The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
Dominant Fi: He has only a small group of people whom he trusts, and though he doesn’t support their morality, he loves them deeply. He doesn’t readily understand others, and as a result, can sometimes be a bit judgmental towards them. Even so, his opinions change over time, as he’s able to recognize the good in others. Though he initially hates the Socs, he eventually realizes that being rich doesn’t actually leave them exempt from problems –they just have different problems than greasers do. It takes him a long time to understand that his brother Darry actually loves him. He’s frequently redefining his ideas about right and wrong, and doesn’t rely on others for his moral compass. He steps into a burning church to save others not because it is socially expected of him, but because he personally believes that it is the morally correct thing to do.
Auxiliary Ne: While Ponyboy isn’t particularly adept at accurately understanding the people around him, he has a firm desire to. He spends a great deal of time theorizing about their personalities and what role they play in group dynamics. Ponyboy handles grief and stress by pursuing creative endeavors, such as writing and art. In general, Ponyboy is good at whatever he wants to be good at (skill-wise). His interests are broad, ranging from movies, to books, to sports, to people. In the beginning, his interests are so different from his friends and family’s that he feels isolated by them. He frequently refers to himself as “different” and considers himself poorly understood. He tries desperately to prove himself, but as the story goes on, he matures, and gradually, he feels much less isolated.
Tertiary Si: Ponyboy has a literary bent, which Hinton uses to show that poverty does not necessarily mean boorishness or lack of culture, and that gang members are not always delinquents. Ponyboy identifies with Pip, the impoverished protagonist of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, cites the Robert Frost poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” and introduces Johnny to the southern gentlemen of Margaret Mitchell’s Southern epic, Gone with the Wind. With such an awareness of literary protagonists, Ponyboy sees himself as he is, as both character and narrator. He takes on the narrator’s work of recounting events and the character’s work of growing and changing as a result of those events. The novel is not just a story of gang rivalry; it is an account of Ponyboy’s development.
Inferior Te: Ponyboy is very intelligent and has a vast knowledge of literature, which he imparts readily to Johnny. At the same time, he considers himself to lack common sense. Occasionally, he doesn’t think before acting, and winds up in messes that he could have avoided. Over time, he learns to recognize how his actions influence and impact others.