THE OUTSIDERS 4
It is not always good to “judge a book by its cover”. This is themessage that comes along as one observes how Ponyboy’s attitudechanges all through . The novel, by S. E. Hinton,narrates how Ponyboy Curtis struggles with what is appropriate orinappropriate in a society where he feels as an outsider. Thecharacter lives with two brothers, Darrel and Sodapop. The novel is a“coming-of-age” genre because the events that unfold demonstratePonyboy’s growth from a child to a more mature and understandingcharacter. At first, Pony is quick to judge people as bad andhateful, but as he begins to learn why they act contrary to how hesupposes they should, he becomes more understanding. This is apparentthrough Pony’s change in attitude towards Darry, the Soc’s andhis life.
Pony’s attitude toward Darry changes from judging him asinconsiderate to seeing him as a caring person. The novel begins bydemonstrating Pony’s resentment towards Darry. He sees Darry as tooharsh and a bother. Although he recognizes the sacrifices made byDarry in raising him and Sodapop, he still views Darry as uncaring.However, in the fifth chapter, in the incidence where Darry and Sodaare at the hospital and Pony sees Darry crying he realizes that Darrycares a lot about him. Pony recalls that Darry did not even cry afterthe death of the parents and appreciates that “Darry did care aboutme, maybe as much as he cared about Soda, and because he cared he wastrying to make something of me” (Hinton, 1967). He questions why“he thought him as hard and unfeeling” (Hinton, 1967). In thetenth chapter, in instances when Pony clarifies from Soda whetherDarry is worried, it depicts his change in concern towards Darry. Itimplies that Pony is now worried about Darry’s feelings.
Pony stops hating the Socs and begins to understand that they are asnormal as the “greasers” are. Similar to what the greasersbelieve, Pony initially supposes that because the Socs are wealthy,they tend to despise the greasers. Hence, he demonstrates a lot ofhatred towards Socs. This is apparent when he says that they aremerely good in school and get good grades. However, as the narrativecontinues Pony starts to realize that socs are no different fromgreasers. It happens in the incident when Johnny murders a soc. Itimplies that socs are equally susceptible to similar issues asgreasers. In later chapters, Pony befriends Cherry. The friendshipacts as the catalyst that changes Pony’s attitude towards Socs. The comment by Pony to Cherry “we aren’t in the same class, justdon’t forget that some of us watch the sunset too” (Hinton,1967), shows that Pony acknowledges that though socs may be rich,they still experience the same things as greasers. As they relatePony realizes that, though they may be wealthy compared to greasers,Socs still face life challenges and struggle in life too.
Pony changes from an innocent to brave and mature character. Pony’sheroism is apparent during the incidence of the burning church.Realizing that there are children in the church, Pony and Johnny rushinside to save the children. The incident results in them beingreferred as heroes, “juvenile delinquents turn heroes” (Hinton,1967). It is apparent that Pony is no longer an innocent boy, butsomeone brave enough to risk his life when saving the children. Ponyhas become mature which is apparent when one of the socs confrontshim. Instead of retaliating with a fight, he says, “I’d fight ifI thought it’d do any good” (Hinton, 1967). It means that he isnow mature and does not see any relevance of gang rivalry.
takes readers through the changing attitude ofPony towards Darry, as he begins to appreciate that Darry cares moreabout his wellbeing. Pony stops viewing the socs as any betterbecause they are wealthier and appreciates that they also facesimilar life challenges and greasers. Eventually Pony becomes amature and brave character, as he saves the children and stops toengage in gang rivalry.
Hinton, S. E. (1967). Theoutsiders. New York:Scholastic.