Antione Roquentin

by Julia from Ocean Springs

Being is. Being is in- itself. Being is what it is.
Original version's cover. (Fang Duff Khan)
Original version's cover. (Fang Duff Khan)

Antione Roquentin is a fictional character in Jean-Paul Sartre's novel; La Nausee, or Nausea. He is a socially isolated writer living in a fictional setting called Bouville in 1932's France. He presently studies the life of an 18th-century politician for a novel. He has traveled around the world, only to settle down at the young age of 30.

Roquentin is disgusted by his own existence, and the very essence of life. During the story, he is pushed to the brink of insanity, all the while being tossed around in the many theories of his author; Sartre. He revolves partially around the theory of existential angst. His feelings of absolute Nausea towards peculiar cases often melts into indifference. For example, "Three o'clock is a dead time, for it is always too late or too early to do anything you want to do." He often describes himself in a negative position, derived from his own emotional state. He is also the result of heartbreak, from his young sweetheart Anny. Anny is an English girl who traveled with him, shared his ideas, and seemed to love him until the end...but then she ran away, rendering him incapable of feeling significant attraction towards another.

The cover of the English-translated version. (Tower Books)
The cover of the English-translated version. (Tower Books)

In the day, he is emotionally worn. He will lurk around various cafes to watch society pass by, and observe the traits and quirks of the patrons. Sometimes he is disgusted by them, other times he is curious about them. Where they come from, what they do, why they are here, are they experiencing the same thing he feels? Half of the time is used to write in his journal, which displays his daily deeds. Rarely he works on the drafts of the 18th century politician, whom he was writing a novel about. On rare occasions, the Nausea he speaks of creeps up and ruins the day. Usually when Nausea hits, his inspiration will dissipate and only come of limbo at night.

The Nausea he so often thinks of is a feeling in itself. It can't be described simply by just listing a combination of emotions. It's an unparallelled experience, one that not many people wish to go through. Quoted by Roquentin, after the Nausea overcomes him while thinking of Anny; "Now I think of no one anymore. I don't even bother looking for words. It flows in me, more or less quickly. I fix nothing, I let it go. Through the lack of attaching myself to words, my thoughts remain nebulous most of the time. They sketch vague, pleasant shapes and then are swallowed up. I forget them almost immediately."

He has change my life by adding words. I was amazed when I started reading, because most of everything he wrote, I could relate to. It was this magical feeling, that someone understood. It threw me into the wonderful world of text and literature. It was a very small move with a big effect, and I will never regret it for as long as I live. It also changed my perspective on life. I can now see past the facade most of my peers put up, and it is a chance to realize who could be a good friend, and not. Antione Roquentin is my inspiration, my hero.

Page created on 9/8/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 9/8/2011 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Sartre's Existentialism - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Philosphy and Peanuts - Philosophy Now - article by Nathan Radke