What reactions and responses are there for the deaths in The Outsiders?  

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe the question is asking about responses or reactions a reader might typically have to the deaths in that occur in the novel.  

I think one typical reaction is anger.  Several central and loved characters die in the book, and being angry over the deaths is understandable.  I remember reading The Outsiders for the very first time, and I remember being very upset at Johnny's death.  I had grown to really like his quiet strength.  I also really appreciated how he and Ponyboy were essentially two halves that completed each other.  To know that Ponyboy would have to live without Johnny made me mad.  Plus, I was upset that Hinton could kill him off from something that happened when he was trying to save people.  I just never thought that Johnny deserved to die, so I was angry that he, of all characters, dies. 

Sorrow and sadness are two other reactions that I think readers typically might experience regarding the deaths in the story.  It's sad to have to say goodbye to characters like Johnny and Dally.  We've grown to really love them and appreciate them and their idiosyncrasies.  

Perhaps one last emotion is relief, joy, or satisfaction.  I think any of those emotions might be felt when the reader learns that Johnny killed Bob.  We know that he is the leader of the "enemy."  We also know that he is the guy that previously beat Johnny to within an inch of his life.  Readers might feel some satisfaction that Johnny was able to get his revenge.  Or maybe we feel relief and happiness that Johnny no longer has to be afraid of that guy.  

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The Outsiders

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