University of Western Australia Extension
Here, Roquentin, from Jean Paul Sarte's Nausea, is contemplating how his reality is unravelling. After an oak tree had revealed itself as a black, entirely raw, knotty lump, it had frightened him and he sits at a mirror. He sees his real self for the first time.
He is molded out of time and stone, yet plastic and melting. He is also part machine, propping himself up with gears, cogs and lines. This new vision of himself is not brought out by insanity. It is revealed to him as if someone were christening him for the first time.
All of these things that are revealed to him make him realise how superfluous everything is, and if he could only concentrate hard enough, he could simplify himself. But the longer he sits and stares, more layers are revealed to him, driving him deeper into fear and loathing.