The Outsiders was written in 1967 by S. E. Hinton, she was only 15 when she wrote it. There was a film adaptation of the book made in 1983 and it was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. This book has many themes such as coming of age, social groups, family and many more. The main character in this book is Ponyboy, he is a 14 year old greaser who lives in Oklahoma with his family. Many of the themes in the book affect Ponyboy both directly and indirectly, however the theme this essay is going to explain is coming of age. Coming of age is shown by Ponyboy multiple times during the book, some of which include; Ponyboy getting jumped after going to the theatres, Johnny dieing and when Ponyboy gets confronted by Socs at the end of the book. Coming of age is the transition between childhood and adulthood, it is shown multiple times throughout the book as this essay is going to explain.
Ponyboy gets jumped by some Socs while leaving the theatres after watching a movie. Ponyboy is walking home when a blue mustang pulls up next to him and out jump a group of Socs, they aggressively and violently attack him. The Socs are scared off by Ponyboy’s older brothers who turn up just in the knick of time, Ponyboy escapes the ordeal with a few bruises and cuts but nothing major. When Ponyboy’s brothers save him he feels emotionally weak and feels like crying, he forced himself not to cry because he didn’t want to seem weak in front of his brothers. As Ponyboy stated in the book “You just don’t cry in front of Darry. Not unless you’re hurt like Johnny had been that day we found him in the vacant lot. Compared to Johnny I wasn’t hurt at all.” This ordeal had a small impact on Ponyboy and his journey to adulthood, this affected Ponyboy and scared him. Ponyboy feels weaker both emotionally and physically after the ordeal and he forces himself to stay strong and not cry, the fact that he was able to stay strong and brush his tears away was a sign of maturity and courage.
In the book the Outsiders; Johnny dies, this affects Ponyboy hugely. At the start of the book Ponyboy is a 14 year old boy who is scared of death and loss, by the end of the book Ponyboy is a mature teenager who has started his transition into adulthood. Ponyboys transition into adulthood throughout the period of the book, he was scared of death and loss but by the end of the book he learned to accept death and loss is inevitable. During the book Ponyboy sees many people die and get injured, he was scared of getting hurt and dying. Ponyboy becomes more mature as the book progresses, he accepts the harsh reality of life. Ponyboy sees Bob get killed, Johnny die and Dally get shot. These all hurt him emotionally and affect him a lot. Ponyboy realises that he will experience people around him dying sometime, and he himself will die someday. This realisation strengthens him and he becomes more fearless and realistic. This realisation is a sign of maturity and coming of age.
At the end of the book some Socs confront Ponyboy in an aggressive, hostile manner and accuse him of killing Bob. Ponyboy smashes the glass bottle he was drinking out of and points the broken glass at them and threatens them. This scene helps show how much Ponyboy has changed throughout the period of the book, Ponyboy showed resilience and fortitude when they confronted him. When Ponyboy threatens them they flee, they were not expecting the reaction that they ended up receiving. At the start of the book Ponyboy was scared of the Socs and he was scared of getting jumped, by the end of the book Ponyboy is brave enough to stand up for himself. Ponyboy changes during the book, he faced many problems which he overcame. Overcoming these problems helped him become mentally more resilient and mature. These changes that Ponyboy undergoes throughout the book shows that Ponyboy has matured.
Ponyboy undergoes so many changes throughout the book, as explained above. He faces problems that affect him in many ways, physically and emotionally. He has many struggles and these struggles push him to his limits, many times he feels like giving up and giving in. Ponyboy shows perseverance and fortitude throughout the book, this helps him become stronger emotionally. He matures throughout the book and realise that life is harsh, people get hurt, people die and bad things happen. He accepts this but he does not let it stop him . He shows coming of age through the book and he shows us as an audience what a transformation he has undergone.