by Janne Teller
Nothing Theme of Dissatisfaction
Human beings don't come much more dissatisfied than Pierre Anthon. Say what you will about gloom and doom news in America, but don't even try to compete with the Danes. Pierre Anthon's primary source of dissatisfaction is the fact that people pretend things matter when they don't, which makes their striving all the more ridiculous to him. After all, we're only one step away from monkeys, and the world is overpopulated. Why study? Why try? Why do anything at all other than sit in a tree and eat plums? These are the questions that cause Pierre Anthon, the star of Nothing, to chuck it all and become a 7th grade dropout.
Questions About Dissatisfaction
- Why does Pierre Anthon choose to retreat to a tree, instead of, say, bed? Why does he pick a place where he can still interact with the world?
- Why does Agnes choose to keep pretending something matters, even though she secretly agrees with Pierre Anthon that it doesn't? Have you ever done something similar in your life?
- Do you think the adults are really oblivious to the children's dissatisfaction, or do you think they're pretending not to notice just like they're pretending their own lives have meaning?
- Do you agree with Pierre Anthon that nothing matters? If you disagree, in what do you find meaning?
Chew on This
Pierre Anthon proves that human relationships are meaningful by choosing to continue interacting with his classmates. Way to go buddy, you just disproved your own point.
Real talk: Pierre Anthon is the only authentic character in the book, existentially speaking.