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a lecture by The Outsiders


7-2-01
Summary
The Outsiders
By: S.E. Hinton

This story is about a young boy of 14 named Ponyboy. He is part of a hood group called Greasers on the east side of town, a group of lower-class teenagers who wear their hair long and greasy, wear jeans and ripped-up T-shirts, and are at odds with the rich-kid bullies known as the Socs. This group of hoods are born into rich families from the west side of town, are of a high social class, drive around in Mustangs and Corvairs, and mostly wear checkered jackets with a madras on them. One day, as Ponyboy is walking home from a movie, he is jumped by a gang of Socs. At the last minute, his buddies from his group (made up of his brothers Darry and Sodapop, who raised Ponyboy now that their parents are dead, the hardened hood Dally Winston, quiet innocent Johnny, and wise-cracking Two-Bit) scare off the socs and rescue him. The next night, Ponyboy and Johnny join Dally to go looking around for a good fight and maybe catch a movie. There they sit behind two attractive young girls and Dally attempts to obnoxiously get their attention and pick one up. After Johnny tells him to stop, Johnny and Ponyboy sit with the girls, Cherry and Marcia, and Ponyboy and Cherry discover to their mutual surprise that they have a great deal in common. Two-bit appears, and the three greasers walk the Socs girls back to Two-Bits house so that he can drive them home.  On the way, they run into Bob and Randy, the girls drunken boyfriends and the socs that beat up Johnny a couple years ago, and the girls agree to leave with them in order to prevent a fight between the two gangs. On his way home Ponyboy takes a stop by the vacant lot with Johnny and accidentally drifts off. When he wakes up and goes home his brother Darry angrily lectures him on what could have happened and slaps him. Then he runs out the door, finds Johnny, and goes to the park to get away from things. There, however, the two young greasers run into Randy and Bob, with a few of their Soc friends. One of them holds Ponyboys head under an ice cold fountain, and Ponyboy blacks out. When he comes to, he is lying on the ground next to Johnny. The bloody corps of Bob is next to them. Johnny explained how he had to knife Bob to save him. Terrified and confused, the two friends hurry to find Dally, the one person they think can help them. Dally sends them with a gun and some money to an abandoned church near Windrixville on a train, where they hide out for a week. They cut their hair so that they wont fit their description in the paper. After a week, dally comes to check on them, and says that because of Bobs death, the disputes between the socs and the greasers have become worse then ever. He also told them that rumble is going to be held to settle the matters once and for all. Cherry feels responsible for the whole problem and acted as a spy for the greasers for updates and info on the socs. Johnny surprises Dally by declaring his intention to go back to turn himself in. Dally drives them back, but as they leave, the notice that the church has caught on fire and had several schoolchildren trapped inside. Ponyboy and Johnny, feeling responsible for the event rush inside the church to save the children. Just as they get the last child through a window, the roof caves in and Ponyboy jumps out with fire on his back and blacks out again, leaving Johnny trapped inside. This time when Ponyboy regains consciousness he finds himself inside of an ambulance. When he reaches the hospital he is told Johnny was hit by a support beam that fell in the church and that Dally went in to save him and got his arm burnt. Johnny had broken his back and is in critical condition. Darry and Sodapop hear the news and arrived at the hospital to get Ponyboy and tell ... more

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america the beautiful or the ugly

Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) was the best known and most influential African American leader of the 1800s. He was born a slave in Maryland but managed to escape to the North in 1838.
He traveled to Massachusetts and settled in New Bedford, working as a laborer to support himself. In 1841, he attended a convention of the Massachusetts Antislavery Society and quickly came to the attention of its members, eventually becoming a leading figure in the New England antislavery movement.
In 1845, Douglass published his autobiography, "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: an American Slave." With the revelation that he was an escaped slave, Douglass became fearful of possible re-enslavement and fled to Great Britain and stayed there for two years, giving lectures in support of the antislavery movement in America. With the assistance of English Quakers, Douglass raised enough money to buy his own his freedom and in 1847 he returned to America as a free man.
He settled in Rochester, New York, where he published The North Star, an abolitionist newspaper. He directed the local underground railroad which smuggled escaped slaves into Canada and also worked to end racial segregation in Rochester's public schools.
In 1852, the leading citizens of Rochester asked Douglass to give a speech as part of their Fourth of July celebrations. Douglass accepted their invitation.
In his speech, however, Douglass delivered a scathing attack on the hypocrisy of a nation celebrating freedom and independence with speeches, parades and platitudes, while, within its borders, nearly four million humans were being kept as slaves.

Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits, and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions. Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart."
But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you, that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation (Babylon) whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin.
Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions, whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are today rendered more intolerable by the jubilant shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not remember those bleeding children of sorrow ... more

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