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Language In S.E.Hinton’s The Outsiders Eeva Niklander Jenny Perttola.

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Presentation on theme: "Language In S.E.Hinton’s The Outsiders Eeva Niklander Jenny Perttola."— Presentation transcript:

1 Language In S.E.Hinton’s The Outsiders Eeva Niklander Jenny Perttola

2 The Novel The Outsiders tells the story of 14-year-old Ponyboy Curtis, his brothers and the gang of friends they belong to. Set in the 1960’s in the rough part of an American city, the story is a convincing description of the social and ideological conflicts between East Side Greasers and West Side Socials. The Outsiders is the first novel by S.E.Hinton, and was published in 1967. She was then eighteen. The story was inspired by Hinton’s own high school experiences in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The novel has also been published in Finnish by Otava in 1969, as Me kolme ja jengi. The Outsiders was adapted into a movie by Francis Ford Coppola and was released in 1983.

3 The Story ”We’re poorer than the Socs and the middle class. I reckon we’re wilder too. Not like the Socs, who jump greasers and wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks, and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and a asset to society the next. Greasers are almost like hoods; we steal things and drive old souped-up cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while.” In Ponyboy’s world, there are no ordinary people, there are only Socials and Greasers. And being a Greaser means that you have it rougher than others – or at least, that’s what Ponyboy thinks. When the story begins, Ponyboy and his two older brothers, Darry and Sodapop, have been orphaned less than a year ago, when both their parents were killed in a car accident. As Darry strives to hold two jobs to support his underaged brothers and Sodapop drops out of high school to help him, Ponyboy is going through a mental crisis. He is painfully aware of the barriers his social status puts in his way and which any amount of hard work and study fails to eradicate.

4 The Story In the course of one evening, Ponyboy’s life takes a tragic turn, when his friend, Johnny, inadvertently kills a Soc in self-defense. The two boys have to go in hiding, and this is the beginning of an avalanche of events, that finally leads to Ponyboy’s writing of his life’s story. ”It was too vast a problem to be just a personal thing. There should be some help, someone should tell them before it was too late. Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn’t be so quick to judge a boy by the amount of hair oil he wore.”

5 Language The story is narrated by Ponyboy, and the language in the novel reflects the way Greasers speak and think. Ponyboy is more educated than most of his friends, and his writing is likewise more literary. However, in describing his everyday life, Ponyboy uses everyday vocabulary, and this makes his writing a bit more speech-like than in novels in general. In the following slides, we will cover the book’s vocabulary (arranged thematically), syntactic structures (for example Adjective in place of adverb) and other points of interest. The page numbers given refer to the HarperCollins edition, thirty-fourth impression of The Outsiders from 1991.

6 Language - Vocabulary Words relating to violence

7 Language - Vocabulary Words relating to drinking and smoking Some words have gained additional meaning over the years or else have changed their meaning. For example, the word weed would nowadays mean marihuana rather than cigarette. Also, the word stoned now refers more often to drugs than to alcohol, as in the book.

8 Language - Vocabulary Words relating to gangster life

9 Language - Vocabulary Other words

10 Language – Syntactic structures Adjective in place of adverb ”I sweated something fierce.” (9) ”I was scared so bad.” (10) ”I kept my mouth shut good.” (12) ”I liked Sandy just fine.” (17) ”Don't take him serious.” (18) ”He's been hurt bad sometime.” (28) ”Darry is awful sorry he hit you.” (62) ”You sure can cuss good.” (62)

11 Language – Syntactic structures Double negative ”He don't mean nothin'.” (18) ”I ain't got nobody.” (42) ”Dally won't tell me nothing.” (62) ”I ain't never been in the country before.” (65) Leaving out the verb ”You cold, Ponyboy?” (18) ”You in love with Sandy?” (18) ”Where you headed?” (38)

12 Language – Other Lonesome, lone it ”What were you doin', walking by your lonesome?” (15) ”I've stayed by my lonesome before.” (82) ”I usually lone it anyway.” (7) Make ”Make like a farm boy taking a walk.” ”You don't need to make like every mouthful's your last.”

13 Language – Other Exclamations Glory! Gosh! Golly! Gee! Boy-howdy! Shoot! Welup!

14 Language – Names Many of the Greasers have unusual given names in the book - given either by parents in the birth certificate or given by friends as better fitted than the official name. The Curtis boys - Ponyboy, Sodapop and Darrel Shaynne - were named by their father, "an original person", as Ponyboy describes him. And Sodapop's petname is, of course, Pepsi-Cola. Keith "Two-Bit" Mathews is never called by his real name: Ponyboy thinks even his teachers have forgotten what it is. His name gives the reader an insight into his personality. "You couldn't shut up that guy," Ponyboy writes, "he always had to get his two-bits worth in." Among the East Side characters are also Dallas and Curly, as opposed to Bob, Randy and Paul of the Socials. Johnny Cade, Ponyboy's best friend and the unofficial little brother of the whole gang, is often called Johnnycake or Johnnykid by his friends - a marker of affection. Some kind of abbreviation of the official name is used for nearly every member of the gang: Pony, Soda, Darry and Dally.

15 References Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. London: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1991. Biography. 21 November 2007. URL: On this YouTube clip you will find a sample of the language as used in the Coppola movie The Outsiders (1983).

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