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Written by Timothy Sexton
Roquentin is the protagonist and narrator through his diary entries that become a catalogue of the cause of his nausea: what was comforting and familiar before now seems strange and unsettling. There are descriptions of meetings with other character as well as insight into an almost unbearably heavy weight of unexplained dread at things that had not and by all reason should not suddenly produce such bouts of anxiety. Gradually, existential angst causes a loss of interest in his research and eventually give up on history in order to begin writing fiction as a means as a means of dealing with his new perception of reality.
Roquentin’s former lover whom he has not seen for five years, yet whom he still loves; sends Roquentin a letter asking him to meet her in Paris; has always tried to organize her life around theatrically contrived “perfect moments” and “privileged situations,” but when Roquentin meets her, she tells him that she has become disillusioned and, like him, has accepted the random amorphousness of lived experience; cuts her rendezvous with Roquentin short to keep an engagement with one of her many other lovers in Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea
Overly confident fellow customer alongside Roquentin at Camille’s bistro. From an existential perspective, the confidence is overestimated because it stems from placing too great a trust an emphasis of the power of experience to define one’s essence.
Marquis de Rollebon
The subject of Roquentin’s historical research was a favorite at the court of Marie Antoinette and is suspected of having a role in the notorious incident involving her necklace. Roquentin discovers that his roguish behavior may put his finger into a number of shady enterprises ranging from smuggling to assassination conspiracies. At the same time, he is also very much a figure of great romantic character and fascination, thus becoming to Roquentin a metaphor for the chaotic random quality of everybody at all times as proof that the essence of existence is not predetermined for those with the will to pursue the meaning of their life.
The Self-Taught Man
Only in a footnote is actual name of the Self-Taught Man revealed. For Roquentin, the name doesn’t matter as Ogier is the simply man in the library making the most of his free time by reading every book in the library in alphabetical order. This task which started seven years earlier is expected to take another six years to complete. It is an ambition destined to remain unfulfilled, however, because in addition to being a Self-Taught communist and humanist, the man in the library is also pedophile and gets banned form the building for life after he is seen engaging in inappropriate behavior with a young boy.
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