Loss Of Innocence In The Outsiders

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The Outsiders The Outsiders, written by S.E. Hinton, is the story of Ponyboy Curtis, a greaser in the 1960s who lives a fairly ordinary life until one day, he and his friend Johnny are jumped by several Socs, members of their rival gang, and his world is turned upside down. This book shows the struggles that young people have to face through the themes of class divisions, death of loved ones, and loss of innocence. S.E. Hinton is one of the few authors in American history that actually acknowledges the social divisions that are so prevalent in so many cities. One literary critic says, “It is rare-to-unique among juvenile books to find a novel confronting the class hostilities which have intensified since the Great Depression” (Gerhardt…show more content…
Ponyboy starts off being more or less carefree. Sure, he gets jumped by the Socs a couple times, but it does not really faze him. It is not until Johnny kills Bob that things start to get ugly. While they are in the church in Windrixville, Ponyboy says to Johnny “just last night we were walkin’ Cherry and Marcia over to Two-Bit’s. Just last night we were layin’ in the lot, lookin’ up at the stars and dreaming…” (Hinton 74). This indicates how unreal the situation is to Ponyboy because he is in so far over his head. However he later says “For the first time…I relaxed. We could take whatever was coming now” (Hinton 75). He and Johnny buckle down and get ready to deal with the consequences of their actions. One critic says on the topic of Ponyboy’s maturation “Innocence cannot escape coming to terms with life – which does not necessarily mean being corrupted. The opposite of innocence is – not corruption, of course – but knowledge” (Daly 33). This shows that while Ponyboy is not necessarily corrupted by these events, he does gain knowledge, knowledge of the world outside of his everyday life in his neighborhood. He learns that people die, but you have to move on and deal with it. This shows the loss of innocence that Ponyboy goes through over the course of the

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