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The Outsiders by S.E Hinton is a tense and compelling fictional novel set in America in the 1960s. The novel follows the story of the greasers, a group of outcasts struggling with discrimination from the socs, the more wealthy people in the novel. Hinton writes from the perspective of Ponyboy Curtis, a fourteen-year-old boy who has been caught up in an unintentional murder of a soc which causes him to run away in order to survive. Hinton develops Ponyboys character in a lot of different ways in the novel. His opinion of the socs begins to differ as he sees that they are just normal people with their own problems and struggles. The hatred and anger the two different groups share is now more of a civil relationship. Another way Hinton develops his character is his different relationship with his older brother Darrel, as he becomes more understanding about his brother’s own struggles.

Hinton shows that PonyBoy and Darrel Curtis have a very difficult relationship at the start of the novel. With no parents in the picture, Darrel is more of a father figure to Ponyboy than a big brother. In the novel, Ponyboy says ”Darry thought I was just another mouth to feed.” This shows that Ponyboy thinks that Darrel doesn’t care about him and doesn’t want the responsibility of taking care of him. This comes back to the fact that Darry is more of a father figure to him than a brother. Darry wants to take care of him but he’s struggling to know how because this responsibility of taking care of a fourteen-year-old has been dumped on him and he’s only twenty. Darry just wants what’s best for him but Ponyboy doesn’t seem to see that.

By the end of the novel, Ponyboy and Darry’s relationship changes for the better as they start to understand each other and work things out. This happens when Soda-pop the middle brother gets too overwhelmed with them fighting all the time and runs off. When Ponyboy and Darry catch up with him, Soda-pop explains his feelings about always being in the middle of the argument and about how he’s had enough. It’s then when Ponyboy and Darry realise that it’s affected Soda this much and start to change. In the novel, Ponyboy says “Darry did care about me and because he cared about me he was trying hard to make something of me.” This shows that Ponyboy finally understands that Darry wasn’t trying to be hard on him he was just trying his best to take care of him.

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At the beginning of the novel, Ponyboy makes it quite clear that he has a bad opinion of the Socs. He thinks that they’re mean, rich people with mustangs. He hates and fears the Socs and thinks of them as enemies. The point that Hinton is trying to express is that PonyBoy thinks the socs have it all because they have money, cars, good grades e.t.c. He doesn’t think that they have any worries. An example of this is when PonyBoy says “I really couldn’t see what the socs had to sweat about – good grades, good cars, good girls – man I thought, if I had worries like that I’d consider myself lucky.”

In the novel, it is seen that the socs can get away with things without any consequences just because they are wealthy. The greasers get the blame just because they’re seen to be “bad”. Since the greasers have a “bad reputation”, if something bad were to happen it would probably get blamed on them. PonyBoy thinks it’s unfair that the greasers get treated differently from the socs. He thinks that they can be just as good as they are. In the novel, PonyBoy says “It wasn’t fair for the socs to have everything. We were just as good as them; it wasn’t our fault that we were greasers.”

Ponyboy’s opinion of the Socs begins to change through his interactions with Cherry Valance. After he meets her at the movie theatre, Ponyboy begins to realize that the Socs are human just like greasers. He had only thought of the Socs as a group, rather than thought of them as individuals. Hinton shows this change through language in the novel when Cherry says “Things are rough all over.” What Cherry means by this is that everyone has issues, even her privileged Soc friends. She explains to Ponyboy that Socs experience a lot of peer pressure and must keep their reputations at all times.

In conclusion, The Outsiders written by S.E Hinton is a story of family problems, friendships, loss, murder and how relationships can change and develop over time. Darry and Ponyboy’s relationship changes for the better. At the start, it goes from them not understanding each other and their struggles, to them talking it out and getting along. The greasers and the socs finally become civil with each other as they learn to accept that everyone can have problems regardless of how wealthy or poor you are. From the novel I have learnt that even though some people seem to “have everything” it doesn’t mean that they are happy and that we shouldn’t judge people, we all have our struggles and issues that not everyone knows about.

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