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Although published in 1967, Outsiders by S.E Hinton an easy-to-read narrative is still relevant to many teenagers today. Darry and Sodapop host a ‘good cop, bad cop’ bringing up and complimenting one another’s stern affection for Ponyboy. However, Pony also feels Darry is pushing and expects too much of him which is collateral to teenagers today. Hinton also shows one’s growth by their capability to view things undividedly and on a wider spectrum. The novel is written in a fourteen-year-old’s voice and assists in creating and displaying his growth and emotions.

Ponyboy’s relationship with his two brothers symbolizes a traditional dual-parent relationship. Much like many typical parents Darry takes a father figure. He is a disciplinarian and a stern rule maker however is successful as he always knows “where I (Ponyboy)” and “what he is doing”. While Sodapop sticks up for Pony and reiterates Darry’s love and sacrifice for him. The Greasers look for love and a sense of belonging and turn to the gang for this whereas many teens today can find this in their household. Pony’s eventual ability to appreciate his family and the sacrifices made for him at the end of the book shows his growth and maturity. This is an evident similarity between teens today who are maturing into adults in this modern age and showcases the importance of family in one’s future values

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The recurring theme of expectations throughout Hinton’s novel is a painful similarity to how many teenagers feel today under exam or career stress. Ponyboy feels Darry wants him to get nothing but A’s however wants him to be supportive regardless of what grade he gets. Hinton puts forward that even teens who are brought up in socioeconomic security feel great expectations and pressure that they must succeed given they have “everything given” to them. This shows their status does not guarantee a problem-free childhood which is very congruent with children brought up in this fashion. Darry as a guardian also finds much potential in Ponyboy and as a result is very firm on his performance given he would like Pony to go to college, something he was unable to achieve. In the same manner as many teens today Ponyboy doesn’t recognize his meaningful intentions at first and later finds the importance to his future.

In a “black and white” world where things are either cat or dog, Hinton’s use of colors suggests there is a middle field. Many of the greasers were associated with cool colors, Dally’s eyes were “blue blazing with ice, cold with hatred” which reflected his dark meaningless manner while Two-Bit Mathews had “gray eyes” showing his uncomplex personality of simple structure with the capacity to love and care within his gang. Socs are mentioned alongside warm colors where warmth is usually thought of inside and cool features belong outside which is the way many gang members of the greasers feel, treated unfairly and unjustly by others. Pony’s fascination with sunsets and later his appreciation of the countryside around the church in which they hid symbolizes his ability to slow down and think from a wider point of view where things aren’t good or bad, pretty or ugly, naughty or nice. He “loved to look at the colors of the fields and soft shadings of the horizon” and kept him “gold”. This is similar to teenagers where all things are new and heightened.

S.E Hinton’s well-written fiction by a fourteen-year-old is relatable and relevant to teenagers today. The author intends for the reader to take something away from the novel. It shows that even the rough streets of Oklahoma aren’t just good or bad and engages us to analyze the content deeper. Hinton plays with the boundaries of stereotypes and uses a complex character base with deep connections. It also emphasizes the importance of family and supports the phase of maturity which proves collateral with a wide range of teenagers today.

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Essay on Symbolism in ‘The Outsiders’.
(2024, February 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from

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