International Journal of English Research

International Journal of English Research


International Journal of English Research
International Journal of English Research
Vol. 5, Issue 2 (2019)

Nausea: Liberation or Captivity


Mohammad Saif

The conundrum of existence and essence still remains an unexplored and answered idea despite the engagements of different philosophers, writers and critics with the subject. The philosophy of existentialism rests on the idea that existence is prior to essence, i.e. things exists first and then meaning is attached to them. Sartre, in his novel Nausea, stresses on the same idea. In the novel, Roquentin feels that something or the other around him is constantly changing. This leads to his disturbed state of mind because of which he feels nauseated. Despite his nauseated state of mind, he is unable to turn his eyes from this change. The title is deeply symbolic as nausea comes with the realisation of meaninglessness of one’s existence. It transpires that nausea is the first step towards the journey of essence, something which keeps an individual going. It seems that Sartre is implying that nausea is the very inception of creation of essence or meaning; therefore, rather than evading, one must face it as the journey from existence to essence is not as smooth as it appears to be. Roquentin, being the representative of modern man, abandons his project of reviving Maquis de Rollebon and decides to embark on the journey of essence.
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