Satire In The Outsiders

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Literature acts as a vehicle to position readers in varying scenarios, catalysing social reform. S.E Hinton’s bildungsroman novel, “ The Outsiders” ( 1967 ) builds on 60s social constructs to challenge audience’s viewpoints on the maturity of youth and the misleading nature of the American Dream. Opposing 60’s dismissal of adolescents, the author highlights the impact of such ignorance to establish empathy in the audience, forcing them to reconsider the validity of supposed “teenage recklessness”. Furthermore, Hinton employs Ponyboy as an archetype of a juvenile delinquent/low socio-economic status to dispute common notions surrounding similar disenfranchised groups, encouraging readers to consider the futility of the American Dream. The …show more content…

Owing to 60’s counterculture movements, the public rejection of traditional views became mainstream, allowing for wider perspectives to emerge. The novel responds to such growing social reform , utilising Ponyboy to represent hundreds wishing to break free from the cycle of poverty, thereby echoing frustrations on the American Dream’s inequality. Ponyboy analyses the landscape around him to decide on a neutral stance in the greaser-soc feud. His clarity on social conflicts is evident as he comments on page 4: “ I'm not saying that either Socs or greasers are better; that's just the way things are. “After establishing Ponyboy’s socio-economic status in chapter 1, the frustration felt by greasers is alluded to in Chapter 9 where Ponyboy laments his social standing, indirectly presenting a rhetorical question on the nature of the world and communicating feelings of dissatisfaction at being wrongly suspected for stealing just because of his greaser identity. Contrary to the era’s promise of meritocracy, all the novel portrays as ponyboy’s experiences is class conflict and hostility. Towards the novel’s climax, the protagonist faces numerous glimpses of a better life as symbolised through interactions with Soc characters and a glimmer of fame after the Windrixville fire , but ultimately realises that his fleeting moments of hope were

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