Literary Analysis – The Outsiders
This is an essay over S. E. Hinton’s novel, The Outsiders. In this essay I will be using the following literary terms: symbolism, allusions, and foreshadowing. I will also be giving several examples of these literary terms. The background of this novel is about two rival gangs named the Greasers and the Socials (or Socs). To begin with, I will be using foreshadowing. Here in this quote, “Things gotta get better, I figured they couldn’t get worse. I was wrong,” it foreshadows the fact that things can get worse.
Like the fight in the park between the Socs and the Greasers that resulted in the death of the Greaser’s member and friend, Bob Sheldon. Also, before the fight and after Johnny and Ponyboy got jumped, Johnny threatened to kill any Soc that tried to jump the greasers again. That foreshadowed Johnny killing a Soc, because when he did that, he and Ponyboy had to run and hide in a church.
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Next, I will be using allusions. Ponyboy first speaks aloud to a work of literature in Chapter 1, when he compares himself to Pip from Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations.
” As he lies dying in Chapter 9, Johnny speaks these words to Ponyboy; “Stay gold. ” Those words are a reference to a Robert Frost poem that Ponyboy repeats to Johnny when the two are trying to hide out in the Windrixville Church. One line in the poem reads, “Nothing gold can stay,” which means that all good things must come to an end. Finally, the last and final literary element I will be using is symbolism. In, The Outsiders, symbols that would make a connection would be sunrise and sunset.
For example, when Ponyboy and Cherry are connecting at the movies on the topic of sunsets, Ponyboy realizes that all humans are linked through the natural world. But, when Ponyboy is angry and upset with Cherry’s willingness to help the Socials before the rumble and after Bob’s death, he uses the topic about sunrises to help calm or settle the situation. Using sunrise again, it is a much closer connection between Ponyboy and Johnny. The climax of this connection would be when the two boys are watching the sunrise together on top of Jay Mountain and after Ponyboy repeated the poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost.
When Johnny tells Ponyboy, “I never noticed colors and clouds and stuff until you kept reminding me about them. It seems like they were never there before,” Johnny finally realizes what experiencing new things feels like, and he is joyful about it. By Johnny seeing the sun at that moment, it is truly new to him because he opens his eyes wide to the natural world. At this moment in the book, Johnny is not the only one that feels joy, because Ponyboy is just happy to find someone that shares his vision of the natural world. When Ponyboy tells Johnny, “You ain’t like any of the gang.
I mean, I couldn’t tell them about the sunrise and clouds and stuff,” this helps us understand how he is handling his friend’s death. The use of symbolism, allusions, and foreshadowing are the main tools of choice for S. E. Hinton. Through these different types of literary terms used, it gives the reader a deeper understanding of characters and how they relate to each other in the storyline. When you are just looking at it, it’s not just two gangs fighting each other; it’s really a more complex story. Overall, the story becomes more complicated when examined using these forms of literary terms.