Both Protagonists Refuse to Accept That They Are an Outsider

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The protagonist in the “Outsider Novel” refuses to accept that he is an outsider. Through the analysis of both texts, one could argue that both Holden and Meursault refuse to accept that they are outsiders. I would argue this point of view more so for Salinger’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield as I feel that he has a greater awareness of his alienation whereas Meursault, in correlation with Camus’ existentialist philosophy, gives little importance to the sentiment of isolation. By definition, the outsider is one is on the outskirts of society and excluded from participating within it. The outsider is self-destructive and reflective. One can see these characteristics within the characters Holden and Meursault. I would argue that J.D. Salinger presents ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ as the bildungsroman novel with a prevalent satirical tone in order to demonstrate the cult of the ‘outsider’ teenager; however Albert Camus displays ‘The Outsider’ as a novel of the Absurd infused with his existential philosophy, for which he is renowned for such as his work ‘The Myth of Sysiphysus’. The main comparison which can be illustrated between Meursault and Holden is that they both have different thoughts to those within their society, Holden sees himself as a “goddam madman” due to his thoughts differing from his peers such as Stradlater and Ackley, Meursault rather than viewing himself as strange, views his thoughts as normal as he passes no sideline comment to the observations he makes with the exception of Marie and the sun. I believe that there are points to suggest both points of the argument. The names of both protagonists is significant in their refusal to accept that they are an outsider, Meursault’s name translates to sea and sun. This very delicate name choice is effective for his characterisation as it demonstrates Meursault’s lack of thought towards morale and human
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