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The Outsiders Essay Examples

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Belonging is vital for one’s existence as it creates a sense of fulfillment and protection in one’s life. It is a quintessential motif as it helps one to develop knowledge of who they are. The author, S.E. Hilton explores and develops a sense of belonging in The Outsiders by fundamentally creating an alternative family for the Greasers, assigning certain characteristics to certain characters, and foreshadowing the plot by using the title. The Outsiders (1967) is a well-known, classic, young adult fiction novel. The novel fundamentally revolutionalized the young adult fiction genre with its powerful viewpoint at the social politics of being a teenager and the general struggles of growing up at the current time period; the mid-twentieth century. The novel focuses on the orphan Curtis brothers; Ponyboy, Soda, and Darry who belong to disadvantaged the Greaser gang and their struggle of remaining a family whilst combating economic and violent complications with a rival privileged gang; The Socials.

The Greasers are a strong and supportive group of teenagers from the poorer side of Oklahoma who essentially hang out with each other as a way to escape their terrible lives at home. Almost every Greaser member comes from a broken home and/or rely on their friends or gang members for support. For instance, Steve Randal had a deeply distressing relationship with his parents. Furthermore, Johnny suffers abuse in his household as Ponyboy stated that “Johnny had it awful rough at home” (Chapter 1) and the Curtis brother’s parents died in a car crash. The Greasers are not just a gang, however, they are like family. At the end of the book, Ponyboy and his brothers know ‘if we don’t have each other, we don’t have anything.’ (Chapter 12) Belonging to the Greasers gives them all a sense of identity and a family. They care about each other and watch out for each other. Johnny and Ponyboy are the two that Darry always looks out for, and seems to have a lot of hope for. As Ponyboy stated, “It drives my brother Darry nuts when I do stuff like that, ’cause I’m supposed to be smart; I make good grades and have a high IQ and everything.” (Chapter 1) Essentially, members of the Greasers look to each other for aid and consequently find companionship by belonging to the Greaser gang. Therefore, Hilton portrays how some gangs operate as an alternative family for young people in search of belonging. Theoretically, this benefits the Curtis brothers drastically as it eases Darrel’s workload of parenting and raising Sodapop and Ponyboy. Furthermore, it also benefits Johnny as he finds guidance by being constantly surrounded by genuine friends and/or an alternative family.

The novel debates that class and class systems play a primary role in determining belonging. Hilton creates a sense of belonging by implementing the gangs; either Greaser or Social with separate significant characteristics, dictating their socio-economic class and creating a social order. The Greasers are disadvantaged due to their economic status; low-middle class. However, the Socials are advantaged due to their economic status. The rivalry between the Socials and the Greasers reflects how those individuals who are marginalized seek to find some level of belonging to social order. The Greasers are marginalized, lacking socio-economic power in the class setting. In fact, the Socs are shown to be more socially destructive, nevertheless because of their economic status, they are made to belong more. This is evident as the Socs ‘jump Greasers and wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks, and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to the society the next.’ The Greasers, conversely, ‘steal things and drive old souped-up cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while.” (Chapter 1) Theoretically, the Greasers who are disadvantaged, have to turn to others, to one another, in order to find some amount of belonging for they are not experiencing it in the general social configuration.

One can articulate that Hilton had chosen the ideal title for the novel as “The Outsiders” which suggests the fact that people are ‘outside’ the demographic stereotypes, the circles that matter, and therefore, do not belong. On the contrary, due to the fact that the Greasers have turned themselves into the “Outsiders”, they have created a family and a place where they fundamentally belong.

In The Outsiders, S.E. Hilton portrays a theme of belonging through a variety of aspects that help structure the novel to its full potential. This occurred as Hilton created a second family for the Greasers experimented with the class and class systems of each character and alluded the plot by using the title of the novel; The Outsiders. Subsequently, this allows one to experience the true positive connotations of belonging and can empirically spread awareness of what belonging can result in; a sense of fulfillment and protection in one’s life.

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Themes In The Outsiders By S.E. Hinton

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The Conflict with Law in The Outsiders

S.E Hinton’s classic novel ‘The Outsiders’ is a universal and timeless narrative set in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1965. The story revolves around two rival gangs that go by the names of the Socs and the Greasers that hold a long standing grudge due to their...
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The Outsiders: Gangs Stereotypes

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The Portrayal of the Characters in The Outsiders

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Book Report on 'The Outsiders'

The Outsiders is a young adult fiction that plays the role of many adolescent characters and shows what teenagers from a different day an age were like. With the book being published in the year 1967 and the major differences and changes within society itself,...
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The Outsiders': Book Review

‘The Outsiders’ is a book by S. E. Hinton which was made published on April 24, 1967, and the setting in the book is in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This book is about a 14-year-old boy named Ponyboy Curtis and his two brothers, Soda and Darry. They...
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S. E Hinton and The Outsiders: Opinion Essay

S.E Hinton was born, raised, and still lives today in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (“S. E. Hinton Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, Advameg, Inc., ). In Hinton’s book, The Outsiders, are rival gangs; this was very similar to what was going on at Will Rogers High School...
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