The Outsiders is a novel written by a youngster about his fellow peers. It is narrated in a first-person style, and the narrator is a 14-year old boy. The novel tackles issues that are affecting the youth. The book was written in the 1960s, but interestingly the issues mentioned in the story are still the same ones affecting the teens today. Ponyboy Curtis is the main character who narrates the story, and the audience sees the events through his eyes. No adults are featuring in the novel; however, the issues discussed in the book touch all adults and everyone else since the emotions as well as the problems the characters encounter are universal. One of the prominent subjects in the story is the issue of choices and how they affect every facet of one’s life. The paper shall discuss how Ponyboy’s choices affected his life and many things that he experienced.
As the story starts, Ponyboy Curtis is walking home alone from the movie theater. It is interesting to see that Ponyboy knew that it is not safe to walk home alone, but he walks anyway. Along the way, a car starts following him, and there come the members of the affluent Westside gang known as Socials. The members attack him, and it is only after his cries woke up his brother’s and fellow greasers do the Socials run away. Ponyboy chose to go home alone yet he knew it was dangerous and he could have been killed along the way.
“Leave my kid brother alone, you hear! It ain’t his fault he likes to go to the movies, and it ain’t his fault the Socs like to jump us, and if he had been good at carryin’ a blade it would have been a good excuse to cut him to ribbons” (1.61).
Ponyboy here is coming from a movie and maybe just wants a quiet time, but it seems it was a wrong choice to walk alone.
In the novel, many aspects limit Ponyboy’s choices and those of his friends like lack of finances and fear of brutality. For example, as stated above, Ponyboy may have wanted some quiet time alone hence walked home alone; however, he gets attacked along the way. There were other instances when Ponyboy wanted to be alone contemplating and meditating; however, that is not precisely an option (Hinton 15). He has to be with his fellow gang member to be safe. Darry, on the other hand, did very well in school and sports, and later got a scholarship, but he could not afford the financial burden of college.
As the novel continues, Ponyboy begins to feel less entrapped as he gets to know about the choices that he has such as the choices of violence and non-violence and he starts to exercise them. When Johnny kills Bob, a member of the rival gang, he and Ponyboy had to run away. They hid in an abandoned church, which one day caught fire while children who had gone to picnic were inside. They manage to save the children, but they get injured in the process. The choice of saving the children made them heroes. Johnny ended up dying late in the hospital, and Dallas is severely affected. He robs a store and brandishes his firearm towards the police and ends up being killed. It is here that Ponyboy realizes the negative impacts of violence (Hinton 35). Following the murder of Bob, Ponyboy was nearly sent to jail. Maybe if he had obeyed his brother’s curfew of being home by midnight, the tragedy would not have happened. Also spending time with the rivals’ girlfriends was a wrong move. It led to Bob later fighting them resulting in his death. The fight would have not have happened had they ignored the girls.
Ponyboy recognized that he has a choice to make and turn his life around less he ends up like his friend Dallas or Bob. He pledges to help underprivileged kids. Choices indeed did impact Ponyboy’s life. Some of the tragedies like losing his friends made him realize that violence cannot solve anything; in fact, it causes even more problems.
Hinton, S. E. The Outsiders. 1967. Puffin, 1997.