A Deconstructionist Perspective of S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders

1033 Words 5 Pages
A Deconstructionist Perspective of S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders

The unseen layers present in S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders make it possible for the reader to develop differing interpretations of the novel. The ambiguity of the text is recognized within the deconstructionist approach to literature. Deconstruction allows the reader to focus on particular elements in the text that divulge the underlying themes. In focusing on two key scenes in The Outsiders, deconstruction explains how Hinton's use of these scenes gives the reader insight into two opposing themes within the text. The two scenes consist of Ponyboy's and Johnny's confrontation with the Socs and also when Ponyboy and Johnny save the children in the burning church (54-57;
…show more content…
Ponyboy also says that he "felt the blood draining from my face" (55). This description illustrates the instinctive fear both boys feel in anticipation of the attack. The narrator's words further substantiate the theme of a realistic approach to the issues of violence and class conflict.

In reading the text as focusing on the idealism of youth, the second scene describes the heroic reactions of the boys to the threat of danger. This scene is similar in that Ponyboy and Johnny are once again faced with impending harm when they enter the burning church to save the children. This analogy of the probable danger within both scenes is necessary for the reader to perceive the drastic difference in the reactions of the characters. However, unlike earlier, Ponyboy and Johnny are not scared; in fact, Ponyboy even says, "I should be scared,...but I'm not" (92). These reactions indicate that the boys understand the danger, but decide to face it in order to do what is right. In the following passage, Ponyboy describes an image that is in direct contrast to the scared Johnny from before:

I caught one quick look at his face; it was red- marked from falling embers and sweat-streaked; but he grinned at me. He wasn't scared

Related Documents