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Written by Julia Wolf
“I had found my religion: nothing seemed more important to me than a book. I saw the library as a temple.”
Love to books and to reading is traced throughout the entire story, Sartre’s feelings towards books are warm. Books and library has become a temple for him, as he says himself; this milieu is where he finds support and help. Books became his faith, and the library his temple.
“Madame Picard believed that a child should be allowed to read anything: 'A book never does any harm if it is well written.' While she was there, I had once asked permission to read Madame Bovary and my mother, in an oversweet voice, had said: 'But if my darling reads books like that at his age, what will he do when he grows up?' 'I shall live them!' This reply had met with the most complete and lasting success.”
In this situation, Sartre shows intelligence and reason earned not by years. Sartre has been considered a child prodigy and the very fact that at the age of seven he reads Madame Bovary proves this.
“At the age of twenty, without experience or advice, my mother was torn between two moribund creatures. Her marriage of convenience found its truth in sickness and mourning... Upon the death of my father, Anne-Marie and I awoke from a common nightmare. I got better. But we were both victims of a misunderstanding: she returned lovingly to the child she had never left; I regained consciousness in the lap of a stranger.”
This is how Sartre treats the beginning of his life; it was a misunderstanding. And all his life he has tried to find the reason of such a misunderstanding, as due to his considerations he believed that birth and death were the only points in the life of a person which are meant to be.
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