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Does the book, The Outsiders, have an optimistic or pessimistic view of life? Explain...

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jack4545 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted March 29, 2011 at 6:57 AM via web

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Does the book, The Outsiders, have an optimistic or pessimistic view of life? Explain by using examples.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 29, 2011 at 9:42 AM (Answer #1)

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The classic S.E. Hinton teen novel obviously has elements that are both optimistic and pessimistic. Certainly the ending is upbeat in spite of the deaths of Johnny and Dallas: The Curtis brothers are allowed to stay together as a family, and Ponyboy appears to be back on the right track, working on his essay in English--and perhaps beginning his career as a writer. The greasers and Socs seem to have earned a mutual respect for one another at last, and there is hope that the violence between them has come to an end. Needless to say, pessimism rules during much of the story: The greasers have little hope of ever rising above their social status, and the Socs seem to revel in their upper-class snobbery. The most pitiful of them all, Johnny, only suffers further horrors after being burned in the church fire; however, he dies knowing that he performed an act of heroism by saving the children from burning themselves. The doomed Dallas Winston suffered a similar fate; he took humor in the fact that he was being hailed a hero, but he resorts to suicide-by-cop after Johnny's death. The Outsiders may have its share of characters who look at life from the outside in, but it does offer hope that a change for the better is still possible.

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jimmy2shoes | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 25, 2011 at 9:37 AM (Answer #2)

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The book the Outsiders has an optimistic view on life. It does because one of the themes, which is expressed at the end of the book when Johnny writes Ponyboy the letter, is that children are golden. Another optimistic view on life in this novel is when even though a few of their friends die, and when their parents die, the Curtis brothers still try to be happy and they still try to make the best of things and stay together. Another reason this book is optimistic is that you can recover from the worst things. This example is when Ponyboys 2 best friends (outside of his family) die and his grades go way down. He perserveres and recovers from this slump and writes a paper, which turns out to be the book. :)

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