What are similes used in The Outsiders?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders is rich with figurative language which she incorporates seamlessly into the novel to enrich the reader's experience and understanding of the characters.  Many of her similes are used in context with building characterization, like when Ponyboy describes Two-Bit as "grinning like a Chessy cat" (27).  The reader can instantly picture Two-Bit grinning like the character from Alice in Wonderland.  Later, Johnny warns Ponyboy to "quit slouching down like a thug" when he has to go and ask for directions to Jay Mountain (64).  Johnny's use of the simile "like a thug" is ironic, because the boys are both greasers and on the run from murder charges.  Later, Ponyboy reflects on the experience of waking up and "memory comes rushing over you like a wave" (68).  Ponyboy had hoped that his bad experiences had been a dream, but "like a wave" the truth crashed into him. Many more similes are used throughout The Outsiders, all of which give meaning and depth to the experience of the characters for the reader.


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