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OPINION: The Outsiders

Susan Eloise Hinton's movie "The Outsiders" reflects a social drama that we have been experiencing for a very long time in America.

It features an important aspect of our social conflicts: rich kids vs. poor kids.

The movie narrates the story of two rival groups in rural Oklahoma: The Socials "The Socs" (representing the rich kids) versus The Greasers (representing the poor kids).

The tension begins when two Greasers, Johnny and Ponyboy, happen to fall in love with two wonderful girls, Cherry and Marcia by name, at a movie theater.

... it also features an important aspect of our society: rich kids vs. poor kids. Indeed, the debate about the haves vs. the have-nots in the Western Hemisphere has long been going on - and it seems to have intensified recently...

However, Johnny and Ponyboy ignore the following: Cherry and Marcia belong to another class of society and, therefore, wouldn't want to date them. Moreover, Garret, the most powerful member of the Socs, is trying to "score" the two girls. Consequently, Johnny and Ponyboy will kill Garret in order to prevent him from "scoring" the girls. This act (the killing of Garret) will upset the Socs who will seek revenge, and that will eventually lead us to the movie's climax.

In first place, why does the movie portray so much violence and so many conflicts, such as the gang fights and the tragic deaths of Bob and Dallas? Does Johnny really have to stab Bob to death? Why does the quarrel between Ponyboy, Johnny, and Cherry end up in such a fight causing the death of a Soc, and the running away of Johnny and Ponyboy from the city?

The answers are simple: We are living in a divided society, which is one of the major causes of our existing culture of violence. (In fact, no one would disagree that we have many problems in America in terms of social discrimination and inequality: Whites vs. Blacks, born Americans vs. naturalized Americans, Hispanics vs. Hispanics, Blacks vs. Blacks, and so on). Thus, the movie "The Outsiders" tends to lead us into the realization of one aspect of this social reality in which we live: rich kids vs. poor kids, as it is portrayed in the movie: The Socs vs. The Greasers.

However, it is not all blood, conflicts, and violence in the movie. There are a few scenes where one can feel a certain sense of compassion, love, and tender emotion. Ponyboy's interest, for instance, in literature and writing, and the conversation between Dally and Johnny at the hospital where Dally keeps saying to Johnny: "Please, don't die!" And finally he breaks in tears. Such a scene depicts that love or brotherhood can be cultivated among gang members, whom we more often than not consider as the "outsiders" of society.

Besides the violence, Ponyboy's interest in literature and writing, there is an interesting scene that depicts a Good Samaritan act: Johnny got inside a house in flames in order to save some kids who were inside, which unfortunately resulted in his death. But scenes of this sort are very rare in the movie. Even one of The Socs admits that he would have let the kids die in the fire instead of getting inside the burning house in order to save them. Here there is a contradiction in the movie, in the sense that The Socs are by definition more human or civilized than The Greasers. (Remember that "The Socs" is an abbreviation for "The Socials").

The movie "The Outsiders" is one of the best movies that I have ever seen. Not only that the script is well written and that the characters are excellent, it also features an important aspect of our society: rich kids vs. poor kids. Indeed, the debate about the haves vs. the have-nots in the Western Hemisphere has long been going on - and it seems to have intensified recently with various religious groups, civil rights leaders, political activists, and politicians raising the question of about millions of poor children without health insurance.

I personally believe that we still have a long way to go as a society in terms of social justice and equality. This crisis is very unfortunate in that it often leads to socials tensions, if not civil unrest, as we see in the movie with the killing of Garret orchestrated by two Greasers - and all the events that it triggers.

Work Cited or Contacted

Hinton, S.E. and Rowell, Kathleen. The Outsiders (movie). Oklahoma : Pony Boy Inc. Zoetrope Studios, 1983.

Adapted from an Opinion by Jean Elie Paraison as submitted to www.thecoolgroup.org

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Six Words, Like, Losing Their Bearings

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Actually: The literal meaning of this word signifies that something is present or exists in reality, but it is often used incorrectly to add an extra punch to the sentence - like - she is an idiot, actually.

Basically: This word should be used to signify a simple or fundamental point, instead people often use it incorrectly in a statement to add weight and instill a sense of finality - very similiar to actually, - like - he is an idiot, basically.

Honestly: Often times people use this word to add either authority or amazement to their statements. Its correct usage adds meaningful honesty to what the speaker is saying, not - like - she is an idiot, honestly.

Like: After movies and shows like Clueless and Valley Girl introduced us to the so-called 'Val(ley) Speak' like and um involuntarily slip into our conversations, but like should be used when describing something that has the same form or character as something else and um should never be used - um, like, he is an idiot.

Literally: This often used crutch word can irritate scrupulous listeners, as the incorrect usage of the adverb can render a statement senseless. The word is supposed to describe something in a strict manner without exaggeration, instead speakers often use it in figurative or hyperbolic sentences - like - she is an idiot, literally.

Seriously - The first dictionary meaning is badly: in a great, bad, dangerous, harmful, or problematic way - seriously ill - then comes gravely - take a threat seriously - and then it can mean truly: in a true or literal way without exaggeration or deceit - you can't seriously expect me to believe you - not - like - he is an idiot, seriously.

Um, actually, we cannot, like, basically, expect you to honestly take this piece seriously when, literally, it is, um, like, hokum.

Um.

Apologies to dictionary.com

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"The mark of the man of the world is absence of pretension. He does not make a speech; he takes a low business-tone, avoids all brag, is nobody, dresses plainly, promises not at all, performs much, speaks in monosyllables, hugs his fact. He calls his employment by its lowest name, and so takes from evil tongues their sharpest weapon. His conversation clings to the weather and the news, yet he allows himself to be surprised into thought, and the unlocking of his learning and philosophy."

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William Shakespeare

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