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.
The author uses several similes, or comparisons that include "like" or "as," in The Outsiders. For example, Ponyboy says of Darry, "He's got eyes that are like two pieces of pale blue-green ice." In this comparison, Ponyboy makes a vivid connection between Darry's eyes and ice of a blue-green color, expressing how blue and cold Darry's eyes are. Ponyboy says of his brother, Sodapop, "Soda attracted girls like honey draws flies." In this simile, which involves a cliche, Soda's ability to draw girls to him is compared to bees flocking to honey. In other words, girls are powerfully attracted to Soda.
Later, when Soda examines Ponyboy after Ponyboy is attacked by the socs, Soda says, "You're bleedin' like a stuck pig." This simile, also a cliche, compares Ponyboy to a pig who has been stabbed in an artery, a process carried out in slaughtering that makes the pig bleed profusely. Ponyboy says after the attack, "I knew I was as white as I felt and I was shaking like a leaf." He is trembling like a leaf in the breeze.