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    The Changes We Make (1068 words)

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    Shawn Mendes, a Canadian singer, sang the following lyrics in the song “Understand:” “Changing isn’t a bad thing and it never was. But at the end of the day, you know, you’re the same person. And, where your heart is, that doesn’t change.” People can’t change others around them but they can change their own way of living life and perceiving it. Over time, anyone can drastically change themselves and their disposition. However, some things inside them and some of their values will always stay the same. In the book The Outsiders, The Greasers and Socs are two groups that split apart the city where Ponyboy and his gang live. They constantly face the fear of getting jumped or assaulted. Most character’s lives are surrounded around the fact that everyone can get hurt at any moment. Throughout the book, many characters deal with the dilemma of speaking their mind or staying hidden in the shadows. In the novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hilton, Johnny Cade and Darry Curtis are dynamic characters who go through tremendous changes.

    First, Johnny Cade’s personality changes from a meek boy to a man ready to risk everything for the people he loves. In the beginning of the novel, Ponyboy Curtis, the main character and narrator, is jumped by a group of Socs. He then briefly describes his gang. Johnny Cade is one of the characters he describes: “Johnny Cade was last and least. If you can picture a little dark puppy that has been kicked too many times and is los in a crowd of strangers, you’ll have Johnny… If it hadn’t been for the gang, Johnny would never have known what love and affection are” (11-12). Johnny is described as a very shy boy, unloved and uncared for, similar to a hurt puppy. He had been mugged in the past and since then, he rarely voiced his opinions. At the beginning of the novel, he was mostly viewed as the pet of the gang, even though he had a slight build. Towards the end of the novel, Johnny and Ponyboy escape to the city after committing a heinous crime.

    They find a small abandoned church and decide to stay there for about a week, hopping the police will look in looking other places. Once safe, another Greaser, Dally, finds them and escorts them home. As they begin the trek back home, they notice the church they had previously been hiding in engulfed in flames. Without any hesitation, the two boys sprint towards the Church and discover a group of trapped children. They run in and instantly begin to save the children’s lives by pulling them out of the fire. “Johnny shoved me towards the window. ‘Get out!’ I leaped out the window and heard timber crashing and the flames roaring right behind me. I staggered, almost falling, coughing , and sobbing for breath. Then I heard Johnny scream…” (93).

    Johnny risked his life for the well being of others. Entering the church on fire proves that Johnny has a good heart. He is now a risk taker who will do what needs to be done in order to help others. After the church incident, he and Ponyboy are brought to the hospital where they find out Johnny has broken his back as well as burned his body. This clearly exemplifies a tremendous change in character. To sum up, Johnny Cade changed completely over the course of this novel by taking risks and speaking his mind.

    Next, Darry Curtis changes from a tough man to a sweet a loving brother. After Ponyboy is harassed by the Socs, his gang checks up on him. His gang also encompasses his two brothers, Sodapop Curtis and Darry Curtis. Darry gets upset at Ponyboy saying he should not have been walking alone in the first place. This upsets Ponyboy because Darry is always tough and mean to him, and his brother Sodapop has a much better relationship with him. Later that night, Ponyboy thinks about how Darry views him: “Darry though I was just another mouth to feed and somebody to holler at. Darry love me? I thought of those hard, pale eyes. Soda was wrong for once, I thought. Darry doesn’t love anyone or anything, except maybe Soda. I didn’t hardly think of him as being human” (18).

    This quote shows that Ponyboy can’t view his brother in a loving way. He can’t see him as kind to others because he is trying to be tough and cool. Later on, when Ponyboy is taken out of the church with Johnny to the hospital, Darry and Sodapop come to see him after a week full of worry not knowing where he was. They both stand there for a minute staring at Ponyboy. All that goes through Ponyboy’s mind is how Darry does not love and care for him: “Suddenly I realized, horrified that Darry was crying. He didn’t make a sound, but tears were running down his cheeks… Darry did care about me, maybe as much as he cared about Soda, and because he cared he was trying too hard to make something of me” (98).

    Darry at first is very tough on Ponyboy and although he does love him, he does not show that side of himself. He shows the tougher side. As the novel continues, he finally shows his true and loving side. This is shown by a tear rolling down his cheek when he sees Ponyboy after a week of worry. At that moment, Ponyboy realize Darry truly loves him but just doesn’t show it. Darry changes his bold and tough image and starts showing people his sweet and caring side as well. All in all, Darry changes from strong and tough to a loving and caring one.

    In conclusion, Johnny Cade and Darry Cusis are dynamic characters in the novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hilton. Over the course of the novel, they change to improve themselves even with terrible surroundings. Having the same image all one’s life isn’t always the best thing. As long as you stay with the right values, everything will work out. Both characters changed for the better in this book while putting their image aside. Referring back to the song cited in the beginning by Shawn Mendes, “Changing isn’t a bad thing and it never was.”

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    The Changes We Make (1068 words). (2021, Aug 20). Retrieved from

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