The word 'Alienation' has become the catch-word of today. It is puzzling and misleading term, nevertheless, it is very often used in almost every discipline-theology, psychology, sociology, philosophy and of course, in literature too. As this term is quite commonly used in a wide range of fields, naturally its meaning gets distorted and causes confusion in the mind of the reader. Such a universal usage of this term has made its meaning rather elastic and kept it open to many interpretations. This term was used to denote ideas in many American novels of the twentieth century and designate a recurrent way of representing life in literature. This chapter defines alienation and traces its tradition in English and American English fiction. Man's alienation from the society can be said to be the central theme of contemporary American fiction. Serious writers of the West are preoccupied with this theme. Saul Bellow and Jerome Salinger have dealt with the problems of alienation and affliction in their works. But the solutions to these problems offered by these two writers are slightly different.
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