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Reader's Reflective Essay on The Outsiders

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The book The Outsiders is a 218 pages book written by S.E. Hinton when she was 15 to 17-year-old. It was published by Viking Press and Dell Publishing in 1967 when she was 18. The story takes place in 1965 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When S. E. Hinton grew up, she was bored by the typical “girl meets boy” stories, she wanted stories that were more realistic. A story about what it really is being a teenager. And that is how she found inspiration to write a story of two gangs and their rivalry, inspiration from her own personal life and events that had happened to her in her life.

The main character in the book is Ponyboy Curtis, who is a fourteen-year-old Greaser boy. He lives with his two older brothers, Darrel and Sodapop because his parents died. Ponyboys best friend is Johnny, who is two years older than him. They have a special connection like none other. Ponyboy, his brothers and Johnny are a part of a Greaser gang. Dally, Two-Bit, and Steve is members of this gang. Pony also meets some people from their rivals, the Socs. Cherry Valance, Marica and Bob.

The book is about two rival gangs, the Greasers and the Socs. Ponyboy Curtis is a member of the loose gang, the Greasers. The book follows Ponyboys life throughout difficult family issues, gang problems and running away from everything that he knows. It all starts when Pony walks home from the theatre and then is being jumped by five Socs. He gets help from his gang but is bruised. Later he and some others from his gang are at an outdoor theatre where they meet two Soc girls, Cherry and Marcia. Pony ends up talking with Cherry and discovers they are not as different as he thought. When the boys are walking the girls home, a gang of Socs shows up and threatens the girls to come with them or else.

Later, when Ponyboy and his best friend Johnny comes to Pony’s house, his brother Darrel are angry at Pony for coming home late “Where the heck have you been? Do you know what the time is?... Well, it’s two in the morning, kiddo. Where were you Ponyboy? Where in the almighty universe were you? (Hinton, page. 61)”. After their big fight, Ponyboy and Johnny decide that they are running away 'He didn't use to be like that ... we used to get along okay ... before Mom and Dad died. Now he just can't stand me'(Hinton, page. 63). While napping in a park, the same gang that picked up the two Soc girls appears. After rounds of heated talk and spit in the face, the Socs attempts to drown Ponyboy in the nearby fountain, but Johnny makes a choice that changed their life forever.

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After everything that has happened to him, Pony returns to school, with his grades dropping. Even though he is failing English, Mr. Syme, his teacher, says he will pass if he writes a decent theme. Ponyboy decides to write his assignment on all the recent events and begins his essay with the opening line of the novel The Outsiders: 'When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movies house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home...'(Hinton, page. 218), making the book go around in a circle. In the book, there are many themes that one could have discussed. Family issues, relationships, friendship, gang problems or the division money makes. How people’s behavior is changed because of how much money they have, and how they look at others. Obviously, that is not the case for everyone.

There are many who follow Christian values and I believe Cherry could be a Christian. Why? If we dig into the book and look at how she acts around Pony and her wish to help the Greasers, she has some Christian values. Cherry does not judge him or look down at him. Yes, the most obvious theme is the division that social classes and money create. But it is at the same time important to be open, and maybe the book had something else to teach us. Even through it is important to shed light onto the topic about poor and rich, it is also important to know how to talk, respect and act around others. We can see in the book that the Socs have no respect for the Greasers and they believe that they are better than them just because of money. When the Socs see a Greaser while driving, they jump, fight and almost kill him. The Greasers have many sights on the Socs, but they are not walking around and complaining about the situation.

Some want to give the Socs payback, while others like Ponyboy do not understand why there is so much violence in the world. “There isn't any real good reason for fighting except self-defense.” (S.E.Hinton, The Outsiders). 'What in the world are you doing?' Two-Bit's voice broke into my thoughts. I looked up at him. 'Picking up the glass.' He stared at me for a second, then grinned. 'You little sonofagun,' he said in a relieved voice. I didn't know what he was talking about, so I just went on picking up the glass from the bottle end and put it in a trash can. I didn't want anyone to get a flat tire.” (S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders). Here we can also see that Ponyboy’s heart is pure as gold. “Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.” (S.E.Hinton, The Outsiders). He just wants the best for others. Some would compare him to a Jesus figure. The one who would save the Greasers. Ponyboy realizes after talking to Cherry that they are the same. It is just money that divides them.

This is an important part of the book. They both have realized that both like to watch sunsets “It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset. (S.E.Hinton, The Outsiders). This is the importance of the book. The main theme. That regardless of gender, sexuality, rich or poor everybody should be treated the same, and have the same opportunities. In the novel, we meet many interesting characters. The main character in the book is Ponyboy Curtis. He is a fourteen-year-old Greaser boy, who lives with his two older brothers, Darrel and Sodapop because his parents died in a car accident. Ponyboy is good in school, he gets the greatest grades and is one of the best in his class. He is a boy who just wants the best for everyone. He is a role model for the people around him. Johnny Cade is Ponyboys best friend. He is two years older than Pony. Johnny is extremely quiet, and he is also very jumpy. He lives with his drunk parents who often hit him. Johnny is one of those who could not even kill a fly. He fears the Socs, who has jumped him one too many. I really liked the book.

I liked that it was real and that I got to see how it was like living as a teen at that time in the United States. S. E. Hinton uses a vocabulary that in the beginning were a bit hard to understand, but the deeper into the book I got, the more I understand of it. There were many times where I could not lay the book down, because of the tension and the wonder of what would come next. This is a book I recommend everyone to read. You get a better understanding of the conditions in the 60th. After reading The Outsiders I am going to try and find other books by S. E. Hinton. She is now one of my favorite authors.

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