Stereotypes In The Outsiders

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Topics: The Outsiders
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, is a coming-of-age story that compels readers to question society’s stereotyping of people and expresses the need for people to always have hope. Based on two rival teenage gangs, the poor, east-side Greasers, and the rich, west-side Socials (Socs), The Outsiders is told through the eyes of sensitive, 14-year-old Greaser, Ponyboy Curtis. The novel explores the choices people make when faced with adversity, sending an important message to readers that everyone is an individual, regardless of their background. The characters of Ponyboy and Dallas ‘Dally’ Winston, a hardened and damaged Greaser, are vital to this message and they also play key roles in portraying the book’s fundamental theme that even the most …show more content…
She does this by defining the characters according to their individual traits, not by the group society has deemed they belong to. Although Hinton introduces Ponyboy as a member of the Greaser gang, with his long, oiled hair and outfit of jeans and t-shirt, she challenges readers not to stereotype him as a Greaser by making it known that he is sensitive, loves books, movies and drawing, and gets good grades at school. Hinton also makes it clear through Ponyboy’s discussions with Soc Cherry Valance, that the rich and privileged should not be stereotyped either, for they too can suffer problems. Ponyboy ultimately realises that Greasers and Socs are not that different after all and this is particularly evident when he …show more content…
This emphasised to readers that surviving a tough life is difficult without some innocence or hope. Ponyboy also started to lose his way following Johnny’s and Dally’s deaths, doing poorly at school and threatening to stab one of the Socs with a broken bottle (p. 205-207). Nevertheless, Hinton shows that unlike Dally, Ponyboy’s innocence was not completely lost with Johnny’s death, because after the broken bottle incident subsides with no-one hurt, Ponyboy picks up the broken glass to prevent anyone getting a flat tyre (p. 207). This proves Ponyboy’s innocence is still intact, but Hinton’s message that even the most hardened need to have hope, does not end here, for she uses the final chapter of her book to really drive her point

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