The Outsiders Questions and Answers. The Question and Answer section for The Outsiders is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. Based on Stephen King's best-selling novel, The Outsider begins by following a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome murder of a young boy. But when an insidious supernatural force edges its way into the case, it leads a seasoned cop and an unorthodox.
|Author||S. E. Hinton|
|Cover artist||Robert Hunt|
|Genre||Young adult fiction|
|Publisher||Viking Press, Dell Publishing|
|April 24, 1967|
|Media type||Print (hardcover, paperback), Audiobook|
|Followed by||That Was Then, This Is Now|
The Outsiders is a coming-of-age novel by S. E. Hinton, first published in 1967 by Viking Press. Hinton was 15 when she started writing the novel but did most of the work when she was 16 and a junior in high school. Hinton was 18 when the book was published. The book details the conflict between two rival gangs divided by their socioeconomic status: the working-class 'greasers' and the upper-class 'Socs' (pronounced /ˈsoʊʃɪz/—short for Socials). The story is told in first-person perspective by teenage protagonist Ponyboy Curtis.
The story in the book takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1965, but this is never explicitly stated in the book.
A film adaptation was produced in 1983, and a short-lived television series appeared in 1990, picking up where the movie left off. A stage adaptation was written by Christopher Sergel and published in 1990.
Ponyboy Curtis, a teenaged member of a loose gang of 'greasers', is leaving a movie theater when he is jumped by 'Socs', the greasers' rival gang. Several greasers, including Ponyboy's two older brothers—the paternal Darry and the popular Sodapop—come to his rescue. The next night, Ponyboy and two greaser friends, the hardened Dally and the quiet Johnny, meet Cherry and Marcia, a pair of Soc girls, at a drive-in movie theater. Cherry spurns Dally's rude advances, but Ponyboy ends up speaking civilly with Cherry, emotionally connecting with a Soc for the first time in his life.
Afterward, Ponyboy, Johnny, and their wisecracking friend Two-Bit begin to walk Cherry and Marcia home, when they are stopped by Cherry's boyfriend Bob, who badly beat up Johnny a few months back. Bob and the greasers exchange taunts, but Cherry prevents a fight by willingly leaving with Bob. Ponyboy gets home at two in the morning, enraging Darry until he suddenly slaps Ponyboy. Pony runs out the door and meets up with Johnny, expressing his anger at Darry's increasing coldness in the wake of his parents' recent deaths in a car crash.
Running away from home, Ponyboy and Johnny wander into a park, where Bob and four other Socs surround them. After some heated talk, Ponyboy spits at the Socs, prompting them to attempt to drown him in a nearby fountain, but Johnny stabs Bob, killing him and dispersing the rest. Terrified as to what to do next, Ponyboy and Johnny rush to find Dally, who gives them money and a loaded gun, directing them to hide in an abandoned church in Windrixville. During their stay there, Pony cuts and dyes his hair as a disguise, reads Gone with the Wind to Johnny, and, upon viewing a beautiful sunrise, recites the poem 'Nothing Gold Can Stay' by Robert Frost.
Days later, Dally comes to check on them, revealing that violence between the greasers and Socs has escalated since Bob's death into all-out city-wide warfare, with Cherry acting out of guilt as a spy for the greasers. Johnny decides to turn himself in and Dally agrees to take the boys back home. As they attempt to leave, they notice the church has caught fire and several local schoolchildren have become trapped inside. The greasers run inside the burning church to save the children, but Ponyboy is rendered unconscious by the fumes. At the hospital he discovers that he and Dally are not badly injured, but a piece of the church roof fell on Johnny and broke his back. Sodapop and Darry come to the hospital; Darry breaks down and cries. Ponyboy then realizes that Darry cares about him, and is only hard on him because he loves him and cares about his future.
The following morning the newspapers declare Pony and Johnny heroes, but Johnny will be charged with manslaughter for Bob's death. Two-Bit tells them that the greaser–Soc rivalry is to be settled in a final rumble. Ponyboy and Two-Bit are approached by a Soc named Randy, Bob's best friend, who expresses remorse for his involvement in the gang war, lacks confidence about the rumble ending the feud, and says he will not participate.
Later, Ponyboy visits Johnny at the hospital, where he is in critical condition. On their way home, Pony spots Cherry and they talk. Cherry says she is unwilling to visit Johnny in the hospital because he killed her boyfriend. Pony calls her a traitor, but after she explains herself they end on good terms. After escaping the hospital, Dally shows up just in time for the rumble. The greasers win the brutal fight. Afterward, Pony and Dally hurry back to the hospital to see Johnny, but he dies moments later and a maniacal Dally runs out of the room. Pony returns home that night feeling confused and disoriented. Dally calls the house to say that he has robbed a store and is running from the police. The greasers find Dally deliberately pointing an unloaded gun at the police, causing them to shoot and kill him. Overwhelmed, Ponyboy faints and is sick in bed for many days due to the resulting concussion from the rumble. When the hearing finally comes, the judge frees Ponyboy from responsibility for Bob's death and allows Pony to remain at home with Darry and Soda.
Ponyboy returns to school, but his grades drop. Although he is failing English, his teacher, Mr. Syme, says he will pass him if he writes a decent theme. In the copy of Gone with the Wind that Johnny gave him before dying, Ponyboy finds a letter from Johnny describing how he will die proudly after saving the kids from the fire. Johnny also urges Ponyboy to 'stay gold'. Ponyboy decides to write his English assignment about the recent events, and begins his essay with the opening line of the novel: 'When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home...'
The Outsiders was a controversial book at the time of its publication; it is still currently challenged and debated. It was ranked #38 on the American Library Association’s Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–1999. This book has been banned from some schools and libraries because of the portrayal of gang violence, underage smoking and drinking, strong language/slang, and family dysfunction. However, in many U.S. schools, the book is part of the English curriculum at the middle- or high-school level.
On November 5, 2019, the BBC News listed The Outsiders on its list of the 100 most influential novels.
In Rockstar Vancouver/Rockstar Games' 2006 video game Bully, two factions, The Greasers and the Preppies/Preps, who both have major roles in the game, are based on The Outsiders’ Greaser and Socs factions respectively. On occasion, while starting a fight with a Greaser, he may say 'Heads up, Ponyboy'.
The reveal kickstarts the BBC's year-long celebration of literature.
Hinton, S.E. (1967). The Outsiders. New York: SPEAK. ISBN9780140385724.
Ponyboy Curtis, the fourteen-year-old narrator, lives with his older brothers Sodapop and Darry, since their parents passed away in a car accident. They are all members of a Greaser gang, meaning they are considered hoods or juvenile delinquents by society. Other than being financially and socially disadvantaged, the Greasers' main problem is getting jumped by the Socs, the rich kids from the West Side. The other members of the Greaser gang are Johnny Cade, Dally Winston, Two-Bit Mathews, and Steve Randle.
One night at the drive-in theater, Ponyboy, Johnny, Two-Bit, and Dally meet Cherry Valance and Marcia, two Soc girls whose boyfriends have left them there. Ponyboy makes a connection with Cherry because they can both appreciate sunsets; it is a bond that crosses their social boundaries and links their worlds. On the walk home, Bob Sheldon and Randy Adderson, the girls' boyfriends, accost the group and take the girls home.
Later that night, Ponyboy and Johnny accidentally fall asleep in their favorite vacant lot. Ponyboy runs home, but when Darry scolds him and hits him for the first time, he goes back to find Johnny. They are jumped by Bob, Randy, and other Socs, and during the fight Johnny stabs and kills Bob to stop him from drowning Ponyboy in a fountain. Panicked, Ponyboy and Johnny find Dally, who they know will help them. He gives them some money and a gun and tells them to get on a train to Windrixville and hide out in a deserted church.
Ponyboy and Johnny stay at the church for about a week, during which time they cut off their long Greaser hair as a disguise and subsist mainly on baloney. Dally comes to meet them eventually, and takes them out to get burgers. While they are out, Johnny decides to turn himself in. But when the characters get back to the church, they find it's on fire. A school group had been having a picnic there, and some children are trapped inside. Ponyboy and Johnny run in and save the children, but Johnny is caught across the back by a burning piece of timber.
Soda and Darry come to the hospital to pick up Ponyboy, and they learn that Dally's arm is burned and Johnny is in critical condition. The boys go home because there is a rumble against the Socs that they need to attend. Ponyboy feels sick, but decides to go to the rumble anyway. Dally escapes from the hospital to fight in the rumble, and the Greasers win.
Dally takes Ponyboy back to the hospital to visit Johnny, who is dying. Before he dies, Johnny tells Ponyboy, 'Stay gold,' meaning he shouldn't lose the innocence of childhood, and should avoid becoming hardened like Dally. Dally is extremely emotional after Johnny's death, since he loved Johnny, and runs off. Ponyboy is feeling even sicker, but has to go home and tell the rest of the gang that Johnny is dead.
Dally calls the Curtis house from a payphone to say that he's robbed a grocery store and the cops are chasing him. The whole gang runs to the vacant lot, and sees Dally approaching from the other side, followed by cop cars. Dally pulls out his gun on the cops, and they shoot him, killing him. Ponyboy passes out and is delirious and sick for the rest of the weekend.
He wakes up in bed, and is in denial over Johnny's death. He has to go to court to testify about the events surrounding it, and is acquitted and allowed to continue living with Darry and Soda, rather than being sent to a boys' home. But things are not the same for him; his world is upside-down, and his grades start to slip. Darry confronts Ponyboy and brings up his failing grades, and a huge fight commences between them. Soda is upset by all the fighting, and runs out of the house.
Darry and Ponyboy find Soda in the vacant lot, and he tells them he can't stand how they fight all the time, since they'll only survive if they stick together. All they have is each other. Darry and Ponyboy hadn't realized their fighting upset Soda so much, and they vow to get along and take care of each other. Ponyboy has to decide what to write about for his semester theme in English class, and he decides to write The Outsiders as a warning to other boys at risk to turn their lives around before it's too late.