The Outsiders by S.E Hinton, Reviewed by Shaylan Jewell

The Outsiders by S.E Hinton


According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers — until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a greaser? Slicking up your hair, smoking cigarettes with the gang, and getting into rumbles would be your usual activities. You’ll get to know some greasers in The Outsiders by S.E Hinton. The novel tells the true meaning of friendship between a group of boys and what it’s like to lose someone who means the world to you. I was captivated by the entire novel, but the setting, characters, and themes were what made me love The Outsiders.

Particularly, the setting of The Outsiders was my favorite aspect of the novel. The story was set in 1965, when there were several gangs of young kids in cities all over the United States. The characters in this book live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the city is divided into two parts: The East Side and the West Side. Although the mood was meant to have everyone on the edge of their seats, there were some parts where I felt other emotions. For example, Ponyboy often thinks about the tragic events he’s been through, such as losing his parents, and what he would change if he had the chance. I believe that the author added this to make the reader feel more emotionally attached to the characters. Also, I enjoyed that the author used many sensory details to describe specific areas in the book. For instance, Ponyboy described his pain while he fought in the rumbles and went into detail about each character’s apperance as well as his attitude towards each character.

Another aspect of this novel that I enjoyed was the way the characters were presented. Each character was completely different, in their actions and appearance. For example, Dally, a greaser, was very tough and confident while Ponyboy was a little hesitant. The entire speech throughout the book made me feel as if I were really in the sixties! The greasers curse often and use many slang terms that I hadn’t previously heard. For instance, the police are known as “the fuzz” and the West Side kids are called “Socs” short for “Socials”. Also, I enjoyed that the story was written in the first person point of view, because I could really understand Ponyboy’s opinions and feelings. Overall I was amazed at how relatable these characters were and how I could find at least one feature of each character in myself.

Lastly, I enjoyed the themes presented in this novel, because many people my age could relate to them. The themes weren’t very clear to me until the near end, when both the “greasers” and “Socs” had experienced loss. Throughout the book there were small hints of the theme, like when Ponyboy and Cherry both talked about their interests in the sunset and reading. Even though the two groups of kids live on opposite sides of town, they both deal with loss in the same way. Both groups weren’t as different as they thought. Another theme shown in the book was the way that the greasers constantly stood up for each other. For instance, when Johnny killed a Soc, Ponyboy ran away with him so he wouldn’t have to go through it alone. The true meaning of friendship was portrayed in this novel.

Overall I was captivated by this novel, and I believe that it was a brilliant read for teenagers like myself. I recommend it to anyone, teen or adult, who is looking for an action filled and emotional novel. The characters are all very relatable and the theme is very nicely portrayed for anyone my age. This novel gives the feel of friendship, loss, and love. Regardless of age, I believe that this book will make you laugh, cry, and see things differently. S.E Hinton has captivated me with her beautiful setting, heart warming characters, and inspirational themes, in her novel, The Outsiders.



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