Perspective in The Outsiders, and A Squatter's Tale

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Webster's online dictionary of the English Language defines outsider as follows:

Outsider n. 1. A person or thing not within an enclosure, boundary etc. 2. A person not belonging to a particular group, set, party, etc. 3. A person unconnected or unacquainted with the matter in question. 4. A racehorse, not classified among the best or among those expected to win.

Considering these definitions of the word, "outsider," one is struck by the eclectic array of meanings. Sometimes words have multiple meanings that are ironically linked. Are people as multifaceted as words? The fundamental laws of social relations call upon humans to attempt to fit in and belong. So, striving to fit in to one's family, peer group, community, and the world at large is an ongoing battle that most humans face to one degree or another. On a larger scale, bloody battles are fought between countries, governments, and races in an effort to co-exist on the planet. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and A Squatter's Tale by Ike Oguine are stories that tell of this battle to fit in, and both have characters that personify these four definitions of the word, "outsider." These tales have dramatic themes and stylistics that in some ways are similar and in other ways unique, but they all have significant effects on the readers.

There is a common theme of violence in both stories. Obi, the protagonist in A Squatter's Tale, depicts how Nigeria has had its own history of violence. There are sharp divisions between the rich and the poor, those in power and those being manipulated. Corruption in the government was at an epidemic level in the mid nineties. Bribery, extortion and strong-arm tactics have become the norm. The...

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...ey are not expected to win in life. However, one is left at the end of these stories with an undeniable feeling of optimism and assurance that Obi and Ponyboy will persevere in their struggle to overcome the obstacles in their lives.

Works Cited

Coming to America. Dir. John Landis. Perf. Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall,

James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair. Paramount Pictures Video,1988

Class Film. NJIT. LIT 350-102. Spring Semester, 2002.

Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. New York: Penguin, 1967.

Oguine, Ike. A Squatter's Tale. Oxford: Heinemann, 2000.

Vitullo-Martin, Julia and J. Robert Moskin. The Executive's Book of Quotations.

New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language.

New York: Random House. 1989.

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