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The Outsiders By S.E. Hinton Essay

1633 words - 7 pages

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

There are four stories in "The Outsiders" section; 'The Poor
Relation's Story', 'Lou, the Prophet', 'The Stolen Bacillus' and 'Hop
frog'. In all these stories we feel sympathy for someone, because they
are seen as an outsider of their own society. However we feel a
greater degree of sympathy for some of these characters that we do for
others, whether this is because of their situation, beliefs, or
actions varies in each story.

The outsider we are made to feel the most sympathy with is Lou in
'Lou, the Prophet'. Many factors contribute to the amount of sympathy
we feel for him. Firstly we feel sympathy because of his nature. He is
described as "a rather simple fellow" and "always considered less
promising than his brothers". Willa Cather states how even his mother
"felt sorry for him". Also there is his way of living, the story tells
of how he "hauled his water from a neighbor's well every Sunday, and
it got warm in the barrels those hot summer days." Here we feel
sympathy because he does not even have the basic need in life of cold
water. Later on in the story when Lou is praying for rain Cather
emphasises how simple Lou is:

"Oh God, they call thee many long names in thy book… both in Denmark
and here, for the fire hurts so, O God! Amen."

This prayer really draws out the sympathy for Lou because it is such a
genuine prayer and in such simplistic language, " even the little
flowers are no more beautiful." This shows how, also, his way of
thinking is very immature, he sees the world as a child. Only the
children understand him, and therefore the children are his only
followers. To society his childlike characteristics seem strange, and
so he is an outcast. His solution is to find sense in the bible. He
pours himself into religion. At the end of the story he is 'taken up',
much like the prophets are in the bible. However the story is left
unanswered, and the reader is left unsure as to the real outcome, the
police officers "never found him again, living or dead". This mystery
leaves us questioning whether he really did find religion or if in
fact he was mad. If he was mad, it was a pity, however if he had
religion the conclusion was even sadder as no one listened to him.
This is what provokes the great sympathy for Lou I this story.

I feel that almost the same degree of sympathy is felt for Michael in
'The Poor Relation's Story' but somehow Lou's circumstance seems
slightly worse, this is purely because Michael manages to get some
kind of revenge in the end. As Michael tells his Christmas story we
feel vast sympathy for him. In the double narrative form he cleverly
tells his parallel lives. The first is true, the first is his real
life. The second is how his life should have been if things had gone
well and fairly for him. Michael is...

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