The main character made discoveries about himself throughout the novel. He discovered how prized his friendship rather than friends, did not love his wife, was unaware of his wealth, he was sickly and his wife was strong, noticed his wife was beautiful, discovered his wife was real; and had a life of her own. There is a sense of separation or otherness with the use of two-ness. For example, two room apartment, sleeping in different berths, two room hotel, mother was a protestant and father was an atheist, he gets sick and she gets sick. The main character wants to be “anti-bookworm,” but in the same breath mentions Descartes. Descartes thinks there is a mind and body separation, however, to Gide, brings the body and mind back together through an example of Marcels getting sick and then changing his mental state of being. The physical directly affected the mind and vice versa.
The statement, “being is occupation enough,” is about the present state of the main character and “dropping the past learned man, to find the authentic being,” is about becoming an authentic person that the main character never really finds.