What lesson does Hinton want you to draw from Randy and his description of Bob's life in "The Outsiders"?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Randy is an interesting and somewhat complex character.  Not exactly a good guy, Randy does learn lessons from his experiences and grows as a person.  He goes along with the bullying in the park, but after Bob is killed, Randy doesn't seek revenge on Ponyboy, Johnny, or the other greasers.  He realizes that things have gotten out of control and beyond childhood games and adolescent attitudes.  Randy says he won't fight in the rumble because the outcome doesn't matter - things won't change.  He has come of age and has realized how warped society is, and he knows that the prejudices that caused the fighting won't go away.  He won't take part in it any longer.  Hinton here is showing us that people can change, but she is also showing how society can make even young people become bitter and apathetic.  Randy won't fight, but he won't stop others from fighting either.

In his description of Bob's life, Randy shows that Bob was badly affected by his environment.  Bob is the same as many of the Greasers - he had a rough home life and it made him act out.  Bob's home life wasn't like Johnny's though - he wasn't getting beaten.  Instead, he was neglected.  He wasn't taught right and wrong - he wasn't given boundaries.  His parents weren't firm enough and Bob felt that this lack of discipline showed a lack of caring.  Hinton demonstrates how dangerous bad parenting can be.

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The Outsiders

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