The Outsiders

By: S.E. Hinton

Introduction

The Outsiders By S.E. Hinton is a book of friendship, loyalty, and the true meaning of family This young-adult fiction book from the 1960's will make you want to keep turning the page. With twists and turns around every corner, you never know what's coming next.

Summary

Fourteen year old Ponyboy Curtis is the youngest of three orphaned brothers who live on the north side of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ponyboy used to have a good relationship with his oldest brother Darry, but since Darry became the household caregiver, he is always on Ponyboy's case. Caught in the middle is their third brother Sodapop, who dropped out of school to work full time. They all belong to the Greasers, a gang of boys from the north side also from working class families, often poor or broke. Ponyboy's main concern is that any problem they may encounter, especially in their Greaser activities, will lead to the authorities splitting up their family. He also believes Darrel would have outgrown them and become something in his life if it wasn't for his loyalty to the gang and the need to take care of the family.

The rest of the world sees the Greasers as all the same - the face being Dallas Winston, the most volatile one who has just been released from prison - despite each boy having his own specific view of life. Similarly, the world sees the Socs (short for Socials), the Greasers' primary rivals, as all the same - rich spoiled boys with a sense of superiority from the south side of town - despite again each boy being his own person. A connection between the two gangs happens in the form of Ponyboy and Cherry Valance, which doesn't sit well with Cherry's Soc boyfriend, Bob Sheldon. As a result, an incident occurs involving the Socs, Ponyboy and fellow Greaser, sixteen year old Johnny Cade, a sensitive boy who wants a better life for himself, but seems stuck in a downward spiral with parents who don't treat him like their son. Beyond Ponyboy and Johnny's lives being threatened by that incident, the Greasers and the Socs agree to a rumble to settle things once and for all. Some of the boys realize the rumble will accomplish nothing, with the questions being if they can convince their friends of the same, and if not what the consequences will be.

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Excerpt

One of them laughed, then cussed me out in a low voice. I couldn't think of anything to say. There just isn't a whole lot you can say while waiting to get mugged, so I kept my mouth shut.

"Need a haircut, Greaser?" The medium-sized blond pulled a knife out of his back pocket and flipped the blade open.

I finally thought of something to say. "No." I was backing up, away from that knife. Of course, I backed right into one of them. They had me pinned down in a second. They had my arms and legs pinned down and one of them was sitting on my chest with his knees on my elbows, and if you don't think that hurts, you're crazy. I could smell English leather shaving lotion and stale tobabacco, and I wondered foolishly if I would suffocate before they did anything. I fought to get loose, and almost did for a second; then they tightened up on me and the one on my chest slugged me a couple times. So I lay still, swearing at them between gasps. A blade was held against my throat.

"How'd you like that haircut to begin just below the chin?"

Opinion and Recomendation

My opinion on this story is that it is amazing. There are places that make you laugh, places that make you cry, and everything in between. It is also very suspenseful and I was not expecting many of the things in this book to happen. I recommend this book to anyone who likes young adult fiction, action, and maybe even historical fiction. If you don't like any of these, I highly recommend you don't read this book.