One of Antoine's many, many issues in Nausea is his messed up relationship to time. Basically, he believes that the world is constantly changing, and that everything is constantly disappearing into the past. Well, yes. True facts, Antoine.
But according to Antoine, stuff in the past technically doesn't exist anymore, so life to him feels like an endless process of dying. Whoa, Antoine. Whoa. The whole reason he starts writing his diary in the first place is to try and preserve some of his experiences against the acid-like effects of time. But unfortunately, it doesn't sound like his diary is all that successful in achieving this goal.
Questions About Time
- What are some of the reasons Antoine gives for writing his diary? How are they connected to his idea of time?
- Is time something you've ever taken the time to really sit down and think about, or something you just take as a given? Does Nausea make you think about it any differently? Why?
- Do you agree with Antoine's idea that stuff in the past no longer exists? Does existence only "exist" in the here and now, or do things in the past still live on somehow? Why?
Chew on This
In Nausea, Sartre shows us that there's a lot more to time than what clocks tell us. Time is actually something that constantly creates change and death, not something to set our schedules by.
Antoine's ideas about time just go to show how crazy he is. Any normal person would tell him to get out of his funk and live life to its fullest while he still has the chance.