Free Study Guide: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton - Free BookNotes|
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THE OUTSIDERS: ONLINE STUDY GUIDE / FREE SUMMARY
Still struggling with writing his English assignment, Pony picks up Johnny’s copy of Gone with the Wind. A slip of paper falls from the book; it is a letter from Johnny in which he states that it is worth dying to save the kids from the burning church. He again tells Pony to enjoy sunsets and remain “gold” forever. The letter closes with Johnny’s reminder that there is still a lot of good in the world.
After reading the letter, Pony finally accepts that Johnny is dead. He acknowledges that he has been denying his death as a defense mechanism against the hurt that he feels. He will always remember Johnny as a good friend who really listened to people and cared about their problems.
Inspired by Johnny’s words to him, Pony decides that he will adopt a mission
for his life; he will tell everyone he can about the problems that underprivileged
young people, like himself, must face everyday. He hopes that his explanations
will bring about action and improvement for the poor children. When he
makes this commitment, Pony feels more optimistic about his life than
ever before; he no longer has a grudge against the world. As a result,
the novel ends on a positive, optimistic note.
Even though Pony is acquitted (found not guilty), he still struggles over the deaths of Bob, Dally, and Johnny; he just cannot seem to get his life back together. When the Socs challenge him outside the grocery store, Pony realizes that he has lost the capacity to respond emotionally to anything. He did not feel “scared, mad or anything;” he simply broke a bottle and threatened the Socs with it, scaring them away.
Pony is behind with his schoolwork and struggles to catch up. His English teacher tells him that if he writes a very good semester theme, he will pass him with a grade of C. Pony, however, has trouble concentrating and cannot write the paper. Darry scolds him for his lack of effort, and the two of them get into a fight. Darry tells Pony that he cannot stop living because he has lost Johnny and Dally. Bothered by the shouting between his two brothers, Soda runs out of the house. Darry and Pony go after him. Soda explains that he is sick of being the go-between for them and advises them to patch up their differences. The three brothers reconcile and feel closer than ever before.
When he goes back home, Pony again tries to write his English composition,
but the words will not come. He picks up Johnny’s copy of Gone With
the Wind, and a letter addressed to Pony falls out. Johnny states
that it was worth dying to save the children from the fire. He then again
tells Pony that he should remain “gold” and that there is a lot of good
in the world. Johnny’s words have a profound affect on Pony. He decides
he must do something to rise above the Greasers and improve his plight
in life. His mission will become to tell others about the problems faced
by underprivileged children and seek help for them. In making this commitment,
Pony feels more optimistic than ever before in his life. He will begin
his mission by writing about it in his English theme. As the novel closes,
there is an upbeat note of hope and optimism.
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. 09 May 2017