The Outsiders Theme Essay Example

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Words: 505 Pages: 2
  • Published: 25 May 2021
  • Copied: 113

“There was a quiet moment when everything held its breath, and then the sun rose,” - S.E. Hinton. In The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, Ponyboy Curtis tries to fight through the world of social constructs filled with Greasers and Socs, in order to have a successful future. However, that all goes downhill when he gets involved in a Soc murder. As we follow his point of view in the book, all throughout sunsets, hair, and cars symbolize importance to the Socs and Greasers.

In the book, sunsets are repeatedly brought up to represent that the two rival gangs live in the same world, despite their many differences, and they all still have their hardships. This is shown in the quote, “Maybe the two worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset,” (Hinton, 41). This quote shows that Ponyboy realized the world isn’t all black and white, despite the worlds of differences between the Socs and Greasers. This is because they were still human, and both saw the same sunset everyday. The role of sunsets in The Outsiders was to connect the common theme of humanity between the two rival gangs.

To the Greasers, hair is an important trait that identifies them as part of the gang. For example, “‘No, Johnny, not my hair!’ It was my pride. It was long and silky, just like Soda’s, only a little redder. Our hair was tuff- we didn’t have to use much grease on it. Our hair labeled us greasers, too- it was our trademark,” (Hinton, 71). This quote represents when Johnny was going to cut Pony’s hair off, but he didn’t want to lose his look. This is because it defines him from an ordinary crowd, marking his social status as a Greaser. Overall, hair is a valuable asset among all the gangsters in the east side, so they can be associated with each other when people see their physical appearance.

Cars, specifically blue Mustangs, are brought up multiple times in the novel to exemplify the wealth of the Socs and how they are a threat to the Greasers. This representation is show in the quote, “He had been hunting our football to practice a few kicks when a blue Mustang had pulled up beside the lot. There were four Socs in it. They had caught him and one of them had a lot of rings on his hand- that’s what had cut Johnny up so badly,” (Hinton, 33). The quote informs us on how Johnny got beat up by Socs who exited a blue Mustang, showing us that these cars are infamous among the Greasers. This is because most Socs drive the expensive cars, and the west side kids known to pick fights with the Greasers. Furthermore, blue Mustangs convey a threat to the protagonists in the novel.

Throughout the novel, symbolism can be found left and right, with the main purpose of having readers relate to the novel. Three recurring symbols found in the book to represent deeper implications include sunsets, hair, and cars. Overall, the audience of The Outsiders can take away the moral that not everything in life will go your way and sometimes you’re born into things you can’t change, like social status, but you shouldn’t let those things define you.



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