Notes on The Outsiders Themes

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The Outsiders Topic Tracking: Loneliness

Chapter 1

Loneliness 1: Ponyboy feels alienated from everyone around him: he may be united with the greasers against the Socs, but he doesn't feel like he can really talk to even the greasers. People at school, even his teachers, are afraid of him, and though he loves Sodapop, he knows that Soda doesn't really understand him. He feels alone in the world.

Chapter 3

Loneliness 2: As Cherry and Pony talk, they immediately find that they have a lot in common, despite their different backgrounds. Cherry says that while sometimes she lies to her friends without even thinking, she can be honest with Ponyboy. Pony can talk to Cherry about things he knows his gang would never understand.

Chapter 4

Loneliness 3: Ponyboy tries to detach from his family, but he feels uncomfortable doing it. He tries to tell himself that he doesn't care if Darry worries about him or not, but he knows he does care. He tries not to think about Sodapop, but he can't help himself. Even before he gets to the church, he wants to go home.

Chapter 5

Loneliness 4: Johnny and Ponyboy consider that they cannot talk about nature or poetry with their other friends. While this has made them feel lonely in the past, it now gives the two of them a connection. They no longer feel silly thinking about art and beauty--now, they think the others are silly for not thinking about those things.

Chapter 6

Loneliness 5: When Ponyboy finally realizes that Darry loves him and cares about him, he doesn't feel so lonely anymore. He feels, for the first time since his parents died, that his house is really home.

Chapter 7

Loneliness 6: Ponyboy feels less lonely and confused when he learns that Randy the Soc sees things the way he does. Now he feels that, rather than trying to be a greaser who hates Socs, he can just be a person who has friends of all social classes. He sees that "the other guy is human too."

Chapter 8

Loneliness 7: Just as Ponyboy realizes how much he cares about Johnny, he learns Johnny is going to die. He says that they have always been close, but their time alone in the church together brought them even closer. Ponyboy thinks that none of the gang can survive without Johnny, and he personally doesn't know what he will do without their conversations.

Chapter 9

Loneliness 8: Ponyboy feels lonely, because everyone else likes to fight and he doesn't. The only people he knows who don't like fights are both Socs: Randy and Cherry. He feels left out of his gang, because he knows that one of the most important things about being a greaser is liking to fight. He doesn't really want to be a greaser in that way, but he doesn't know what else to be. He feels left out.

Chapter 10

Loneliness 9: Ponyboy realizes how lonely it must be for Darry sometimes. He wants to become friends with Darry, but he doesn't know how. He is very worried that he didn't ask for Darry when he was sick. He wants them all to be a family together, instead of Sodapop being the only link between them. He wants Darry to be more than just their older brother who works to keep them together: he wants to bring Darry into the family.

Chapter 12

Loneliness 10: Ponyboy feels very lonely after Johnny dies. He even tries to pretend that Johnny isn't dead at all. After a while, though, he accepts that he must go on living even though one of his best friends is gone. Instead of trying to live in the past with Johnny, he uses Johnny's advice from the note to reach out to other people. He doesn't see himself as alone anymore. He knows there are many people just like him across the country.

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