In what way is there a sense of futility in The Outsiders? Support your answers with evidence from the text.

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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There is an innate sense of futility for both groups in the novel, and the title leads us, the reader, to feel that the disconnectedness of the young people involved in the text is not going to change.

Dallas Winston, we are told, is almost impervious to emotion at the beginning of the text:

 "the fight for self-preservation had hardened him beyond caring,"

His only solace from this social isolation is his friendship with gentle, vulnerable Johnny. We know that Johnny is too vulnerable for the society in which he lives. Johnny would be more at home in the days of Gone With the Wind, the text him and Ponyboy share in Windrixville.

Dallas' love and care for Johnny is futile. He cannot protect him from the cruel world that they live in, just as he cannot change his own destiny to die as violently as he lived.

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