The Outsiders tells the story of two rival teenage groups of teenagers, the Greasers and the Socs (short for Socials), who were divided because of their differing social class. Through the main character Ponyboy, we see the pressure on individuals to be part of the gang and to succumb to peer pressure.
The movie based on the novel was released in 1983. Directed by Frances Ford Coppolo, the film starred C. Thomas Howell as Ponyboy, as well as Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio and Diane Lane.
Even though this novel is studied in many middle schools, it is banned in other schools because of its portrayal of teen violence, drugs and alcohol abuse. For a time, it was on the American Library Association’s list of 100 Most Challenged Books.
Here are some resources to help you with your novel study:
The Outsiders ebook (the whole novel free online).
The Outsiders movie (NOTE: This is only 1/6th of the movie.)
Wikipedia (short plot summary)
Sparknotes (plot summary, characters, themes, chapter summaries, key facts and study questions)
Cliffnotes (plot summary, character analysis, themes, chapter summaries, study questions and critical essays)
GradeSaver study notes (themes, quotes and analysis, chapter summaries)
Shmoop study guide (summary, themes, quotes, character analysis, questions)
Book Rags – a biography of S.E. Hinton. Click on GO TO THE NEXT SECTION at the bottom of the page to go to chapter summaries and character analyses.
Quotations from The Outsiders (NB – You will need to give the page number of the text for each quote you use in your citation!)
Here are two clips which talk about S.E. Hinton and the background to her novel. There is little visual, so you’ll have to listen hard!