The Outsiders Study Guide

The Outsiders Study Guide

Original title:
The Outsiders
Published September 1st 1988 by Puffin Books (first published 1967)
ISBN 014038572X (ISBN13: 9780140385724)

Susan Eloine Hinton started writing early. At the age of fifteen she already had a first draft of “The Outsiders” and it took her another year and a half to send it to publishing. The book was intended to be read by her young counterparts and is now considered a great example of the adult fiction genre.

“The Outsiders” vividly show how young generations give into social conflicts and prejudices. At the very beginning, the main protagonist, Ponyboy Curtis, is being attacked by the Socs, children of the wealthier families that live in the same town.

His parents died in a car accident and his older brothers are all the family he has. Through his life he experiences lots of violence and class conflict. He tries to overcome the artificial boundaries the society has imposed on him and those surrounding him. One day he and his friends meet charming Socs girls, who turn out to be nice and they share much in common. But the differences between their classes are unsurpassable. Soon the fight between greasers and Socs gets serious and one of the boys dies.

While fleeing the town with the gun in the pocket, the boys read “Gone With The Wind” and have very deep and thoughtful conversations about poetry, life, friendships and families. They save a group of schoolchildren from fire and wake up being heroes the next day.

Susan Hinton succeeded in showing that behind every tough and arrogant youngster there is a vulnerable creature looking for approval and understanding. The writer doesn’t choose sides and makes the outsiders and the privileged kids equal by treating all of them as humans.

“The Outsiders” is a universal example of how young generations struggle to unite themselves in diversity. Instead, they form fractions and compete against each other for survival.

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