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Theme: The Outsiders
Transcript of Theme: The Outsiders
Sometimes the most beneficial and rewarding choices are the most difficult to make when one is in a dangerous and risky situation that impacts others' lives.
Theme: The Outsiders
In The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton uses the plot to show the effect of each character's choices. Each choice affects the next choice, affecting the rest of the story. The first significant choice someone made, is when Johnny killed Bob. This leads to them having to "get somewhere" and "run away" (65). Once they decide to run, they choose to go to Dally, even though he's not a very good friend of them. They could have gone to any one of their friends, but they chose Dally. That choice sent them to the church, where they chose to save the kids in the fire. That choice got Johnny hurt, then die. Johnny's death influenced Dally to run away, rob the store, and die. Each choice created a chain reaction, even though they were the most difficult, they helped move the story along, and taught the characters a lesson, that will benefit them later on.
In the Outsiders, S.E. Hinton uses conflict of humans vs. nature to show how making beneficial and rewarding choices are often the most risky and dangerous choices for the characters Johnny and Ponyboy. In the church where Ponyboy and Johnny were staying, a fire started and kids were trapped inside. Ponyboy and Johnny were faced with the difficult decision to save them or not. "'I'll get them, don't worry!'" said Ponyboy "at a dead run to the church" as he made his one decision to risk his life to save the kids. (99) Ponyboy felt that they "started it", so he goes in to the burning church to do the beneficial act for the kids inside. (99) Ponyboy thinks "I should be scared, I thought with an odd detached feeling, but I'm not", he is risky his life for these kids in a burning church and he doesn't feel scared at all. In the end when they got all the kids out, "Johnny shoved" Ponyboy "toward the window. 'Get out'" Johnny screamed this to Ponyboy. (101) Johnny made the decision to willingly save everyone else and put himself last. This was extremely dangerous, as the roof was about to cave in, but beneficial for the kids. Johnny lost the conflict with nature, however he was rewarded by dying as a hero instead of a
S.E. Hinton uses symbolic characters to develop the theme. Scared for Ponyboy, Johnny considers turning himself to the police after killing Bob even if he "had a deathly fear of cops" and "was scared" (95, 97). His decision to not let him "get into trouble" and have them "go home" was influenced by his care and love of Ponyboy (82). When Johnny tells his plan to Dally, Dally tells Johnny in a "pleading, high voice" that he didn't know "what a few months in jail" and to not come clean (98). "Johnny would've gone back to the church" if Dally had told him to keep "on the run" because he thought deeply that "Dally's word was law" (98). Johnny's major decisions were heavily affected by another character, Dally, who was his idol and role model. That tough decision to make could have saved Johnny and Ponyboy from their unpredictable fate if it was taken sooner
, S.E. Hinton uses the church setting to create the theme of choice. The church is where Johnny and Ponyboy hide when they make the choice to run away from the crime Johnny committed. Johnny and Ponyboy made the choice to go to "an old abandoned church on the top of Jay Mountain"(69) instead of turning themselves in to the police. Also when Ponyboy first arrives "in the country"(71), he believes that he should choose to stay and convince himself that going to the church was a good decision since being in the country is his "dream's come true"(71). When Johnny and Ponyboy made the choice to go to the church they believed it was the best decision to make in their situation.