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Literary Devices to Present Conflict in 'The Outsiders'

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Literary Devices to Present Conflict in 'The Outsiders' Essay

The novel “The Outsiders”, by S.E. Hinton, was written in 1967 and focused on the ongoing and adverse impacts of conflict through a variety of literary techniques.

Conflict first appears in the novel between two rival gangs from opposite sides of town as they foolishly involve themselves in unnecessary violence. The Socs are a middle-class group of rich teenagers who are rivals to the Greasers who define their social status as being proud to belong to a gang that supports each other through loyalty and respect. The novel also shows the conflict between the Socs and Greasers Johnny, highlighting their long-lasting physical, psychological and emotional effects of conflict which are represented in the characters of Johnny and Socs. Which leads to dramatic and lasting consequences of conflict throughout the novel.

In the opening chapter S.E Hinton, constructively convey the physical and social lasting consequences of conflict through an array of literary devices. Hinton comprehensively explores the use of conflict between Socs and Greasers, when they both have doubts. Hinton outlines that ”A rumble, when it’s called, is usually born of a grudge fight, and the opponents just happen to bring their friends along.” By using metaphor, Hinton can depict the various physical and social abuse that is shown between Greasers and Socs as Ponyboy is giving an outline of the greasers and the Socs directed towards the reader, she can explore the needless pain and overwhelmed physical and social circumstances of the Socs and Greasers. Hinton’s use of metaphor adds an idea and makes a comparison by saying something is something when it’s not for example in this sense the author comments ”A rumble, when it’s called, is usually born of a grudge fight”, metaphor is portrayed as Hinton is comparing something to another. Furthermore, Ponyboy employs “Skin fighting isn’t rough, it blows off steam better than anything’’.Through the use of hyperbole that is depicted throughout the novel demonstrates , he Physical lasting consequences of the conflict between Greasers and Socs, during the time that Two-bit is clarifying to Marcia that not all fighting is violence, this shows the physical lasting consequences of conflict as “fighting is not violence” the use of hyperbole emphasizes the reader and creates meaning so that we can develop a sense of urgency. Evidently, it’s Hinton’s use of language which captures how physical and social lasting consequences of conflict are thoroughly explored throughout the entire novel.

Hinton effectively utilizes an array of literary devices throughout ‘’The Outsiders” to highlight the physical, lasting consequences of conflict that depict the physical violence of Dally. Dally is presented as having “high cheekbones”, “sharp chin”, “pointed teeth”, “blue colored eyes”, and “lengthy white hair.” “Suddenly it was deathly quiet. We had all frozen. Nobody in my family had ever hit me.” Through the use of metaphor, Hinton can explore how Dally in various activities has had violence associated with him throughout his entire life, including hitting Ponyboy when he came home late from being out with Johnny. The descriptive language of “Suddenly it was deathly quiet,” reiterates the reader that it was describing deathly quiet. It adds motivation, creative value, and emotion to the text. Thus, it is clearly evident Hinton can explain the ongoing and adverse impacts of conflict through a variety of literary techniques.  

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Literary Devices To Present Conflict In ‘The Outsiders’. (2022, April 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
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