Study Guide

Nausea Chapter 31

By Jean-Paul Sartre

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Chapter 31

Tuesday, in Bouville

  • Antoine realizes that he is completely free, which means that there is absolutely no more reason for living.
  • This might sound like a contradiction. But what it means is that there are no larger forces affecting what he does. The universe is totally indifferent to what he does, which means he's totally free. But total freedom actually makes life pretty meaningless, since there's nothing larger than himself to make the world have meaning.
  • He also realizes that all of his previous reasons for living are gone, Anny, his book, his past travels. There's nothing left for him to do or experience.
  • He suddenly has a crazy, trippy vision about what would happen if nature suddenly ran amuck and took over the everyday world that people are familiar with. What if eyes grew out of people's chins? What if trees started bleeding red blood when they were cut? What if a person's mouth was suddenly replaced by a centipede?
  • What if for one hour of one day, everyone in the world saw the universe for what it truly is: meaningless and naked? Antoine thinks that for that one hour, there would be hundreds of suicides.
  • And with that in mind, Antoine continues on one of his walks.
  • Sheesh. This guy either knows something we don't or he's going crazy. Or maybe both…

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