Nausea - Jean-Paul Sartre

     This novel is basically a fictional journal of a man suffering from extreme depression, anxiety, and alienation because of a major problem in his life. That major problem in his life is life itself, or existence. The main character in this novel does not have anything terribly wrong with his life, except that he is alive. He cannot find any purpose for it, it all seems meaningless, and because of this, every action he makes seems pointless. Sartre uses this novel to explore the major themes of existentialism, including the fact that this despair is key to existence and being an individual, along with "existence proceeds essence," or that everything starts with the existence of the individual. Another major theme seems to be that life is ultimately meaningless; the only meaning is in the perspective of the individual, and even then it is only an illusion of meaning. This book is actually somewhat depressing to read; maybe because it is not outlandish. It feels like it could be anyone living anywhere in normal circumstances, in despair not because of anything drastically wrong, but because of life itself. These themes are crucial to human existence, and this novel does a good job of exploring them.