Symbolism in The Outsiders Essay Example
Do you realize everything around you can have a different meaning for different people? The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is about a 14 year old boy, Ponyboy Curtis who is in a gang with his brothers, Sodapop and Darry, and closest friend, Johnny. The book shows the day to day life of this gang and the unlucky times they have to deal with the enemy group, the Socs along with problems within their own gang. Symbols like the sunset, Mickey Mouse, and the Socs blue mustang gives a deeper meaning behind these Socs and Greasers lives and personality.
The symbol of the sunset represents the Greasers and Socs are connected despite not looking so in hindsight. The quote “It seemed funny to [Ponyboy] that the sunset [Cherry] saw from her patio and the one [he] saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds [they] lived in weren’t so different.” (p. 40-41) displays this idea. This quote shows that people can be from two completely different places and can be polar opposites, but there is always something that can make people realize that maybe they aren’t so different from someone. This means that no matter what person the Greasers and Socs were, they can look past their differences and realize they are living in the same world and experiencing the same hardships. Therefore, recurring symbols like the sunsets show a deeper understanding of the two gangs.
Another important symbol that represents a member from the Greasers is Sodapop’s horse, Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse was Soda’s horse and, “Soda had bawled all night long after they came and got Mickey Mouse. [Ponyboy] had cried, too, if you want to know the truth, because Soda never really wanted anything except a horse, and he’d lost his.” (p. 40).This shows that Soda never wanted anything big in life, he was content with what he had and never took anything for granted. Mickey Mouse being taken away from him made him realize he should enjoy little things in life, his horse represents how his personality came to be, in other words, how “he gets drunk on just plain living.”(p. 8) Important things in each characters lives help develop their personality and change how they act in the future.
For the Socs, the symbol that gives a deeper understanding of them and their lifestyle is their “tuff” blue mustang. When Ponyboy, Johnny, and Two-Bit were going to take Cherry and Marcia home, Cherry noticed their boyfriends were coming, “[They] all looked and saw a blue Mustang coming down the street. Johnny made a small noise in his throat and when [Ponyboy] looked at him he was white.”(p.41) This shows that the wealth and power the Socs have over the Greasers change the way the Greasers start to act and feel, like Johnny getting scared. This is because the Greasers know that since the Socs have the high ground over them when it comes to a society, they need to get defensive. The social status of the Socs has a lasting effect on the Greasers way of life.
Many things can have different meanings in everyone’s life, in terms of the Greasers and Socs, things like blue mustangs, sunsets, and Mickey Mouse affects them and their lifestyle. The use of symbolism in this book gives an insight into real peoples lives and how things can change how a person acts, feels, or behaves. Hinton’s use of symbolism makes us think about our thoughts, feelings, and ideas of ourselves and others.