The Outsiders Essay

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In S.E. Hinton’s novel, ‘The Outsiders’, two completely different social groups, the ‘Greasers’ and the ‘Socs’, are faced with the tragic event of Bob’s death, caused by confusion and misunderstanding. Greasers are poor and wild. They are almost like hoods; they steal, hold up gas stations and occasionally have fights. On the West Side of town live the Socs: the complete opposite of greasers. The Socs are the educated rich kids who get all the lucky breaks. The two different groups are in constant dispute. In this novel, S.E. Hinton foregrounds a discourse of hope through the marginalised characters of Ponyboy Curtis and Johnny Cade to challenge stereotyping. Ponyboy Curtis is the younger brother of Darry and Sodapop. Their parents were killed in a car accident and the boys were left to fend for themselves. They endeavour to stick together. Even though Ponyboy is the youngest of the gang, he knows that he is different. This is shown through both his actions, dreams and realisations. Ponyboy’s actions challenge the stereotype of greasers. An example of this is when Dally, Johnny and he are at the “Nightly Double drive in”. (pg 25) Dally spots two Soc girls sitting at the front and takes the opportunity to get “up to his usual tricks”. (pg 25) He begins by talking dirty to the girls but they didn’t respond, so continues to hassle them. By Ponyboy not joining in, this shows that he respects the girls. He is not like Dally. This is further proven when he thinks to himself “that kind of kicks just doesn’t appeal to me.” (pg 26) Ponyboy acts respectfully and responsibly which is nothing like a stereotypical greaser. The way that Ponyboy acts shows that there is a conflict inside of him. While he is sensitive and caring, he knows that he is meant to act tough and mean; like a greaser. This shows that Ponyboy has hope for himself: that he might find out who he really is.

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