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Outsiders Analysis

In Chapter Three of "The Outsiders," Hinton uses the anecdote approach to reveal Soda's love for Mickey Mouse. Appearances and the Greasers' awareness of them are prominent, as Ponyboy feels inadequate. The theme of eyes plays a role, with Ponyboy reading emotions through them. Dreams and foreshadowing are explored, and social injustice and family ties are observed.

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Outsiders Analysis

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  1. Outsiders Analysis Chapter Three

  2. Use of Anecdote • Hinton uses the anecdote approach to tell the story of Soda's horse, Mickey Mouse. • As Ponyboy tells the story to Cherry, the reader learns of it for the first time as well. • The telling not only demonstrates how Ponyboy feels comfortable talking to Cherry, and revealing to her a story he's never told anybody else, but characterizes Soda as capable of intense love for something that he cannot own. • It is also a demonstration of Ponyboy's love for his brother: he tries to save up enough money to buy Mickey Mouse back for Soda.

  3. Appearance • Appearances, especially the Greasers' awareness of how they look around the Socs, are prominent in Chapter 3. • When the Socs stop the boys with Cherry and Marcia, "Two-bit took a long drag on his cigarette, Johnny slouched and hooked his thumbs in his pockets, and I stiffened." Ponyboy notes that, "We can look meaner than anything when we want to - looking tough comes in handy.” • Pg. 44 “I looked at their(the soc’s) clothes and realized for the first time that evening that all I had on was a pair of jeans and Soda’s old navy sweat shirt with the sleeves cut short.” –he feels inadequate about himself.

  4. Appearance • Pg. 46 After Cherry tells Ponyboy she won’t be able to talk to Pony at school or hang out with him he says, “It’s o-k,” I said, wishing I was dead and buried somewhere. Or at least that I had a decent shirt on.” • He wants to be accepted or good enough to be around Cherry, but he doesn’t feel that he is. He wishes at least in appearance he can look good enough.

  5. Theme: Eyes • The theme of eyes plays a big role in this chapter as well. • When Ponyboy lashes out at Johnny and tells him he's not wanted at home, "Johnny's eyes went round and he winced as thought I'd belted him." • Ponyboy also reads Cherry Valance's eyes, too, though: when Two-bit hands him the busted bottle to fight with, Ponyboy pulls Cherry aside to assure her he could never use it, saying, "I had to tell her that, because I'd seen her eyes when Two-bit flicked out his switch." • After Darry slaps Ponyboy, Ponyboy notices that "his eyes were huge.”

  6. Theme: Dreams • Ponyboy dreams of the country as he lies in the vacant lot, watching the stars with Johnny. • Whenever Ponyboy feels that his situation is unbearable, he escapes by fantasizing about how things could be different. • In this case, he is frustrated about being a Greaser, and wishes his parents were alive and that his whole family could escape to the country, "out of towns and away from excitement.” • Johnny wishes for a place where there are no Socs or greasers, just ordinary people. This wish is like a dream.

  7. Foreshadowing • Hinton foreshadows an event in Chapter 6-remember this. • While Ponyboy and Johnny lie in the vacant lot, Ponyboy says, "I saw Johnny's cigarette glowing in the dark and wondered vaguely what it was like inside a burning ember..." (Significant foreshadowing about future events.) • The chapter ends with another bit of foreshadowing, as Ponyboy predicts that "Things gotta get better, I figured. They couldn't get worse. I was wrong." • He feels that Darry hitting him is the low point; he doesn't yet know the tragic things that are about to happen.

  8. Social Injustice • The fact that Cherry says “We couldn’t let our parents see us with you all.” • “If I see you in the hall and don’t say hi, it’s nothing personal.” • “There was a bitter nervousness growing inside me. It wasn’t fair that the Socs got everything. We were as good as they were; it wasn’t our fault we were greasers.” • Darry hitting Ponyboy • The unfairness of their situation-Darry has had to grow up too fast and Pony has lost his brother-he is now angry all the time because he has too much responsibilities. • Johnny doesn’t have any siblings-only his abusive parents

  9. Family ties • Darry’s reaction when Pony comes home-like a protective parent

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