The Outsiders

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The Outsiders is a novel written by S. E. Hinton. It is the story of a traumatic time in the lives of three major characters: Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade, and Dallas Winston. They are all members of the lower class gang of "Greasers", a term created by the upper-class "Socs." These three boys play a major role in bridging the gap between the two seemingly different groups. Growing up on the poorer side of town, they witness many things, some of which they would not choose to, but they do anyway because of circumstances. Johnny observes, “Sixteen years on the streets and you can learn a lot. But all the wrong things, not the things you want to learn.” (p. 93) These experiences influence their actions and relationships with each other, and the outside world. Pony, Johnny, and Dally have to grow up and toughen fast, skipping the carefree part of their childhood, which is fast forgotten. Ponyboy grows up on the poorer side of town, but he is fortunate to always have a family to care for him. His parents died in a car accident, so now Pony lives with his brothers Darrel and Sodapop. They may live together on the condition that they all behave, and won't get in trouble with the law. Their home is always open for anyone who needs a safe haven to retreat to, "you take up for your buddies, no matter what they do. When you're a gang, you stick up for the members. If you don't stick up for them, stick together, make like brothers, it isn't a gang anymore." (p. 22) Later on, Pony will realize the truth of his statement, when his innocent friend Johnny kills a Soc, in Pony’s defense. He notes; "we’re almost as close as brothers; when you grow up in a tight-knit neighborhood like ours you get to know each other real well." (p. 4-5) Ironically, their neighborhood does not reflect the relationship between them, at all. It is full of crime, violence and waste. The Greasers might experience some negative things, but it brings them closer...
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