The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders

In middle school, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, was one of my favorite books. When I read it again this year I was less impressed. Then I did some research and found out that S.E. Hinton published this book when she was only 17 years old and then I was impressed again.

The novel centers around two main groups of kids, the greasers and the socs. Socs is short for socials, as in the mainstream popular kids. The Outsiders is told from the point of view of Ponyboy Curtis, a 14 year old boy who lives with his two older brothers, Darry and Sodapop. Ponyboy’s best friend is Johnny Cade. Johnny and Ponyboy have both had hard lives considering how young they are. Ponyboy’s parents are both dead and Johnny’s parents don’t care about him at all. The friendship these two boys share is one of the most compelling things about this novel. Both Johnny and Ponyboy have gotten beaten up by the socs. In fact, most of the greasers have gotten into fights with the socs. But this is a suburban world where gangs and gang fights are all too common and this is one of the most realistic aspects of the novel. The Outsiders is full of many themes such as violence, friendship, isolation and loss.

Johnny Cade is the gang’s pet and possibly my favorite character. Everyone loves him despite the fact that he can be somewhat pathetic at times. One thing I love about Johnny is that he has a favorite poem and the fact that he loves poetry is one of the strongest aspects of his character. I love characters who love poetry. Johnny likes to tell Ponyboy that “nothing gold can stay”. This is also the title of the Robert Frost poem that Johnny loves. And this becomes a central theme of the novel and of Johnny’s character as well.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost, 1874 – 1963

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Posted by Naptharoe

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