In The Outsiders, what events connect the characters with their life experiences?

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In S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, there are many events, life experiences, and conditions that foster the formation of strong, meaningful connections between people.

The Greasers are bonded by their shared social and financial status. They are all poor and live in the same low-income neighborhood. Similarly, the Socs are connected by the fact that they all come from well-to-do families and live in a high-class neighborhood.

Ponyboy, Sodapop, and Darry are brothers who have very different interests and personalities, but whose bond is strengthened by having all endured a common tragedy. The Curtis brothers’ parents were killed in a car accident, leaving the three young men to navigate the difficulties of life without parental guidance.

Ponyboy and Johnny are close friends when the novel opens, but their connection grows stronger when Johnny kills Bob for attacking and almost drowning Ponyboy. The two go into hiding together after Bob’s death.

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What two events in The Outsiders help people connect through what they've been through?

There are numerous events in The Outsiders which demonstrate people connecting through shared experiences, but two of those are when Pony and Cherry talk at the movies and when Randy talks to Pony while Johnny is in the hospital.

Though they come from vastly different backgrounds, Pony is impressed when Cherry makes an effort to really get to know him at the movies. When Johnny joins them and Cherry smiles, Pony is pleased with her judgment. She also isn't scared of Dally the way most people are, and Pony is shocked when Cherry throws a Coke in his face and never flinches in her defiance toward him. Cherry initially refers to Pony's friends as "trash," but she opens up as they get to know each other, telling Pony that she is thankful that he doesn't engage in "dirty talk" or try to take advantage of her. Instead, she is impressed with Pony's manners and intelligence. Later in their conversation, Pony confesses that the Socs once beat up Johnny so badly that Johnny almost died. When he finishes his story, Cherry insists that "all Socs aren't like that" and then tells him that Socs "have troubles [he's] never heard of." Pony can't imagine what those troubles might be, but this conversation bridges a gap between their two worlds and helps Pony to begin to see that "things are rough all over."

Just before the big rumble, Randy finds Pony and tells him that he's not going to show up to the fight. He explains that he is "sick" of all the fighting and that he truly mourns the loss of Bob, who was a "good guy." He explains,

He was the best buddy a guy ever had. I mean, he was a good fighter and tuff and everything, but he was a real person too. You dig?

These are certainly feelings which Pony can relate to, as his own best friend remains hospitalized, fighting for his life. Randy doesn't want to fight anymore because he believes it "doesn't do any good." He has realized that being a Soc or being a greaser doesn't really mean anything. Therefore, fighting doesn't mean anything. Pony tells him, "I'd help you if I could," and he honestly means it. For the first time, Pony is able to see that "things are rough all over" and that having money doesn't free people from grief and loss. Pony ends their conversation by encouraging Randy, assuring him that he, Randy, would have saved those kids in the church, too, if he'd been given the chance. The two part ways cordially, and Pony no longer feels a seething hatred toward Randy, because he can finally recognize the shared pain in their life experiences.

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