Metaphors in The Outsiders

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Discover how S.E. Hinton uses metaphor, a literary device, in his 1967 novel, The Outsiders. Explore specific examples in the text, such as metaphors comparing characters to animals, metaphors describing the setting, and metaphors for feelings. Updated: 12/14/2021

Metaphors in The Outsiders

Metaphors are an example of the colorful language that S.E. Hinton uses in The Outsiders to draw the reader visually into the text. Metaphors compare two things that are not alike, drawing attention to a descriptive commonality. In this lesson, we will look more closely at some of the metaphors used in The Outsiders.

Sometimes, metaphors are necessary when there are no other words to describe the extent of something. When Ponyboy and Cherry explain how beautiful Sodapop is, Ponyboy says, ''Soda's movie-star kind of handsome,'' while Cherry says that Ponyboy's ''brother is one doll.'' In reality, Soda is a high school drop-out that works at a gas station and hangs out with a bunch of greasers, but his looks are so strikingly handsome that he is compared to a movie-star and a doll.

Ponyboy also uses a metaphor when he describes Dally, saying he has ''sharp animal teeth.'' That doesn't mean he has fangs like a tiger, but his teeth are likely more pointed than average, adding to his already animalistic tendencies. There are other times when Dally is compared to an animal, such as saying, ''he grinned wolfishly,'' when Dally told him about lying to the police about Johnny and Ponyboy's location. Tim Shepard, who is a hoodlum like Dally, ''had the tense, hungry look of an alley cat—that's what he's always reminded me of, an alley cat—and he was constantly restless.''

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Foreshadowing in The Outsiders

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Metaphors in The Outsiders
  • 1:33 Scenery and Feelings
  • 2:52 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Scenery and Feelings

From the back of the church, Ponyboy could see, ''the ribbon of highway and the small dots that were houses and cars.'' There are no ribbons and dots outside the church, but the metaphor is used to describe the long, flowing curves of the road with homes and cars so far in the distance that they look like little dots.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account