Belonging is to be a part of society. It’s the ability to make a conscious decision to be a part of a group of people. A sense of belonging gives a person a sense of strength and security so that they can make the right choices for themselves. Though belonging does have a positive aspect on any person’s life, there are some circumstances where people have to give up what they once were to belong to a group. So in the process of trying to belong you lose a sense of your own individuality.
S.E. Hinton explores a similar concept of belonging to a group in the novel ‘The Outsiders’. The novel presents two different groups separated by social barriers, and how they are labelled ‘Greasers’ and ‘Socs.’ The novel shows both the external benefits of belonging to a group or a ‘hood’ or ‘gang’ as referred to in the novel but as the plot unfolds it shows the inner sacrifices people have to make to belong to a group.
There are two main themes of belonging throughout the novel. The main aspect the novel focuses on is belonging to a group or a ‘gang’ or ‘hood’. The second aspect of belonging that is made very evident throughout the novel is belonging to a family. These two aspects can dramatically affect anybody’s view on life and how they go about their business. The antagonist Ponyboy narrates the novel, this allows us see what he goes through and his experiences through his eyes. This in turn invites the reader to experience and feel the expressions and emotions that he goes through in the novel. “I wanted to cry, but greasers don’t cry in front of strangers. Some of us never cry. Like Dally and Two-bit and Tim Shepard – they forgot how to cry at an early age.” This extract shows what Ponyboy had to give up to belong to the group. The repercussions of belonging to a ‘gang,’ are that you’re not allowed to show weakness and emotion at all.
Symbolism is used in many different ways to express the difference between the...