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and Françoise de Beauvoir (née Brasseur), a wealthy banker's daughter and devout Catholic. The family struggled to maintain their bourgeois status after losing much of their fortune shortly after World War I, and Françoise insisted that the two daughters be sent to a prestigious convent school.De Beauvoir herself was deeply religious as a child, at one point intending to become a nun.She experienced a crisis of faith at age 14, after which she remained an atheist for the rest of her life.

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De Beauvoir took this opportunity to do what she always wanted to do while also taking steps to earn a living for herself.

She first worked with Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Claude Lévi-Strauss, when all three completed their practice teaching requirements at the same secondary school.

Although not officially enrolled, she sat in on courses at the École Normale Supérieure in preparation for the agrégation in philosophy, a highly competitive postgraduate examination which serves as a national ranking of students.

It was while studying for the agrégation that she met École Normale students Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Nizan, and René Maheu (who gave her the lasting nickname "Castor", or beaver).

Writing of her youth in Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter she said: "..father's individualism and pagan ethical standards were in complete contrast to the rigidly moral conventionalism of my mother's teaching.

This disequilibrium, which made my life a kind of endless disputation, is the main reason why I became an intellectual." Sartre and de Beauvoir always read each other's work.Debate continues about the extent to which they influenced each other in their existentialist works, such as Sartre's Being and Nothingness and de Beauvoir's She Came to Stay.; 9 January 1908 – 14 April 1986) was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist.Though she did not consider herself a philosopher, she had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory.De Beauvoir wrote novels, essays, biographies, autobiography and monographs on philosophy, politics and social issues.She is known for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism; and for her novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins.