What is an example of a literary device in The Outsiders, Chapter 10?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 10 is significant because the boys are responding to Johnny’s death.  Pony finds it hard to accept that Johnny is really gone, trapped in the denial stage while the death is still fresh.

When Pony gets home, he tells the others that Johnny has died.  They are all recovering from their rumble with the Socs, and they barely can accept the news.  Pony also tells his friends about what happened to Dally.

"Dallas is gone," I said. "He ran out like the devil was after him. He's gonna blow up. He couldn't take it." (Ch. 10) 

The phrase “like the devil” means that he went very fast.  This particular figure of speech is a simile because it uses the word “like” to make an indirect comparison.  It means that he was going as fast as if the devil were chasing him.  The figurative language here serves to acknowledge Dally’s immense grief at the loss of his friend. 

The similes continue. 

I backed up, just like a frightened animal, shaking my head. "I'm okay." I felt sick.  I felt as if any minute I was going to fall flat on my face, but I shook my head. "I don't want to sit down." (Ch. 10) 

This simile means that Pony is wary of the other boys.  Pony is in rough shape because he is suffering from his own grief and he is also injured from the rumble.  He has been reduced to a primal state. 

Pony is confused that Johnny told him to “stay gold” before he died.  He asks the others what this meant.  This is a metaphor and an allusion to the Robert Frost poem (“Nothing Gold Can Stay”) that Pony shared with Johnny earlier.  Johnny wants Pony to remain innocent and lead a quiet life instead of the gang life.

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The Outsiders

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