Study Guide

Nausea Chapter 11

By Jean-Paul Sartre

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Chapter 11

Saturday noon

  • Antoine goes to the library reading room and sees the STM smiling at a young student. The student notices the staring and sticks his tongue out at the STM, making the dude look with embarrassment back down at his book.
  • Coming into the library, Antoine realizes that there are two ways to go about life: live or tell. You can either live out amazing stories in your life, or tell stories you've heard about others. The STM is an example of someone who tells stories, since he only lives life through books.
  • Antoine remembers some more stories from his days of travelling. Romantic relationships and the like. But he still doesn't think he's had proper adventures.
  • Antoine finally comes to the depressing conclusion that "Nothing happens while you live. The scenery changes, people come in and go out, that's all" (11.5).
  • He also says that life only seems to be meaningful when we tell stories that have a beginning, middle, and end. But it's impossible to tell a "true" story, since the meaning we give to stories isn't there in your day-to-day life, which is meaningless.
  • In reality, life is just one day after another. They're all the same and all empty.

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