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The Choices in S. E. Hinton’s Novel The Outsiders

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Choices are made evew clay, by everyone, even/where. With each choice, comes a consequence, some beneficial and others catastrophic. In SE. Hinton’s novel, The Outsiders, a brutal rivalry takes place between the Socs, the rich kids from the west, and the Greasers, the hoods from the east. Johnny, a Greaser and key character throughout the book, makes several crucial decisions that significantly impact the plot such as, rescuing the children from the burning church, fatally stabbing Bob, and deciding to turn himself in. The most critical choice Johnny made is rescuing the kids from the fire. Johnny and Ponyboy were coming back from Dairy Queen when they saw the church, their hideout, was on fire. They rushed in to save the children trapped in the church only thinking, “We started it. We started it. We started it!” (Hinton 91). There is much emphasis on the words “we started it” showing the reader that they must fix the problem they have started.

This decision was vital to the storyline because Johnny needed to redeem himself, “It was worth saving those kids. Their lives are more important than mine, they have more to live for“ (Hinton 178). Johnny’s first instinct to take responsibility for the fire they may have caused shows that he doesn’t want others to suffer due to his ignorance He shows great heroism by running into the burning building without a second thought for his own safety. Johnny‘s courageous act ultimately led to his death and inspired Ponyboy to write about his experiences and to pursue a better path in his life, Another noteworthy choice Johnny makes is when he fatally stabs Bob, a Soc, to save Ponyboy and himself from getting beat up and possibly killed, It was late at night, Ponyboy and Johnny were at the park when Bob and a couple of his friends pulled up in their blue Mustang.

Following an exchange of insults, they grabbed Ponyboy and start drowning him. Johnny took a blade from his pocket stabbed Bob in an act of self—defense, ”I had to. They were drowning you, Ponyboy. They might have killed you. And they had a blade…they were gonna beat me up” (Hinton 57). Johnny had made this decision under tight circumstances to save Ponyboy, He had done it for self-defense but even then it caused him tremendous guilt, “I killed him. How‘d you like to live with that?” (Hinton 74). Johnny‘s empathetic character comes out here due to him feeling bad for the very person who tried to kill him. Killing Bob kick-started a chain of events that led to an adventure no one can undo. Lastly, Johnny makes the difficult and imponant choice of turning himself in. Johnny and Ponyboy were picked up by Dally and were sitting at Dairy Queen gorging on some burgers when johnny announces, “We’re goin‘ back and turn ourselves in” (Hinton 87). He feels “I got a good chance of bein’ let off easy“ (Hinton 87). From Johnny’s tone of voice. you can see he feels as if he deserves to be in jail.

He made a regretful chorce and, as a result, he has to serve its consequences. In addition, he dragged Ponyboy with him, “It ain’t fair for Ponyboy to have to stay up in that church”(Hinton 87). Johnny shows a large amount of sympathy towards Ponyboy. going to jail so that Ponyboy wouldn’t suffer. Even when being told, ”Us Greasers get it worse than anyone else”(Hinton 87). Johnny kept a straight face and took responsibility for his actions. To conclude, saving the children from the church fire, fatally stabbing Bob, and deciding to turn himself to the cops, all bring out the good in Johnny. He always made many choices with the right intentions in mind and from these three choices, Johnny has changed. Going from a quiet, submissive boy to a courageous one with a kind heart, Although dead, he is not forgotten, because the aftermath of his three most important decisions has caused Ponyboy to share his side of the stow in The Outsiders.

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The Choices in S. E. Hinton’s Novel The Outsiders. (2022, Nov 30). Retrieved from

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