual who managed to unveil the truth about irrational foundation of life. The title “nausea” should be defined and described in a negative context because it designates the absence of a transcendent rationality.

The challenges that are uncovered by the main hero of the novel reveal the truth that life is not a fascinating journey that focuses on the discovery of unfamiliar events and objects, but a great and annoying sickness and disgust that involves nothing except a continuous repetition of events. The author of the novel uses the term “nausea” with the primary intention to prove that people usually feel nauseated while realizing that human life or existence is nothing more than allusion and lie that is filled with uncertainties, insecurities, and personal limitations. The idea of the title “nausea” is successful because it manifests the feeling of disgust and the thought of absurd and meaningless aspects of human existence.

Thus, after having identified, described, and assessed the meaning of the title “Nausea”, it is possible to infer that Jean-Paul Sartre uses the word “nausea” in order to emphasize the irrationality, lack of meaning, and, finally, absurdity of human existence. Because life is nothing but existence that deprives people of the opportunity to feel, be happy, and take pleasure in their lives, nausea describes the uselessness of existence that results of annihilation and destruction of individuation.

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