What are symbols used in The Outsiders and Animal Farm?I have to do a comparative essay between the two and show how loyalty links into the...

What are symbols used in The Outsiders and Animal Farm?

I have to do a comparative essay between the two and show how loyalty links into the narratives.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Symbols from both stories that can be linked to each other are as follows:

In The Outsidersfire symbolizes transformation and purification. After Ponyboy and Johnny save the children from the burning church, they are transformed into heroes; in addition, they are altered both physically and spiritually. 
In Greek philosophy, Fire is classified as one of the four elements tied to passion and power. After Johnny dies and Ponyboy survives the rumble, Ponyboy feels empowered and decides to tell the story of the Greasers:

Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn't be so quick to judge a boy by the amount of hair oil he wore.

In Animal Farm, the windmill is a symbol of power. With its ability to produce energy, the animals are empowered as their production increases. Snowball is certainly transformed as a leader after his plan to build the windmill succeeds, and the lives of the animals are transformed, as well. 

In The Outsiders, gold symbolizes perfection and an appreciation for valuable things. This most valuable element is mentioned in Frost's poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay," a poem included in the narrative. In his final letter to Ponyboy, Johnny urges Pony to "stay gold," an allusion to Frost's poem. This means Pony should keep his love for the beauty of life. Johnny writes to Pony,

Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That's gold. Keep that way, it's a good way to be.

In Animal FarmThe Seven Commandments represent what the Major considered values for the animals. These commandments are their rules to keep them from the corruption characteristic of man. The Major hopes these standards will help the animals "stay gold," so to speak.

Loyalty can tie into the idea of "staying gold," as the Greasers try to protect one another and the animals try to maintain the ideals of the Major that are incorporated into the Commandments.

In The Outsiders, cars represent power. Bob and Randy of the Socs are able to drive the blue Mustang where they want to go, whereas the Greasers must walk wherever they want to be, which at times makes them more vulnerable. Also, the Mustang symbolizes the power of the Socs over the Greasers because the Greasers must service possessions owned by the Socs, such as cars.

In Animal Farm, the pigs represent the power class. When Napoleon becomes the leader, he symbolizes absolute power as a dictator. He changes the commandments and has vicious dogs that he uses to attack those who oppose him. All the other animals are vulnerable to Napoleon's reinterpretation of the Commandments.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous post gave some good examples of symbols in S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders. Others would include:

  • Long, greasy hair and blue jeans for the greasers.
  • Madras shirts for the Socs.
  • Cigarettes are used by both groups.

Symbols for Animal Farm would include:

  • The bed, clothing and liquor represent man's luxurious vices (to which the pigs eventually fall)
  • The windmill represents modern growth.
  • The raven represents religion.
aeropostalelove | Student

Symbols in the Outsiders, could be the blue mustang, three rings, corvairs, switchblades, sunsets, and sunrises......hope that helped!

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Animal Farm

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