Holden Caulfield and Mersault have both been alienated in their worlds as the authors
have so clearly portrayed in both books. But as much as both have been alienated, one is
an essentialist while the other remains an existentialist. Holden Caulfield being the
essentialist that he is, has psychological motivation for every action he takes. He is a
teenager that is struggling with the fact that everyone has to grow up, which to him
means 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 their
consequences, nor does he express much feeling in relationships or during emotional
times.

The similarities between Holden and Mersault are the way they are both in a
sense alienated from the worlds in which they live in. Holden Caulfield believes that all
adults are phony so he doesnt want to become one and so he distances himself from the
adult world. He feels that when youre a child you view the world without any bias, you
see everything for what it is. So to stay a child he constantly flunks out of schools back
and forth. When you graduate from highschool you are going to the next level whether it
be college or whatever else you want to do, everyone around you will view you as an
adult and you yourself will become one. After highschool, most people tend to grow up
but Caulfield is keeping himself in highschool so that he doesnt.
In the beginning of the book, Holden sees everyone he knows as phony. He
feels that he is surrounded by hypocrites in a school filled with fakery. Principal
Thurmur, 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 Thurmur
would only say hello to the wealthy parents of students. He would not associate himself
with those that were not financially stable, because he was fake. So taking into account
the way his principal is, it just adds on to his hatred of adults and fear of becoming one.

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Mersault on the other hand, gets alienated from the society in which he lives in
which is still the one we live in today. Mersault shows no feelings towards the things
that happen to him or the things he does. His own mother died and when he asked his
boss for two days off he was wondering if his boss was mad at the fact he took a four day
weekend. He even went as far as to tell his boss that it wasnt his fault. Mersault rarely
shows any feeling in situations which would, for most people, elicit strong emotions like
in his relationship with Marie Cardona. She asked him to marry her and he responded
that it doesnt matter to him, and if she wants to get married he would agree. She also
asked him if he loved her and he responded that marriage isnt such a serious thing and
doesnt require love.

In our society, a person like Mersault who shows no feeling is likely to be
rejected. 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

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