Courage in ‘The Outsiders’

“It’s our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”

– Tecumseh

The Outsiders

I think that Johnny and Pony Boy are heroes, but I also believe that they are not heroes.  I believe that Pony Boy and Johnny did not know whether the fire was caused by them or not.  I understand that the fire that was caused was an accident, but I also believe that causing a fire would come from inappropriate actions.  Johnny told Pony to not drop any burning butts of cigarettes on the ground or that place would “erupt in flames”.  Pony did not listen and made that mistake, but Johnny did not make that mistake.  Johnny was acting and thinking like an adult, and thinking of the dangers that could come out of an accident like the fire in the church.  The fire would not have been so serious if there had not been children inside!  Pony and Johnny took refuge in an abandoned church.  They could not have possibly known that little children would come along for a picnic.  This is what makes Johnny and Pony into boys who were not heroes.  But nobody knows that they are staying in that church.  Nobody knows that they had started that fire.  Nobody would have known that it was their fault that the fire started, so technically nobody would have known that Pony and Johnny started a fire that killed a few kids.  They could have just walked away after hearing the screams of those children.  They did not.  They risked their lives to save those little children.  At that moment, at that time, nobody was looking at their backgrounds, nobody was looking at murderers.  They were looking at two brave souls who risked their lives to save little children, and they did.  They made up for a mistake that they did not have to make up for.  So I think that they are heroes to everyone one else; amazing, brave little kids.  But to themselves, they are just the same people who only started and stopped their own problem.  (Gideon in grade eight)

Read more about S.E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders HERE.

The Outsiders

“He did what heroes do after their work is accomplished; he died.”

– Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Find more stories of courage HERE.