The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton – Book Review
The Outsiders is a young adult fiction that plays the role of many adolescent characters and shows what teenagers from a different day an age were like. With the book being published in the year 1967 and the major differences and changes within society itself, young adults are still attracted into reading it today.
The book is narrated from the perspective of a fourteen year old boy named Ponyboy, who’s known as a ‘greaser’. Unlike the others boys in his gang, he gets amazing grades in school and loves to read books and watch films. Ponyboy came from a ‘broken home’ due to his parents dying in a car crash when he was young, he is a kid with good intentions and is not into violence, does not drink and gets embarrassed by his friends.
The one thing that stands out into why I love this book is how the character of Ponyboy is portrayed, along with all the other characters. It makes the book bring out more of an authentic feeling as a full. It makes the reader think about any ideas or opinions they have towards what a ‘bad’ person really is. The Greasers sort of become almost like the bad guys because they came from the wrong side of their class, leading many of them into having issues with the law, but yet have the power to maintain faithful to one another. The novel plays the perspective of two gangs within the reading, The Greasers, along with their rival, the wealthy ‘Socs’. This distributes the stereotypes in their class and what it feels like to be an outlaw in your society. The adolescent readers can relate with how each of the characters played their role from both very different societies and the different class they are categorized into, this makes them realize that they are not so different after all.
The book can also distribute both the abrupt and long lasting terrors that young adults face through the character of Ponyboy, which can make him and the story relatable. That’s besides the fact that most people have never been caught up with anything that has to deal with murder. Ponyboy is seen in the story to have a lot of respect towards his older brother Darry whom he genuinely looks up to, being the only one he looks up to ever since his parents left. He’s always trying to follow the rules into pleasing Darry. Darry portrays a tough demand on his younger brothers that we view as parental assurance, something that the reader can relate to. The readers can feel sympathetic towards the main character because we know that Ponyboy wants to be like the young adults we have today, who feel the need to fit in and be a part of a social group, but to also be isolated to then try and find who you really are without having to pay attention to what society, friends and family interprets you to be. This can be a major reason as to why kids today are still reading this book.
The Outsiders is a genuine and authentic novel that every teenager should read. It makes the reader think that at the end of the day, as Ponyboy says, “we see the same sunset, and that while we are the ones who create the divides between ourselves, we can also be the ones to challenge them”.
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