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Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

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Ahh, newspapers. What a nostalgic artifact. The smell of the ink. The blurring of the ink. The ink-stains all over your hands after you read it.

Hmm. Maybe we're not as nostalgic for newspapers as we thought we were.

But The Outsiders makes us kind of long for the days of kids screaming "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" For one thing, this novel has the feel of an exposé, or a piece of investigative journalism. And the frequent references to newspapers contribute to this feel. Before the reporters come to the hospital to interview Pony and his brothers after the fire, Pony seems to think that the papers are somewhat biased toward the Socials and against the Greasers.

But, after the fire, Pony observes that the papers actually tell the truth. Like the novel itself, the papers offer a deeper perspective on Greasers by portraying them as heroes, and telling the story of their struggles against the bullying and violence committed by the Socs. In The Outsiders, the papers become a symbol of the media's power to show hidden things and to make a difference in the lives of those whose stories might otherwise remain hidden.

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