The Outsiders By S.E. Hinton: Outsiders May Be Heroes

An outsider is described as ‘a person not belonging to a particular group’ as defined in the Oxford Dictionary. ‘ The Outsiders’ was published by S. E. Hinton. It was set Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 1960s. It’s about the rivalry between the two major youth groups. There life is split into two major groups by money which are the Socs (Short for Socials) and the Greasers. The Socs live on the Wside, where they lead a better life with everything they want, and the Greasers Ponyboy is a greaser, a term that refers to the young men on the poor, on the east side of town, they usually have nothing but anger and jealousy. Some people choose to be an outsider, while others have no choice. Whether or not an individual chooses to be an outsider, they must adapt to what happenes when you are unlike everyone else in the group. There are a number of characters in the novel that could be considered outsiders, such as Ponybony Curtis and Dally Winston.

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The story narrator, Ponyboy, is always at odds with the people around him. Whether in advanced classes at school and surrounded by Socs, or the only nature-loving, sensitive greaser hanging around on the east side. Ponyboy is always different from the people he’s with. He always feels lost. He has no family to depend on after losing them to a car wreck. He tries his utmost to combat his depression by distracting himself with as many things as he can. He reads incessantly, blogs, and smokes cigarettes. All of these three behaviors were accepted by his older brother, Darry, who has become Pony’s legal guardian after his parents died.

Darry had to take on the responsibilities that come along with being a parent. As a result, he chose to sacrifice college and work as a roofer to help support the family. Although he grew up on the East side and amongst greasers,he always aspired for more and never felt quite at home there. In chapter 8, Ponyboys explains “. . . the only reason Darry couldn’t be a Soc was us. The gang. Me and Soda. Darry was too smart to be a greaser. ” While Darry was always yearning for a better life, Dallas Winston accepted who he was and embraced the greaser lifestyle.

Dallas Winston, or Dally, is a stone’s cold thug. In and out of jail since the age of ten, Dally has seen it all. Forced to grow up at a young age, he has learned that the best way to survive is to think as little as possible, a concept he’s always trying to teach the majority of the greasers. After being rejected by so many people all his life, Dally believes that he’s the only person he’s ever had. He decided to be an outsider. This decision ultimately leads to his death, when he decides that his only escape from his loneliness is to die. Unlike Ponyboy and Darry, who one day figure out how to escape the greaser lifestyle, Dally never got out.

Being an ‘outsider’ can mean different things to different people, but one thing is certain: being outspoken is always accompanied by challenges. One may be forced outspoken like Darry, naturally find himself out there like Pony, or choose a life like Dallas Winston. Many people are better adapted to a lonely life than others. At the end of the day, the book does a good job of showing the audience that even outsiders deserve a right to fair treatment, and some may even be heroes in disguise.

10 October 2020

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