What does friendship mean to you? Does it reflect your bond with others, or could it be a type of unseeable scale showing how much you trust and care for someone? No matter what this word means to you, there is no denying that the bonds associated with the word hold special meaning to people, and friendship is something we all truly need. Maybe that is the reason it holds groups of people together. Can you imagine what your life would be like without the friendships you have created? It seems like there would not be much to live for. In S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, friendship is the glue that bonds groups of people together and gives them a reason to survive, no matter the difference in wealth or conflicts.
Although Socs and Greasers might not live the same life, both of these “gangs” are held together through friendship. There is nearly nothing that they would not do for other members of their group. We see this to be true whenever Johnny saves Ponyboy’s life by having to murder another person. Johnny is seemingly not a violent kid in his shy description, and you would definitely not expect him to be able to kill someone, no matter the circumstances. This is especially true, since we are aware that Johnny has been easily beaten by the Socs before. It was different for Johnny when he saw that Ponyboy’s life was on the line, when Ponyboy was nearly drowned by a group of Socs. Ponyboy is Johnny’s best friend, and basically his family. We can easily see that this friendship means a lot to Johnny. So, Johnny did what he had to do to keep his friend alive, and that resulted in an act of self-defense that left a young man murdered. After Johnny committed this act of defense, he let Ponyboy know that he did it to save him. Johnny pleads, “I had to. They were drowning you, Pony. And they had a blade…” We know that Johnny ended up committing an unthinkable act because of the importance of his friendship with Ponyboy. This act quickly proved to us how important friendship can truly be.
Friends do stuff for their friends that they would probably not do for just some random person who does not mean much to them. For example, Ponyboy was willing to stay in the church with Johnny, even though he knew that he could stay at home without getting in trouble for the murder. The person who would get in trouble would be Johnny, but Ponyboy was not going to let him get in trouble, because after all, he did save Ponyboy’s life. But through all this, Johnny was still willing to go back home to turn himself in and face the consequences of his actions, because he knew that it wasn’t fair for Ponyboy to have to hide his life away as an innocent boy away from his family. Dally starts questioning Johnny about what his next plans are while they are still hiding out, and Johnny tells him something that could result in Johnny being in lots of trouble. But, he’s doing it for the sake of Ponyboy’s freedom. Johnny explains to Dally, “I’m sure. It ain’t fair for Ponyboy to have to stay up in that church with Darry and Soda worryin’ about him all the time’. Friendship can often lead to you putting the well-being of others over your own well-being, and this example depicts this well. Would your friend drop what they’re doing to come help you if you needed it? That is something that I am sure you have thought about at one point or another. In The Outsiders, Steve, Sodapop, Darry, Two-Bit, and Ponyboy all ran to Dally’s rescue as soon as he called for help. After Johnny passed away, Dally came to his breaking point, and he robbed a grocery store. This caused the cops to be after Dally, so he called the gang for help, even though we later realized that he did not truly want their help. After Darry talks with Dally on the phone, he says, “It was Dally. He phoned from a booth. He’s just robbed a grocery store and the cops are after him. We gotta hide him. He’ll be at the lot in a minute”. The gang did not even think about going to help Dally, it was just instinct to go help their friend while they knew that he was in possible danger. The book reads, “We all left the house at a dead run, even Steve, and I wondered vaguely why no one was doing somersaults off the steps this time”. This really portrays the meaning of friendship, as the boys didn’t even second guess going to help Dally, although it could have landed them in trouble with the police. This is just one more example showing the importance of friendship to this group of boys.
In S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, friendship is the glue that bonds groups of people together and gives them a reason to survive, no matter the difference in wealth or conflicts. The examples that I showed you have backed up this theme very well. I gave you reasons as to why this group of people is held together through friendship, and why their friendship is basically the most stable thing in all of their crazy lives. If some of these boys didn’t have the friendship with the rest of the gang, they would probably have nobody. Too many of them have a bad home life, so this gang is all that they have, and all that they depend on. At the beginning of this essay I asked you if you could picture your life without all of the important friendships or bonds that you have created. So, after reading this essay, do you see why it would be hard to live a life without friendship? I hope you do, because your friendships are a big part of what makes you the way that you are. That is the reason that I chose friendship as the theme of The Outsiders by S.E.
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