By: S.E. Hinton
Some Main Characters
The book details a town split between the wealthy South Zone gang called 'The Socials' and the poor North Zone gang called 'The Greasers'. Dallas Winston, Ponyboy Curtis and Johnny Cade from 'The Greasers' befriend the rich Cherry Valance and Marcia at a drive-in. Later that night, a group of 'The Socs' chase and beat up Johnny and attempt to drown Ponyboy in a fountain. However, Johnny stabs one Soc and kills him, saving Ponyboy. The desperate boys seek Dallas who finds a hideout for them in a nearby town. One week later, Johnny and Ponyboy decide to return to their hometown, with Dallas, to claim the murder as self-defense. But on their way back, they see the church on fire and Ponyboy and Johnny help the children trapped in the church and become heroes. However Johnny is badly wounded and confined to the hospital.
Greasers and Socials
The Outsiders primary concern is to explore the effect of social class on young people. The novel begins by detailing the differences between the poor greasers and the rich Socs and sketching the treacherous world in which they live. When the Socs jump Ponyboy in the opening chapter, it suggests that Ponyboy lives in a place where even an innocent walk is fraught with danger.
In chapter six of the book The Outsiders, Ponyboy and Johnny decide to come out of hiding and turn themselves in, but when they drive past the church where they have been staying, they see that it is on fire. Ponyboy thinks he and Johnny must have started the fire with a cigarette butt, so the boys jump out of the car to examine the blaze. At the church, they find a group of schoolchildren on a picnic. Suddenly, one of the adult chaperones cries out that some of the children are missing, and Ponyboy hears screaming from inside the church. Acting on instinct, he and Johnny climb into the burning building through a window. At the back of the church, they find the children huddled together and terrified. As he runs through the smoky inferno, Ponyboy wonders why he is not scared. He and Johnny lift the children out of the window.
If I Could Change One Thing...
As they lift the last child out the window Dally appears and yells that the roof is about to cave in and it does but Johnny pushes Ponyboy out the window, and then Ponyboy hears Johnny scream. Johnny is then taken to the hospital.
I really enjoyed reading The Outsiders not only because of its amazing story line but because S.E. Hinton described their lives in such detail that I feel as if I knew the characters and what they were going through. I also like how the author made the characters realistic. I would describe this book as realistic, tragic, interesting, exciting and emotional. Since the author used colloquial language it was very understandable and I would defiantly recommend it to anyone.