With evidence from the text, what do you think is the novel's message about violence?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Hinton uses the theme of violence in The Outsiders to convey the strong message that resorting to violence is not an effective way to resolve conflicts.  The scene in chapter seven between Randy and Ponyboy reinforces the pointlessness of violence as Randy reflects on all the damage that gang violence has caused and worries about the upcoming rumble:

"And tonight..people get hurt in rumbles, maybe killed.  I'm sick of it because it doesn't do any good. You can't win, you know that don't you?" (116-117).

Like Randy, Ponyboy comes to acknowledge the role violence has played in destroying the lives of his friends, Johnny and Dally.  Although Hinton's book is full of violent action, the novel definitely does not glorify violence, but uses the events to relate the tragic consequences of the characters' choices.