A simile is a common literary device that makes a comparison between two different things using the words "like" or "as." Authors utilize similes to add vividness to their narrative and make their writing more interesting. S.E. Hinton utilizes numerous similes throughout her classic novel The Outsiders, which enriches the reading experience and sparks the audience's imagination by conveying certain ideas.
In chapter 4, Pony and Johnny are on their own in a local park when a blue Mustang full of Socs arrives. When the intimidating Socs approach them, Pony offers a vivid description of Johnny by using two similes. Pony says,
[Johnny] was as white as a ghost and his eyes were wild-looking, like the eyes of an animal in a trap.
Pony uses the simile "as white as a ghost" to describe Johnny's extremely pale complexion. Pony also uses the simile "like the eyes of an animal in a trap" to describe Johnny's desperate, threatened stare. These two similes allow the reader to picture Johnny's appearance in their mind when the menacing Socs arrive.
In chapter 10, Pony returns home and informs the Greasers that Johnny is dead. He then remembers Dally pounding the wall and bolting out of the hospital after witnessing their close friend die. Pony utilizes a simile by saying,
He ran out like the devil was after him.
By utilizing the simile "like the devil was after him," Pony emphasizes Dally's desperation and speed when he ran out of the hospital. Pony is completely shaken and disturbed by the traumatic incident. After Sodapop asks him to sit down, Pony utilizes as a simile by saying,
I backed up, just like a frightened animal, shaking my head.
The simile "just like a frightened animal" conjures the image of a terrified, vulnerable animal timidly backing away. This image conveys the terror and panic Pony is experiencing as he struggles to cope with the traumatic experience of losing Johnny and watching Dally recklessly run out of the hospital.