Study Guide

Nausea Chapter 10

By Jean-Paul Sartre

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Chapter 10

Friday, 3.00pm

  • Bored, Antoine looks out of his apartment window and yawns so hard that tears come to his eyes. Yup, that's what you call symbolism. Boredom = sadness.
  • Looking out the window, he remembers a time in his life when he was capable of feeling joy. Those were the days when he travelled a lot and felt like the world was always filled with new and exciting things to do.
  • As he looks to the past, though, he finds his memories disappearing. All that's left are words, and he talks about the past as if he's never been there.
  • He looks over some of his old photos and finds one of his ex-lover Anny.
  • There is a knock at the apartment door, and Antoine realizes that he has invited the Self-Taught Man over to show him photographs from all his travels. He thinks for the moment that the STM should just go away.
  • Nonetheless, he offers the dude a seat and sits with him to look at the photos.
  • The STM claims that if he ever went travelling, he'd take notes of who he was before and after the trip to see how he'd changed. The STM has gotten all of his education from books, while Antoine has gotten his from travelling.
  • As he looks through the photos, he thinks about how different people's customs are depending on different countries and continents. He asks Antoine if customs are second nature. He also goes crazy whenever he sees a photo from a place he's read a book about.
  • During their conversation, Antoine reveals that he knows about the STM's efforts to read through the entire town library. The man looks ashamed again and lowers his eyes.
  • After a sad moment, the STM claims that he will take a cruise once he's finished his reading through the library. He says that he would like to have some adventures in life, rather than spending all of it in a library.
  • He asks Antoine if he has had any adventures in his life. Antoine replies that he's had a few.
  • Eventually, Antoine manages to shoo the STM out of his apartment.
  • When the man is gone, Antoine reminisces about one of his trips in which a person from Morocco jumped on him and tried to stab him. But Antoine punched him in the temple and laid him flat.
  • Looking back on what the STM asked him, Antoine realizes that he has never had adventures: it's just that a bunch of stuff that's happened to him.
  • As time passes, Antoine realizes that his life will only make sense once he's dead. Every moment that passes is bringing him toward death, and he can't stop thinking about it.
  • He thinks about spending a night with a woman and realizing that he'll never again experience that exact same thing in the exact same way. Everything is always slipping away.
  • He wishes he could do it all over again the exact same way, but knows he can't. He ends the diary entry wondering why life is so good at making people yearn for things they can't have.

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