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The Expression of Powerful Human Experiences in The Outsiders by Susan Eloise Hinton

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“Powerful novels are valued for expressing views about human experiences”. The novel we have been studying in class is called “Outsiders”, and I will use this book and discuss the above statement. Susan Eloise Hinton is the author of this book, in which she wrote when she was still in high school. The Outsiders show the effect that social standing has on a person.

The author of the book demonstrates the sad effect that somebody’s social standing can have on an individual, even when they cannot help it. In the case of this novel, Ponyboy Curtis is the character with this sad effect. Ponyboy Curtis is a part of a lower-class group in Oklahoma youths called “Greasers”. How Ponyboy relates to human experiences is that he is smart at school but sometimes does not think properly. It also relates to real-life experiences in the fact that he lost his parents in a car accident at just the age of 8 months.

Unfortunately, some people relate to this situation. He also has a gang who call themselves the “Socs” (short for Socials), but as he has people who dislike him, this relates to the human experience. “You got cut up a little, huh, Ponyboy”, a quote said by Sodapop after Ponyboy got attacked by the “Socs” because it is visible that Ponyboy got attacked.

Another human experience that relates to this book is violence amongst teens. This book consists of gang violence, child abuse, stabbings and even shootings. This novel shows that Ponyboy can’t even walk home from a movie theatre without being attacked. This can and does occur to people who are merely walking on the footpath.

Unfortunately, the violence in this book can easily be related to human experiences with everything going on around the world. When gangs/groups attack or jump people, they typically do it in gangs which is what happened to Ponyboy with the “Socs”. Another character in this book also had a similar experience to Ponyboy; his name is Johnny. Johnny is your typical human, and even though “Johnny wouldn’t hurt a fly”, he always carried around a switchblade for his safety, in which some people have one in close possession most of the time.

The third human experience that this book expresses is his friends and family. Ponyboy is exceptionally close to many people; he even considers some friends, family. Most of his friends would relate to some people and their friends and family. Sodapop Curtis, the middle child and the happy-go-lucky handsome brother. Two-bit Matthews, whose real name is Keith, is the joker of the “Greaser” group, a wisecracking greaser who regularly shoplifts.

Dallas Winston, a “Greaser” who is the toughest out of the group, the most violent out of the group as well. Sodapop also has an older brother, Darry Curtis. All three of these kids lost their parents to a car crash at a very young age. Ponyboy was 14 years old, Sodapop was 16 years old, and Darry was 20, which means that instead of Ponyboy and Darry going into the foster care system but because Darry was 20, he could become their legal guardian.

There is a countless amount of kids whose parents have tragically passed away while they’ve been a kid and as a result of it have had to go into an orphanage. There is also a countless amount of kids whose parent has also died, but they’ve been lucky enough to have a family member over the age 18 to become their legal guardian.

The next human experience is schooling and education. Ponyboy is excellent at school. He is the person who gets straight A’s and occasionally B’s for his subjects. Ponyboy is by far the smartest compared to the rest of the ‘Greasers”. Many people can relate to Ponyboy in this situation. However, in most cases, kids aren’t getting straight A’s and B’s. Many people share the same experience as Ponyboy’s brother, Sodapop.

Sodapop dropped out of high school due to the fact he wasn’t excelling in it. Sodapop indicates that he wasn’t getting much out of school; he didn’t pay attention that often, which resulted in him not knowing much. There is a countless number of teenagers who drop out of school because they’re not enjoying it or they aren’t getting anywhere with it, which is precisely Sodapop’s situation. There is also the eldest brother, Darry. Darry is like Ponyboy when it comes to how smart he is, but Darry is also very athletic.

The gang believes he’s that fit that they call him “Superman” and “Muscles” in which Darry doesn’t get upset about, at all. When the Curtis’ parents were alive, Darry had his heart set on going to college, but unfortunately, his parents passed away, and he focused on getting two jobs to support his two younger brothers so that one day they will have the opportunity to go to college themselves. What Darry did, not going to college and financially helping his family is unfortunately what some families result into. They have a passing of a parent, or in this case, both parents and must help the rest of the family survive and get a good education.

The book “Outsiders”, by Susan Eloise Hinton, demonstrates how influential novels are valued for expressing views about the human experience in many ways. From social standing to violence amount teens, friends and family and even schooling and education. It really shows how novels can be a powerful way to express the human experience.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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The Expression of Powerful Human Experiences in The Outsiders by Susan Eloise Hinton. (2022, Dec 10). Retrieved from

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