The Outsiders Essay Example
The Outsiders Essay Example

The Outsiders Essay Example

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  • Pages: 6 (1457 words)
  • Published: July 6, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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The Outsiders is an exceptionally disreputable and provocative novel published in 1967 by author S. E Hinton. The novel predominantly addresses numerous societal matters existent during the 1960’s. Said issues include socioeconomic segregation, dysfunctional families, and violence amongst the adolescent population. Throughout this essay, I will focus upon the issue of dysfunctional families, specifically the Curtis Brothers and how their relationship is sustained and nourished as the novel progresses.

For we can see that each of the character’s scrutiny towards his siblings is altered as the novel progresses, mostly in a positive manner as is seen in the character of Ponyboy. Firstly, I would like to examine the character Ponyboy, since he is the primary character within the novel as well as being somewhat secluded from the group. This is ostensible from Pon


yboy’s comportment and hobbies, for he enjoys more sentimental aspects as well as the intellectual aspect of life.

Whereas the Greasers in general seem to have lost the virtuous quality and passion that Ponyboy has been proficient at retaining. Through the interpretation of the novel we see that the title of the novel contains great symbolic meaning, in reference to the greasers as well as Ponyboy. For it is perceptible that the Greasers are seen as a burden to their society, as well as being referred to by the media in specific as juvenile delinquents due to their irrational behavior and disruption to the peace and serenity of society. Thus the group is isolated from their community and treated as outsiders.

Amongst the group itself we can also witness how Ponyboy is isolated from the group due to the aforementioned reasons of him relishing the placatory

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and emotive properties of life such as sunsets and poems. It is for that reason that Ponyboy is the foremost character within the novel. This is due to the fact that he exhibits sentiments and activities that extricate him from his acquaintances, which are presumed to be analogous to him in every aspect conceivable by society. However this assumption is revealed to be false as we see that Ponyboy is contradictory to his brother Darrell on numerous occurrences.

Ponyboy resolutely believes that Darrell perceives him as a nuisance to him and their household, since he persistently scolds him and chastises him on several occasions. This quote also emphasizes Ponyboy’s stance concerning Darrell “It was my house as much as Darry’s, and if he wanted to pretend I wasn't alive, that was just fine with me”(1). Thus it is bluntly discernable that Ponyboy does not comprehend why Darrell relentlessly treats him austerely and that is the main reason why Ponyboy feels that Darrell does not appreciate and love him.

Thus he shares a perturbed relationship with Darrell and reaches a point in the novel where he is revolted by Darrell’s action of striking him on the face, which instigated him leaving their house in wrath and indignation. However, as the novel progresses it is revealed to us that Darrell’s relationship with Ponyboy is mended through several occurrences, predominantly the event of the church fire. After said horrific event, Ponyboy experiences an instance of anagnorisis that permits him to accurately comprehend Darrell’s love and care for him.

In this scene Ponyboy illustrates Darrell’s weeping and devastated state as he greets Ponyboy by stating “I hadn’t’ seen him cry in years

not even when mom and dad had been killed” (1). As well as Darrell’s statement “Oh, Pony, I thought we’d lost you like we did mom and dad” (1) that supplementary reaffirms the argument of Darrell’s existent yet concealed love and affection towards Ponyboy. Alternately, we can perceive that Ponyboy’s relationship with Sodapop is immensely dissimilar from his relationship with Darrell.

For on numerous occurrences we see Sodapop safeguarding and conserving Ponyboy from Darrell’s interminable reprimand, thus contributing to a foundation of reliance and adoration in their relationship. Since Ponyboy misconstrues Darrell’s censure as a form of detestation, Sodapop denotes a guardian whereas Darrell epitomizes malevolence and animosity. Due to his role as a mediator between Darrell and Ponyboy, Sodapop is habitually the individual who diminishes the antagonism of his two brothers. Secondly, we transition to the intermediate brother of the family, Sodapop.

As I have previously stated, Sodapop’s primary role within the novel is to serve as a moderator between Darrell and Ponyboy. Thus he reprises his role as a mediator on several instances during the progression of the novel. Predominantly, Sodapop demonstrates behavior similar to Ponyboy’s behavior; this is evident throughout the novel and under particular circumstances. Such circumstances include the event of Ponyboy and Sodapop sharing their beds where Sodapop embraces Ponyboy in order to consolidate him and inform him that Darrell truly loves him.

Nevertheless, we also realize that Sodapop and Darrell are analogous in evident facets due to the fact that they are both role models to Ponyboy, since he is his elder brother along with Darrell. Thus he must take it upon him to raise Ponyboy and aid Darrell in his tremendous

role as the custodian of the family. Lastly, I would like to confer the character of Darrell Curtis, as he is the eldest of the brothers and endures the largest encumbrance in terms of supporting his family.

We are informed that Darrell has been stripped of his childhood and was compelled to abandon school in order to provide financial sustenance for his brothers, thus parenthood and liability were thrust upon him at an early age. Due to this fact we can often see Darrell clashing with Ponyboy in order to ensure he enjoys an unsullied upbringing. Unfortunately, though Darrell does not succeed in doing so for we discern that during the conclusion of the novel, Ponyboy’s character has been fundamentally distorted and altered due to the punitive actuality of the world that he had experienced.

Darrell’s role in the family is an embodiment of a parent desiring contributing to a civilized life to his family. Ponyboy describes Darrell stating, “He's got eyes that are like two pieces of pale blue-green ice. They’ve got a determined set to them” (2). Hinton uses this simile in order to elucidate how Darrell is seen from Ponyboy’s point of view. As well as accentuating that Darrell had been hardened and made unsentimental by the arduous lifestyle the Greasers endure daily.

Since we have deliberated each sibling independently, let us now address the matter of the how the brother’s relationship develops and proceeds throughout the novel. During the initiation of the novel, it is entirely ostensible that the Curtis Brothers are confronted with numerous altercations and hindrances causing stress and unease between them. Said altercations are the catalyst for the onset of events

such as Ponyboy leaving the house in a livid and furious state, thus being assaulted by the Socials and nearly murdered by them.

However, this perturbed relationship is soon reestablished as Ponyboy and Darrell’s relationship is rehabilitated. This is evident in the manner in which Ponyboy states, “I had taken the long way around, but I was finally home. To stay”(1). This further substantiates my argument that as the Curtis brothers experienced the horrific events of the novel, a sense of unity and cohesiveness is augmented within the brothers thus strengthening their relationship. This theory is further substantiated during the conclusion of the novel, when Sodapop antagonizes Darrell and Ponyboy and states, “ I don’t know.

It’s just… I can’t stand to hear y’all fight…It’s like I’m the middleman in a tug o’ war and I’m being split in half. You dig? ” (1) This quotation emphasizes the inadvertent negligence that Sodapop is subjected to by his siblings. This concept of unintended neglect towards Sodapop stems from the belief that Sodapop is often the cause of dwindling of the feud between Ponyboy and Darrell that he is forgotten In conclusion, we can distinguish that although each Curtis brother is inimitable and distinct concerning his role in the family, the family functions as a cohesive unit.

The underlying theme of family cohesiveness is of prominence within the novel, thus endorsing a progressive and constructive message to the readers of the novel. Although the novel principally illustrates dysfunctional families in a deleterious manner, we can see that at least one dysfunctional family was able to preserve its concord and remain united. It is for this reason that The Outsiders has

been such a prominent and critically acclaimed novel, since it proficiently elucidates household feud and disputes. As well as competently exposing the segregation of the inferior class society in most cultures.


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