Holden Caulfield and Mersault have both been alienated in their worlds as the authorshave so clearly portrayed in both books. But as much as both have been alienated, one isan essentialist while the other remains an existentialist.
Holden Caulfield being theessentialist that he is, has psychological motivation for every action he takes. He is ateenager that is struggling with the fact that everyone has to grow up, which to himmeans that you have to become phony or corrupt. While on the other hand Mersault,the existentialist, does things for no reason whatsoever. He is a completely aloof,unattached , unemotional person. He doesnt think much about events or theirconsequences, nor does he express much feeling in relationships or during emotionaltimes. The similarities between Holden and Mersault are the way they are both in asense alienated from the worlds in which they live in.Order now
Holden Caulfield believes that alladults are phony so he doesnt want to become one and so he distances himself from theadult world. He feels that when youre a child you view the world without any bias, yousee everything for what it is. So to stay a child he constantly flunks out of schools backand forth. When you graduate from highschool you are going to the next level whether itbe college or whatever else you want to do, everyone around you will view you as anadult and you yourself will become one. After highschool, most people tend to grow upbut Caulfield is keeping himself in highschool so that he doesnt.
In the beginning of the book, Holden sees everyone he knows as phony. Hefeels that he is surrounded by hypocrites in a school filled with fakery. PrincipalThurmur, the principal of Holdens high school of which he got kicked out of, Pencey,was the leader of the whole charade. During a teacher/parent day, Principal Thurmurwould only say hello to the wealthy parents of students. He would not associate himselfwith those that were not financially stable, because he was fake.
So taking into accountthe way his principal is, it just adds on to his hatred of adults and fear of becoming one. Mersault on the other hand, gets alienated from the society in which he lives inwhich is still the one we live in today. Mersault shows no feelings towards the thingsthat happen to him or the things he does. His own mother died and when he asked hisboss for two days off he was wondering if his boss was mad at the fact he took a four dayweekend. He even went as far as to tell his boss that it wasnt his fault. Mersault rarelyshows any feeling in situations which would, for most people, elicit strong emotions likein his relationship with Marie Cardona.
She asked him to marry her and he respondedthat it doesnt matter to him, and if she wants to get married he would agree. She alsoasked him if he loved her and he responded that marriage isnt such a serious thing anddoesnt require love. In our society, a person like Mersault who shows no feeling is likely to berejected. Towards the end of the book, Mersault kills an Arab for no reason whatsoever. During the trial, he is unwilling to lie about the killing of the Arab. Words/ Pages : 564 / 24