What similes are used in The Outsiders?

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Some similes used are "as white as a ghost" and "like the eyes of an animal in a trap" to describe Johnny's appearance when he sees the group of Socs. Hinton also employs the simile "like the devil was after him" to describe the way Dally fled the hospital after Johnny's death. She uses the simile "just like a frightened animal" to describe Pony's reaction when he thinks about Dally recklessly running away.

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An example of a simile comes in chapter 1, when Ponyboy describes Dally as being "as wild as the boys in the downtown outfits." This is a particularly useful simile as it gives us an insight into Dally's character. Clearly, this isn't someone you'd want to mess around with....

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Dally has been a career criminal since the age of ten, which is why it's perfectly valid for Ponyboy to speak of him in the same breath as the tough guys of the downtown gangs.

In chapter 2, Dally's toughness is highlighted once again when he's described as being "as hard as nails." This simile pretty much sums up Dally in a nutshell. It's a common expression, to be sure, but one that seems singularly appropriate to this rough, tough young Greaser who's been in one kind of trouble or other pretty much his whole life.

Another simile that gives us a great insight into someone's character also comes from Ponyboy. He describes his brother Sodapop as being "like some Greek god come to earth." Not all of the Greasers are distinguished by their toughness or how wild they are. Some of them, like Sodapop, are actually quite good looking and don't really look like hardened gang members on the surface.

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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.

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The author uses several similes, or comparisons that include "like" or "as," in The Outsiders. For example, Ponyboy says of Darry, "He's got eyes that are like two pieces of pale blue-green ice." In this comparison, Ponyboy makes a vivid connection between Darry's eyes and ice of a blue-green color, expressing how blue and cold Darry's eyes are. Ponyboy says of his brother, Sodapop, "Soda attracted girls like honey draws flies." In this simile, which involves a cliche, Soda's ability to draw girls to him is compared to bees flocking to honey. In other words, girls are powerfully attracted to Soda. 

Later, when Soda examines Ponyboy after Ponyboy is attacked by the socs, Soda says, "You're bleedin' like a stuck pig." This simile, also a cliche, compares Ponyboy to a pig who has been stabbed in an artery, a process carried out in slaughtering that makes the pig bleed profusely. Ponyboy says after the attack, "I knew I was as white as I felt and I was shaking like a leaf." He is trembling like a leaf in the breeze.  

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S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders is rich with figurative language which she incorporates seamlessly into the novel to enrich the reader's experience and understanding of the characters.  Many of her similes are used in context with building characterization, like when Ponyboy describes Two-Bit as "grinning like a Chessy cat" (27).  The reader can instantly picture Two-Bit grinning like the character from Alice in Wonderland.  Later, Johnny warns Ponyboy to "quit slouching down like a thug" when he has to go and ask for directions to Jay Mountain (64).  Johnny's use of the simile "like a thug" is ironic, because the boys are both greasers and on the run from murder charges.  Later, Ponyboy reflects on the experience of waking up and "memory comes rushing over you like a wave" (68).  Ponyboy had hoped that his bad experiences had been a dream, but "like a wave" the truth crashed into him. Many more similes are used throughout The Outsiders, all of which give meaning and depth to the experience of the characters for the reader.

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What are two examples of similes in The Outsiders?

Remember similes are figures of speech comparing two things, frequently using "like" or "as."

In Hinton's novel, the protagonist often uses similes to help his readers identify with his situation. Two similes are in Chapter One. The narrator says, "So I sat there like a bump on a log" when he was being intimidated. Later, he describes Darry as having "eyes that are like two pieces of pale blue-green ice"; ie, they are sharp and cold.

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