Self Discovery In S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders

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Teenagers constantly worry what other people think of them: friends, family, even strangers. They’ve all been there. But what teenagers should really be worrying about is what they think of themselves. Teens should not be pressured to choose between what they want to be based on what others want them to be. Yet, teenagers think that their options are limited, and that’s where they take the wrong turn. In The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton presents the idea that self-discovery makes teenagers realize that they don’t have to be pressured to choose what they want to be for the desire to be accepted by others. To begin with, before the big rumble began, Randy, one of the Socs, had a conversation with Ponyboy. They were talking about Bob, the Soc that Johnny killed, and about the rumble. Randy told Pony that he was running away because he didn’t want to confront the gang after they know that he’s not going to the rumble. Ponyboy suggested that running is no good, so Randy said, “...but what can I do? I’m marked chicken if I punk out at the rumble, and I’d hate myself if I didn’t. I don’t know what to do” (Hinton 115). In this …show more content…

Then he showed Ponyboy a newspaper that said: “JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES” (107). Steve commented on the headline: “Y’all were heroes from the beginning.” What he means by this is that Ponyboy has always been a brave person from the beginning, but other people (in this case, the newspaper) think that Ponyboy and Johnny suddenly turned into heroes. This reveals they assumed that Pony and Johnny were just reckless, young souls, running around for fun, but then they suddenly decided to risk their lives to save a bunch of kids in a fire. This doesn’t make sense. People don’t change this suddenly. So, this stereotype implies that some people decided who these kids are, and of course, this is a wrong and unfair way to judge

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