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Drew Knudtson
Mrs. Henry
Hours 3-5
8 December 2016
Moral Criticism The Outsiders
Everyday teens make important decisions that will impact their lives. Morals are
developed at young ages. Morals are learned through children's books, and are largely learned
through The Bible. Morals guide people through life and help people to learn the importance of
being kind and respectful to others. S.E. Hintons novel, The Outsiders, explores moral and
ethical issues through Johnny whom is faced with many important decisions, that will not only
impact his life, but the lives of surrounding people.
Often times people make a split second choice that affects other people. In The
Outsiders, a character named Johnny, ends up killing a young man named Bob. You really
killed him, huh, Johnny(52)? The Bible states that people should never kill another person.
Hinton completely challenges those morals, however, and makes the characters decisions affect
the surrounding people. Johnny and Ponyboy have been seen killing Bob and realize the police
will soon be coming. At this point, Johnny and Ponyboy are attempting to sort through all that
has happened and make a plan. Johnny looked around, slapping his pockets nervously. We gotta
get outa here. Get somewhere. Runaway(52). Bobs gang has seen Johnny and Ponyboy so they
are forced to run away. Johnny was the only person to kill Bob, but since Ponyboy was at the
scene, he is now guilty by association.
People make decisions that may hurt someone but benefit somebody else. After Johnny
was found, he ended up in the hospital. While in the hospital, he would not let his mom see him.


Johnny was always treated poorly at home and often his family never noticed him. Hed rather
see those no-count hoodlums than his own folks She saw us and gave us such a look of hatred
that I almost backed up(108). Johnny disrespecting his parents went against morals in the bible
because a moral is to respect your elders and to respect your parents. Johnny attempted to aid
himself from his earlier life, but ended up hurting his mom in the process. But as Ponyboy
walked past her and saw the look of hatred, he knew he has made a good decision. No wonder
Johnny didnt want to see her. No wonder he stayed overnight at Two-Bits or at our house, and
slept in a vacant lot in good weather(108). Johnny has repeatedly made a decision that affected
other people. This reveals how often people depend on morals to guide them through the
challenges of life.
S.E. Hintons novel The Outsiders explores moral and ethical issues that Johnny faces
while making decisions that will affect the surrounding people. Johnny killed a boy named Bob.
This then forced Johnny and Ponyboy to run away. Finally, Johnny ended up in the hospital and
denied his parents being able to see him because he did not want to return to his old life before
the situation started. People rely on morals more than they think. They use them throughout their
daily lives, and they use them to decide between right and wrong.

Works Cited
Gillespie, Tim. Doing Literary Criticism: Helping Students Engage with Challenging Texts.
Portland, ME.: Stenhouse, 2010. Accessed 9 December 2016.
Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. Dell Publishing, 1967D

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