The Outsiders

Influence of Gangs on Characters in The Outsiders.

After reading The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, choose a character from one of the gangs, and think about how he reacted to his role in the gang. How did the gang influence the decisions he made? Did stereotype, peer pressure, the role of parents, lack of parents, and societal expectations affect this character’s actions? In a well-developed essay, discuss one or more of the characters from the novel, their role in the gang, and how the gang influenced their decisions. Include specific evidence from the novel to support your discussion.

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In the novel The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, Darry and Johnny were most influenced by the gang. The gang influenced them by changing the way they lived, made decisions, and reworking what they thought of as family. The main way Darry was influenced by the gang was dropping college and working full time to provide for his younger brothers. For Johnny, there are two main ways the gang influenced him. The gang gave him a sense of protection and a new separate family.

The first character who was influenced by the gang was Johnny. Johnny was the gang’s‘ pet’, the one that held the dang together. An example of Johnny being affected by the gang was any time his parents would scream at him and he could just go to the gang. S.E. Hinton writes, “His father was always beating him up, and his mother ignored him, except when she was hacked off at something, and then you could hear her yelling at him clear down at our house. (Page 11)” . The author also writes, “Soda just held him and pushed Johnny’s hair back out of his eyes. “It’s okay, Johnnycake, they’re gone now. It’s okay.” These quotes together show that Johnny doesn’t have a good environment at home, nor a good relationship with his parents so the gang acts as a replacement family for Johnny. Because Johnny doesn’t have a good family the gang acts as a separate family, reforming the way Johnny sees family.

The second way Johnny was influenced by the gang was that the gang gave him a sense of protection when he needed it. The first example of this is when Johnny gets jumped by a rival gang, the Socialites and the gang comes to his need. In the book Ponyboy, Steve, and Soda were walking home from a gas station when they found Johnny badly beaten, lying on the ground. Soon the whole gang was standing by Johnny comforting him because of how badly he’d been hurt. After that wherever Johnny went, he went with another member of the gang. This reinforces the fact that the gang gave Johnny a sense of security or protection, influencing the way he made decisions.

The next character who was deeply affected by the gang was Darry. Darry was the unofficial leader of the gang and the one that worked tirelessly to support our brothers. One way Darry was influenced by the gang was when his parents died and he had to be a father figure to his brothers and get a full-time job. The author writes, “Darry worked 2 jobs at once and made good at both of them…” This shows that he had to drop out of school to provide for his brothers. Keep in mind that Darry didn’t have to do this, he chose to because he loved his brothers. Because Darry’s parents died, he had to forget about going to college and provide for his brothers therefore the gang, mostly his little brothers, influenced him by still being young.

In conclusion, in the novel The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton the most influenced characters in the greaser gang were Johnny Cady and Darrel Curtis. They both loved and were extremely loyal to the gang because they thought of them as family. Because they loved the gang they did things that didn’t want to do for the better of the gang. Darry stopped dreaming about college to provide for Soda and Ponyboy and Johnny turned himself in because he didn’t want Ponyboy to be on the run forever. Darry and Johnny were the most influenced because of their loyalty to the gang it shaped how they made decisions and ultimately how they lived their lives for the better. For more information on The Outsiders check on this:

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