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Written by Julia Wolf
Sincerity against pretence
The narrator provides us with vivid descriptions of his life in the house of his grandfather. It is not that he was miserable there, or his childhood was filled with sufferings. On the contrary, he was much loved, cherished, and even worshiped in the family. Everyone treated him very well. But the relationships between the others were what made young Sartre think over such things as sincerity and pretense. Everyone around him treated one another in different way. His uncle was always quarreling with his father, Jean-Paul’s grandfather, but to young Jean-Paul he was much bound and even made him expensive gifts, like a printing machine, but Sartre unfortunately never used it. instances like this made Sartre think and only years later he will be able to put his feelings and emotions into the words. It was his childhood and his observations that made the strongest basic for forming his ideas.
Estrangement is probably the most developed theme of the book, it is the centre of Sartre’s essence. Being not a very handsome boy (Sartre was squint-eyed and had a walleye on his right eye) Jean-Paul was not desired in the company of other children. They often felt that he was different, and this difference appeared for them in his appearance. but Sartre never was hurt or worried by this, as he never was with children so had nothing to compare this feeling with. His estrangement is also explained by his maniacal wish to read, he preferred books to all humans in the world.
Being fatherless since he was one year and three months old, Sartre thinks that it has been the greatest gift of life for him. if his father had lived he would have pressed upon his son and suppressed his talents. So orphanhood is good due to the author. But there is another side of it – it is spoiling by indulgence. It is what has happened to him – too much love from his mother and his grandfather has spoilt him in a way that he thought of himself as a special one. But it helped him to find the reason of it, and this belief has been supported later by his genius.
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