What life lessons do we learn through this story?

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Life lessons can be learned from The Outsiders if the reader looks beyond the surface.  This novel, written by a 17 year old girl, shows the two different groups, the Socs and the Greasers, as they really are.  Lesson one is that the novel asks the reader to understand that the two groups are really two different classes of society each with its own rules and no real bridges between them.  Attempts to connect are made, but life returns to each on their own side of society. Lesson two is that the group needs the others to affirm them as each group has no other affirmation.  Lesson three is that there is hope for change through the one exception to the rule. Ponyboy learns to act the part of the tough when he uses broken glass bottles to stave off the Socs, and then picks up the pieces of broken glass so that no one gets a flat tire.  He is the one who stays gold, who stays true to himself  even if he appears to have changed, who has a chance at making a better life for himself just like Darry wants him to do. Perhaps in the future, the two groups may find a way to bridge the gap between them in their microsociety just as the larger society needs to find ways to bridge the divide among classes in the macrosociety around them.

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