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Teenager Challengers in Xxth Century America: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

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One of the most vital aspects as to why the publication had so much triumph was its real connection to readers’ lives at home and in society. As stated before, Hinton made it known that she wanted to write a novel that was “real, graphic, emotional, and true to the challenges of being a teenager in twentieth-century America” rather than the pacified stories about proms and dates. One of the most effective methods of intriguing readers in a narrative is to make the piece engaging and relatable, which is exactly what Hinton aimed for and accomplished. Hinton’s novel was written based on real events occurring at the time, events that many teenagers experienced, which made it effortless to perceive and grasp. During the 1950s, it was not uncommon to find “Greasers” in the Midwest United States. The “Greasers” are tough teens and youngsters who come from low-income families, some even living without parents. Some have parents who were killed in accidents, while others are orphaned from being kicked out or abused by their parents. Life is ultimately hard for the “Greasers,” with most dropping out of school and having to find their jobs. The young men frequently feud with the upper-class “Socs” who tease and make fun of them. It is hard for the “Greasers” the find acceptance in their community due to their broken backgrounds, which is why many readers can correlate to the story. Thousands of teenagers at the same time dealt with domestic troubles at home as well as in school with their peers. Even today, it is hard for many people, not just young adults, to find acceptance in the world. Whether it be at work, school, or home, almost everyone has been through some form of distress.

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Furthermore, the character’s opinions are parallel compared to those of the audience. As previously stated, The Outsiders is aimed at an audience of teenagers. The publication tackles many ideas and thoughts that are relevant to the lives of the readers. In the novel, Ponyboy and Johnny, the two central figures, are greeted by some drunken “Socs” who try to drown Ponyboy. Johnny has much hatred towards the “Socs” because they had previously tried to attack him. The angry Johnny decides to save Ponyboy and kills a “Soc” in the process (“Plot Summary: The Outsiders”). Johnny does not want to kill a “Soc” on purpose, but he does so to save his friend who is the only form of “family” that he has. Shortly after, the pair flee out of town to a remote area, where they seek asylum. The duo then goes on to save a group of children who are trapped in a burning church (“Plot Summary: The Outsiders”). Saving the children implies that the boys could get caught, but they proceed to do so because they know it is an equitable action. Ponyboy also has many arguments with his older brother, Darrel. Ponyboy often feels like he can never please Darrel, much like many teenagers feel they cannot please their parents. 

In conclusion. Many of the “Greasers” actions were honorable, however, not in the eyes of everyone. The “Greasers” perpetrate a few offenses that are done to help each other out, even if it is against the law. Some readers can relate, possibly experiencing or having experienced similar hardships of their own. If placed in the same situation, most individuals would likely take the same measures as Johnny and Ponyboy did, based on having good morals. It is part of human nature to do what feels right, which is exactly what Ponyboy and Johnny do continuously throughout the plot.  

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