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Romeo and Juliet
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The Outsiders

How does Johnny's' death effect other characters in the novel 'The Outsiders'?

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January 19, 2008 6:18PM

With his saying "any authentic creature is a gift to the future," Alber Camus explains that genuine incidents may lead to an exceptional change of life. The novel The Outsider by S.E. Hinton, which she wrote at age sixteen, specifically describes three different adolescent gang members which live in the backstreets of society. Already dealing with discrimination, poverty, and horrible parenting, they explain their shocking experience of violence and murder. This requires a distressing experience, for example someone's death, which leads to a huge change in a human's life. Kieth "Two-Bits" Mathews is not sincerely affected by Johnny's terrible death because their relationship is not immense. Ponyboy, the narrator, describes his immediate reactions after hearing the terrible news: "There was a stricken silence. I don't think any of us had realized how bad off Johnny really had been…Two-Bit's eyes were closed and his teeth were clenched…" (page 132). This sudden silence is not there because of the previous rumble, but because of Johnny's already expected death. Ever since Johnny gets to the hospital, Two-Bits pain builds up and he suspects Johnny to die soon because he doesn't seem strong enough to survive. Unlike Two-Bit's gentle reaction, Dally Winston is stunned and immediately gets aggressive. Johnny's "big brother" and significant idol, is Dallas (Dally) Winston, who he always needed. Once he becomes "…like a candle with the flame gone" (page 130), Dally violently starts pounding a hospital wall. Hinton demonstrates his restlessness and nervousness as he runs out of the hospital, robs a grocery store, and lets the cautious cops violently shoot him in front of all the Greasers! "Johnny was the only thing Dally loved. And now Johnny was gone"(page 133). Johnny is the most important thing in Dally's life, but now he's gone and Dally believes that no one needs him and that his life has no meaning anymore. Hinton describes the soft spot in her hardened up character: " "So he finally broke." Two-Bits spoke everyone's feelings. "So even Dally had a breaking point" " (page 133). While one arduous character gets killed, a younger protagonist has to put his thoughts down on paper to fully comprehend all the unexpected incidents. Ponyboy stays/is Johnny's best friend even after his death. Hinton describes their friendship as so strong that Johnny killed a Soc, who's twice his size, to save Pony from suffocating. In return, Ponyboy takes his friends gigantic blame of Bobs' murder. He has so much of hope and faith in his friend, that when Johnny dies he "tried to say something, but [he] couldn't make a sound" (page 130) because he is horribly shocked and stunned. "I wish I could say that everything went back to normal, but it didn't. Especially me." (page 140). After having recovered from a nervous break down of watching two of his closest friends die, he forgets to do every day things like putting on his shoes and doing homework. To raise his falling grade up again, he has to write an essay, which starts the whole book. To fully understand all that has happened to and around him, he writes the entire novel The Outsiders. This gives him the possibility to thoroughly think everything through and deeply understand it. While one suspects his comrades death, one has no reason to live anymore, and another one writes a book, all can conclude that a humungus change in ones life can be determined to change one's life for the worse of for the better. For example Ponyboy looses two of his really close friends and still lives with discrimination and depression of being the "victims of environment" (page 119). Or ones life can change for the better, while writing a book to publicize problems of adolescent backstreet gangs Certain changes are good, while others are bad, but ones own experiences lead their fate and destiny to determine their future.