• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent can society be blamed for the isolation in the lives of the protagonists of J.D Salingers The Catcher in the Rye and Albert Camuss The Stranger.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent can society be blamed for the isolation in the lives of the protagonists of J.D Salinger?s The Catcher in the Rye and Albert Camus?s The Stranger. Word Count: 4,283 words. Abstract People who dare to make a unique stand, people who don?t fit into the social rules and norms of the world, are rejected by the circle of Society. Society allows those who fit comfortably into its circle, obeys the regulations it creates and follows what everyone else in the group does. Being outside this circle made by Society is not only a challenge, it has become nearly impossible to do so all these years. As time passes by, society narrows its thoughts even more, and the space of the group descends with time, and those outside the circle, are the ones who remain isolated. In J.D Salinger?s The Catcher in the Rye and Albert Camus? The Stranger, the protagonists, Holden and Mersault chose not to follow what society had destined for them, and followed their own route. When this route betrays them, and society pushes them into further isolation and despair, they realize the importance of being accepted in the circle of society. I would like to explore as to what extent society can really be blamed for isolating these characters, and whether it is society?s fault or the individual who suffers in adjusting with the way the world works, and to reflect upon the conflict between the individual and society. Contents Introduction_______________________________________Page 4 The Protagonist?s Individual Isolation___________________Page 6 Society?s Relationship with the Protagonists______________Page 7 Symbols and Metaphors to portray Isolation______________Page 10 Conclusion__________________________________________Page 12 Introduction Isolation is the state of being alone and not being surrounded by anybody. In a world consisting of six billion human beings, it is impossible for someone to spend their life devoid of people around them. Someone could be sitting all alone in an empty room, and yet not enjoy loneliness and isolation, and there could be someone struggling with millions of people around him, and yet could suffer an isolated life. ...read more.

Middle

I told her it didn?t mean anything but that I didn?t think so.? Love and companionship is what acts as removal of solitude in someone?s life, and most of the times, the isolated seek true love and concern, and seek someone who stand by them through the tribulations and emotional turbulence. But Mersault doesn?t seek anything. It could be that he knows that Marie doesn?t mean what she says, and blindly believing her would be a mistake, in turn hurting him more, and isolating him even further. Despite that, he continues to be physically intimate with Marie and kisses her, which could mean that he believes in what he says and believes in speaking nothing but the truth. This incident also acts as evidence to the fact that despite getting lured by beauty and sex, he still does not lie to her that he loves her. He never changes his expression or opinion to settle into social expectations. Albert Camus also claims that ?In our society any man who doesn?t cry at his mother?s funeral is liable to be condemned to death? and that ?Mersault doesn?t play the game, the game being: he refuses to lie. We all lie, to make life simpler and he refuses to hide his feelings and society immediately feels threatened? After murdering the Arab at the beach house and being arrested for it, he is taken to the lawyer for interrogation. The Magistrate wonders whether he loves his mother or not, and he replies saying that he loves her as much as he loves anyone else, and states that ?All normal people at one time wished their loved ones were dead?. The lawyer asks him not to state any of this at the court in the Magistrate?s presence, and Mersault refuses to contradict the truth in front of the court. To adjust to the beliefs of society and law, the innocent and the criminals are made to make false statements, which in turn, destroy the situation even further. ...read more.

Conclusion

His innermost desire is to escape the absurdity and the corruption that society possesses and sneak into the paranormal world of fantasy. To be a catcher in the rye is symbolic of when little innocent children play in the rye, without the prying eyes of society and without the knowledge of the world ahead of them, and the task of the catcher is to stop them from falling and hurting themselves, which is metaphoric of how Holden would catch the children from losing their innocence, hurting themselves and gradually turning into phony adults. He yearns that he could just catch them all day, immersing himself in their laughter, their tears and their innocence, and clean the world from its maturity. The dream is certainly extreme in its thinking, and the reader could sense the instability that Caulfield is experiencing to experience such thoughts. Conclusion I would like to infer that the conflict between an individual and society has been taking place for many years. Many of them become martyrs and live life without any pattern or without conforming to the narrow minded rules of the world. It is difficult to assume as to who is victorious in the end, whether it is society or the protagonists. It is also a battle between absolute truth and society?s tinted statements. Society will isolate those who do not conform its rules, and if the isolated are strong enough, they could live life their own way, and die as martyrs, but as Albert Camus comments about Mersault, he calls him not a reject, but a ?poor and naked man, in love with a sun which leaves no shadows? and someone ?without any heroic pretensions, agrees to die for the truth?, whereas Holden spends his life clinging and lingering onto the notion that basic yet the most beautiful values of life like love, kindness and innocence are the key to a fulfilling and satisfying life, we do not know whether he succeeds in proving that to society and the world around him, as he quietly goes back home, instead of leaving his home. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Apathy in The Stranger

    start to believe that Meursault might actually have some type of emotions within him that he was able to express. In the end, however, Meursault's relationship with Marie is ultimately another example of how much of an apathetic person Meursault truly is.

  2. Free essay

    Comparing Catcher in the Rye and the Bell Jar

    She commented, I also remembered Buddy Willard saying in a sinister, knowing way that after I had children I would feel differently, I wouldn't want to write poems any more. So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed.

  1. Comparing Camus' "The Stranger" to Orwell's "1984"

    In spite of Meursault's denial, the chaplain meets him anyways, and tries to increase his belief and faith in God. Meursault is stubborn which is clearly visible in his atheist views which indeed are a threat to the chaplain. After a long argument, Meursault eventually becomes furious and frustrated which

  2. Symbolism in Albert Camus' The Stranger

    content at being able to base his actions once more on his physical needs, such as when he feels "tormented by [his] desire for a woman" (77). With no attempts to govern his ethics and actions, Meursault feels comforted by his isolation.

  1. In Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and The Stranger, by Albert Camus, protagonists ...

    Also, he debates with himself whether or not to confess it all to the head clerk, Nikodim Fomitch, where he feels the urge "to get up at once, and tell him everything that had happened yesterday, and then go with him to his lodgings and show him the things in the hole in the corner" (107).

  2. Those qualities which made Othello heroic (or admirable or exceptional) also caused his suffering. ...

    [Desdemona] to the Sagittary / And let her speak of me...? (1.3.117-18). Here, Othello begins to illustrate his trust in Desdemona. He continues, ?If you do find me foul in her report, / ...but let you sentence / Even fall upon my life? (1.3.116-21).

  1. Comparison of Violence in The Catcher in the Rye with Their Eyes Were Watching ...

    That's all. They were coming in the goddam window? (13). From his point of view, the world was a hopeless and dark place where nothing was true. This leads up to Holden?s depression and disillusion with the world. His swearing serves as the output of all the pent up anger

  2. Reflection of Society in the "Grapes of Wrath"

    This explicitly suggests the strayed actions by the characters. In the end, Casy is a fabulous and clear reflection of the general population. Casy represents something graver than a simple faith-lost priest. He represents the guidance back into religion from the hardships of the world. With the poverty in reality, followed the poverty in belief and in their hearts.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work